CONTINENT HEADING TOWARDS CHEAPER AIR TRAVEL

AFRICA: TRANSPORT/SABC/31/1/18 SABANews 1

Towards cheaper air travel on the Continent

ADDIS ABABA – At least 23 AFRICAN countries have signed an agreement to set up the Single AFRICAN Air Transport Market, SAATM, with the aim to reduce air travel costs.

SOUTH AFRICAN SABC News says the move comes after people of the Continent have, for years, paid sky-high airfares when travelling within AFRICA.

It says the AFRICAN UNION has launched the major aviation trade agreement to change the situation, by allowing the airlines of signatory countries to access each other’s airports freely.

AU Chairperson, President PAUL KAGAME of RWANDA, has revealed the move at the launch of SAATM on the sidelines of the recent AU Summit in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

He says the market is vital for the overall development of the continent, where international air links between many cities are expensive or non-existent.

SABC News also quotes a 2010 World Bank study as saying air travel between AFRICAN countries has for years, been governed by a relatively small number of bilateral agreements.

The report says the situation has been a legacy of the post-colonial era when air carriers from newly independent states connected chiefly with their former colonial powers.

It says many AFRICAN countries restrict their air services markets to protect the shares of national carriers, but the new deal hopes to reduce airfares and increase the number of direct air connections.

The SOUTH AFRICAN Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation has told the media companies can now freely access all countries in the single market, without relying anymore on bilateral agreements, whether they exist or not.

Current members of the SAATM are BENIN, BOTSWANA, BURKINA FASO, CAPE VERDE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, IVORY COAST, EGYPT, ETHIOPIA, and GABON.

Others are GHANA, GUINEA, KENYA, LIBERIA, MALI, MOZAMBIQUE, NIGER, NIGERIA, RWANDA, SIERRA LEONE, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, TOGO, and ZIMBABWE.

Nevertheless, SABC News says the group is hosting some of the continent’s busiest airports, including JOHANNESBURG, CAPE TOWN, CAIRO, LAGOS, and NAIROBI.

The new single air travel market comes as a priority of the AU Agenda 2063 for a peaceful and prosperous AFRICA, and the AU Chairperson says work is ongoing to apply TWO other planks of the Blueprint: a free trade zone and a single AFRICAN passport./Sabanews/cam

GOVERNMENT MAKES A MOVE TO CLEAN UP CAPITAL CITY

ZAMBIA: SANITATION/TIMES OF ZAMBIA/25/1/18 SABANews 1

LUSAKA – The government of ZAMBIA is helping the Municipality of the capital city, LUSAKA, to deal with rampant street vending in order to clean up the metropolitan and rid it of recurrent cholera infections.

The TIMES OF ZAMBIA newspaper says the authorities have summoned the Army and the Air Force to reinforce LUSAKA City Council in an operation to remove vendors from their traditional sites.

It says hordes of the informal traders have abandoned the streets of the Central Business District and are holed-up in their homes, while the operation has now been extended to outlying townships.

The authorities in LUSAKA are following up with teams to clean up heaps of garbage that had accumulated over years, during which cholera had become a seasonal occurrence.

The TIMES says their operation comes after the number of infections by the killer disease had risen sharply, with many deaths recorded over time.

It says an air of cleanliness is now evident in the CHAWAMA, MISISI, JOHN LAING and JOHN HOWARD areas following the combined efforts of City Council, Army, Air Force and National Service personnel.

Residents have also joined in by collecting refuse around their dwellings in plastic and other bags, which they line up by the roadsides for collection by military trucks organised to do the work.

The TIMES also says mounds of garbage had accumulated to a point of saturation over decades, and the ongoing exercise is likely to rid the environment of only about a THIRD of the long-term pile-up.

It says local authorities used to provide refuse bins that would be collected periodically, but they had since stopped doing so; although towns in the COPPERBELT still enjoy better sanitation due to mining firms operating there.

Town councils elsewhere have been finding refuse collection to be a major challenge, citing lack of funds as their excuse and throwing the blame to the Local Government Ministry.

Nevertheless, uncollected refuse in urban ZAMBIA has resulted in the failure of programs like sewage services and storm drainage systems, and the clean-up exercise is seen as a vital move./Sabanews/cam

GOVERNMENTS ENCOURAGED TO IMPROVE DATA SHARING ON WEATHER

SADC: DISASTERS/SABANEWS/24/1/18 SABANews 1
When disaster strikes, women and children suffer most
HARARE – Governments in the SADC Region have been urged to improve on information sharing to ensure communities are evacuated on time when weather-related disasters strike.
 
The Southern AFRICAN Research and Documentation Centre, SARDC, says people expect increased moisture to improve cropping, but floods can destroy crops and disturb food security.
 
It says excessive rainfall may also increase the incidences of malaria and water-borne diseases in the region as well as the possibility of damage to infrastructure due to flooding.
 
SARDC says ONE of the challenges still affecting SADC member states is the lack of current and reliable data on possible weather scenarios, resulting in many people getting killed or becoming homeless.
 
