News Highlights

News Highlights (4)

British Broadcasting Corporation News

04th March 2017, Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-39166746

By BBC Correspondent

 

Somalia's Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Haire, says 110 people have died from hunger in a single region in the past 48 hours amid a severe drought.

The figure for the south-western Bay region is the first official death toll announced during the crisis. The full impact of the drought on the country is still unknown.

Humanitarian groups fear a full-blown famine will follow.

Currently, almost three million people in Somalia face food insecurity.

Local news outlet Alldhacdo reported dozens of deaths due to cholera in the town of Awdinle, also in the Bay region. The disease is often spread due to lack of clean drinking water.

Somalia's President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, declared the drought a national disaster on Tuesday.

The drought in Somalia has been partly caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon which has affected east and southern Africa.

As well as the lack of food caused by the drought, there are many cases of dehydration.

Domestic animals are also dying in large numbers, and carcasses litter the landscape.

Nearly 260,000 people died during the famine that hit Somalia from 2010 to 2012.

Some 220,000 people died during another famine in 1992.

The nation is one of four identified by the United Nations as currently at risk of extreme hunger and famine - along with Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.

 A formal famine has already been declared in the Unity state in South Sudan - the first official famine declared since Somalia in 2011.

The United Nations uses famine as a technical term, which only applies in very specific circumstances:

  • When 20% of households cannot cope with food shortages
  • Acute malnutrition exceeds 30%
  • The death toll exceeds two people per day per 10,000 population

The Disasters Emergency Committee, which makes appeals on behalf of 13 leading UK aid charities, reported on Somalia's food crisis last month.

 

Monday, 06 March 2017 07:30

Lusaka, Copperbelt in Illegal Land Allocation

Written by

Daily Mail Newspaper

06th March 2017, Page 4

By Priscilla Chipulu

Government says it has received reports of illegal land allocation in Lusaka, Copperbelt and some parts of Southern Province.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata warned that whoever would be found involved in the illegal activity would be punished severely.

Speaking in an interview yesterday, Mrs Kapata directed councils through the Ministry of Local Government to ensure that no one is involved in illegal land wrangles.

"I want to ask Zambians to ensure that they verify the land before buying it. A lot of people have cried foul after they have bought land from individuals who do not have proper documentation for their land. Please, verify at the Ministry of Lands if you want to buy land," she said.

And Ms Kapata says the Land Policy would be launched once all stakeholders are comfortable with its provisions.

"My ministry is waiting for the House of Chiefs before the policy can be launched. Government wants to ensure all clauses are included," she said.

Ms Kapata commended the Zambia Land Alliance for its contribution towards the development of the policy.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kapata says Lusaka has run out of land.

She urged those wanting to buy land to consider other provinces around the country.

Ms Kapata, however, said plans are underway to extend the city's boundaries towards the south, central and eastern provinces.

"We do not have any land. We are chocked. If people want to have land, they should consider other provinces. Even for development we do not have land. There are plans to extend the city but we have to negotiate with traditional leaders to see how the city can be extended," she said.

Monday, 06 March 2017 07:23

China targets more international trade

Written by

Daily Mail Newspaper

06th March 2017, Page 2

By CHOMBA MUSIKA, Beijing

CHINA’s National People’s Congress (NPC), the world’s largest parliamentary body, has assured that the Asian country will continue to promote economic globalisation and enhance international trade in the year 2017.

And to help reduce poverty, the NPC says China will merge and strengthen rural development funds and devise new mechanisms for coordinating poverty eradication efforts in poor countries.

This came to light yesterday when NPC Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang presented a report on the work of the government at the opening of the fifth annual session of the 12th NPC of the People’s Republic of China held at the Great Hall of the People.

The NPC, which has a membership of over 2,000, is China’s legislature structured with the power to legislate, oversee the operations of the government and elect the major officers of the state.

The NPC and the National Committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a consultative body whose members represent various social groups, are the main deliberative bodies of China, and are often referred to as the Lianghui (two sessions).