It says there is also need to retrofit, or to add new technology or features to, public infrastructure such as schools – as they act as both centres of learning and as sanctuaries in cases of emergencies such as floods.
 
The Centre says River Basin Organisations, like the ZAMBEZI WATERCOURSE COMMISSION, ZAMCOM, are making efforts to improve the sharing of information on water flow and climate conditions.
 
ZAMCOM is in the process of strengthening information sharing in the EIGHT Basin States: ANGOLA, BOTSWANA, MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, TANZANIA, ZAMBIA and ZIMBABWE.
 
The involved nations share the data through the ZAMBEZI Water Resources Information System Enhancement THREE: Hydro-meteorological Database and Decision Support System, or ZAMWIS-DSS.
 
The SARDC says the main objective of the ZAMWIS-DSS is to support the promotion and coordination of the management and development of resources of the ZAMBEZI Watercourse in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner.
 
Authorities expect that once the system is completed, riparian states will be able to respond better to flood hazards in the future; and the region is taking another measure to set up village-based response systems to respond to floods.
 
The alert system includes the use of traditional knowledge systems in raising awareness through civic education, like, for example, the appearance of large populations of ants will indicate occurrence of floods.
 
Weather and other experts say floods may present opportunities to the SADC Region if countries start prioritizing water harvesting projects to harness rains and use the water for agricultural purposes in future, especially during drought years./Sabanews/cam

AU CONSULTS REGIONAL PARTNERS ON COMMON POSITION TO END TB

AFRICA: TB/SABANEWS/7/11/17 SABANews 1
JOHANNESBURG – The AU Partnership and Coordination Forum on AIDS, TB and Malaria has reviewed the draft Common AFRICA Position on TB for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting in 2018.
 
A statement from the continental group says the Draft Common Position on TB was last month reviewed by the Ministry of Health TB Program Managers in HARARE, ZIMBABWE.
 
It says the document focuses on SIX pillars: leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability; universal and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
 
Others are access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies; research and innovation; health financing and strategic information; promoting leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability.
 
The draft calls for sustained political commitment and for increased leadership, ownership, integration, governance and management of TB programs to promote accountability.
 
It further calls on governments to intensify TB responses through working with AFRICAN leaders as champions, cross-sector partnerships, increased oversight and accountability, improved monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
 
The AU says while recognising structural and operational barriers to achieve universal access, the draft calls for Member States to scale up TB programs to reach, find, treat and cure all people with the killer disease.
 
It also calls for Multi Drug Resistant TB to be declared a global emergency and health security threat, to ensure it can be addressed properly in most affected countries.
 
The draft calls for access to TB services in congested settings, high risk areas like prisons, mines and areas affected by conflict and humanitarian emergencies, to help guarantee no one is left behind.
 
The Common AFRICA Position calls for governments to pursue new innovations and ensure access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies for TB.
 
The draft says governments should strengthen ties with research institutions to enhance innovation and evidence-informed policies and programs as well as increased investments in research and innovation.
 
AFRICA will also push for increased domestic and international funding to health through innovative financing mechanisms, social health insurance schemes and increased allocations at various levels.
 
The Common AFRICA Position also calls for improved data to inform policy and programs for TB, while the AU Commission has lined up various consultation conferences ahead of the UN meeting.
 
TB is spread through the air from person to person, when a patient coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings; and people nearby may breathe in the bacteria and become infected./Sabanews/cam

PRESIDENT DEMANDS FULL PROBE OF AIRFORCE MEMBER DEATH

LUSAKA – President EDGAR LUNGU of ZAMBIA has ordered thorough investigations into the alleged killing of an officer of the ZAMBIA Air Force at a police station in the capital, LUSAKA.

 

State radio, ZNBC News says Sergeant CHOONGWA died while detained at the WOODLANDS Police Station.

 

It quotes LUSAKA Provincial Police Commissioner NELSON PHIRI as saying the late ZAMBIA Airforce Officer died allegedly after other inmates brutally assaulted him.

 

Defence Minister DAVIES CHAMA and Home Affairs Minister STEPHEN KAMPYONGO have since issued a joint statement, saying the probe directed by the Head of State is already underway.

Defence Minister CHAMA says investigation will be done jointly, and he has called for calm between the Police and the Air Force officers.

Home Affairs Minister KAMPYONGO says there will be no sacred cows in the exercise, and anyone found wanting is going to get legal punishment; although cases of such nature require serious investigation and conclusion.

Meanwhile, High Court Judge CHALWE MUCHENGA has sentenced an officer of the ZAMBIA Air Force to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour for manslaughter.

SONNY WALANGA shot and killed DORCAS CHIBWE after she and her friends, who were drunk, refused to stop at the TWIN PALM ZAMBIA Air Force residential check point.

Judge MUCHENGA said the incident did not warrant the force that the convicted soldier used because he knew the people who were in the car.

He also said the officer should have considered the fact that TWIN PALM is a residential area, while the deceased and her friends were heading to their house and not the armoury.
ZNBC News says the Court reduced the charge against the ZAMBIA Air Force Officer to manslaughter because he officer was on duty when he committed it.