The NPC’s sessions are usually held on the sidelines of those of the CPPCC, a platform that provides an opportunity for the officers of state to review past policies and present future plans to the nation.

This year’s sessions are being held from March 3 to 16.

In his report, Mr Yu said among its major areas of work in 2017, China would promote liberalisation and facilitation of international trade investment.

“China will not shift in its commitment to promoting global economic cooperation, uphold the multi-lateral trading regime as the main channel of international trade,” he said.

Mr Yu said the nation’s economy had registered a slower but stable performance with a good momentum for growth.

He said gross domestic product (GDP) reached 74.4 trillion yuan last year, representing 6.7 percent growth and contributed to over 30 percent of global growth, and projected the GDP growth is around 6.5 percent with over a million urban jobs anticipated to be created.

And to help reduce poverty, Mr Yu said China will merge and strengthen rural development funds and devise new mechanisms for coordinating poverty eradication efforts in poor countries.

“In poor nations, different rural development funds will be merged and oversight over funds and projects will be strengthened,” he said.

China’s non-financial direct investment to Zambia stands at over US$3 billion, ranking as the second highest in Africa, according to the Chinese Embassy in Zambia.

 

 

 

 

Monday, 06 March 2017 07:17

Millers dismiss ZNFU storage 'false alarm'

Written by

Daily Mail Newspaper

06th March 2017, Page 1

By STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka

ZAMBIA is food secure with 915,000 tonnes of maize and has a national capacity to store 2.9 million tonnes of the grain contrary to alarming statements by some organisations, the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has said.

MAZ president Andrew Chintala has also said a tripartite maize agreement involving the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ), Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is the best way to trigger a reduction in the price of mealie-meal.

Mr Chintala said in an interview yesterday that contrary to views held by Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba, Zambia is not facing any food crisis and advised the organisation to stop alarming the nation.

He said it is misleading for ZNFU to claim that there is crisis of maize in the country.

“We are currently sitting on 915,000 metric tonnes of maize and we only need 350,000 metric tonnes of maize until the next harvest. There is no need to cause panic and alarm in the nation,” Mr Chintala said.

Mr Chintala said ZNFU is a big entity and what it said had the potential to cause unnecessary panic among people.

He advised ZNFU to engage other stakeholders instead of issuing alarming statements in the media.

ZNFU president Jervis Zimba was on Sunday quoted in some sections of the media as saying there is a food and maize crisis in the country.

And Mr Chintala has said the three stakeholders in the tripartite arrangement have enough capacity to store the commodity.

He said contrary to Mr Zimba’s belief that agriculture is a hobby, it is a serious business.

“Until we start looking at agriculture as a business, we will not reach the desired results of growing our economy,” Mr Chintala said.

He said GTAZ has in stock 415,000 tonnes of maize while FRA has 280,000 tonnes with the rest being held by the millers.

Mr Chintala said the tripartite agreements are now performance-based and that millers will be evaluated and monitored weekly.

“This exercise will work. Earlier, we had very few millers but now we are increasing the number. We have addressed the bottlenecks,” Mr Chintala said.

On his arrival from Israel last Friday, President Lungu said he was not happy that despite the tripartite arrangement the prices of mealie-meal did not seem to be dropping as expected.

The President promised to review the arrangement to see where the weaknesses were.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) has welcomed the decision by stakeholders in the tripartite maize purchase deal to increase the allocation of maize offloaded to millers from the current 20,000 to 100,000 tonnes to trigger a further reduction in the price of mealie meal.

ZACA acting executive secretary Juba Sakala said in an interview yesterday that it is unacceptable for mealie-meal prices to be as high as K100 for a 25 kilogramme bag when the nation has enough stocks of maize.

“The President (Lungu) talked about this issue (of maize) two months ago, but we have not seen any meaningful reduction in the price of mealie meal. [A reduction of] K5 is not good enough. We cannot accept this as consumers,” Mr Sakala said.