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AFRICAN NEWS & INFORMATION
Africa’s Middle Class Is Booming Tags: Developments News Africa

A new study finds that the number of middle-class households in sub-Saharan Africa has tripled since the turn of the century and is on track to nearly triple again—to more than 40 million—by 2030.

The study, by South Africa–based Standard Bank, the continent’s biggest lender, examined 11 African countries, excluding relatively wealthy South Africa. It found that about 15 million of the 110 million households in Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia are lower middle class and middle class, consuming from $15 to $115 a day.

“Between 2000 and 2014, we’ve seen a tripling of middle-class households across these 11 countries,” Simon Freemantle, a political economist at Standard Bank, told Bloomberg. “It confirms that idea that Africa has structurally changed, that there has been real improvement in the last 10 years.” Some countries saw even stronger gains: In Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, the middle class has grown by 600 percent since 2000.

This is just the beginning. The Standard Bank researchers predict that the number of middle-class households in those countries will swell from today’s 15 million to more than 40 million by 2030. The growth is being driven by surging foreign investment, development of oil, gas, and other natural resources, and the gradual ebbing of violence and corruption in many places.

While things are looking up for the middle class on the world’s poorest continent, in the world’s richest country, the United States, things are moving in the opposite direction.

Here, as Pew Research puts it, “since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some...of its characteristic faith in the future.” By Pew’s definition—households earning between two-thirds and twice the national median income—the number of Americans in the middle class has dropped since 1971 from 61 percent to 51 percent.

Add that trajectory to the list of things that are worse in the U.S. than in the developing world—though you should probably think twice before you start hunting for a job in Lagos. Most Africans are still poor, millions of them extremely so. Still, that’s changing, and fast.

Source: takepart.

Gates Foundation Commits $50M to Support Ebola Tags: World Ebola News Biill Gates

Seattle – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will commit $50 million to support the scale up of emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and interrupt transmission of the virus.

The foundation will immediately release flexible funds to United Nations agencies and international organizations involved in the response to enable them and national governments to purchase badly needed supplies and scale up emergency operations in affected countries. In addition, the foundation will work with public and private sector partners to accelerate the development of therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics that could be effective in treating patients and preventing further transmission of the disease.

“We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop the transmission of this deadly disease,” said Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation. “We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks.”

To date, the Gates Foundation has committed more than $10 million to fight the Ebola outbreak, including $5 million to WHO for emergency operations and R&D assessments and $5 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to purchase essential medical supplies, coordinate response activities, and provide at-risk communities with life-saving health information.

An additional $2 million will also be committed immediately to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support incident management, treatment, and health care system strengthening.

In August, Nigeria responded to the current crisis by opening an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Lagos, with support from the foundation and the Dangote Foundation. Leveraging expertise and lessons from the national polio program, the EOC has been at the center of an aggressive push by the federal and state governments to contain the spread of the virus, and there is cautious optimism that this prompt action may have helped avert a broader outbreak.

As additional grants are made, the foundation will provide further details on its funding commitments to on-the-ground operations and to research and development for Ebola drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For more detailed information on the foundation’s announcement, please join us for a 30-minute Twitter Q&A at 9:30 am PT with Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the foundation’s CEO, and Chris Elias, president of global development, using the hashtag #ebolachat.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

US force sent to Central African Republic Tags: World News War Central Africa Republic Barack Obama & Africa

President Barack Obama has dispatched 20 U.S. military personnel to the Central African Republic to help reopen the American Embassy there.

The embassy was temporarily shuttered in late 2012 due to security concerns in a country wracked by violent conflict. The force deployment is seen as a step toward reopening the mission, though the White House did not say when that would happen.

Obama alerted Congress to the deployment in a letter Thursday. He says the force arrived Wednesday and would stay until in the country until the security situation allows more traditional embassy guards and security personnel to arrive.

Source: AP

Liberia: George Weah To Donate First Ebola Materials Tags: George Weah Liberia Ebola News West Africa

Peace Ambassador George Manneh Weah has been moving the first huge consignment of assorted anti Ebola materials to the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville City, the main holding and treatment center of Ebola in Liberia.

In a mobile phone conversation with the Liberia's Peace Ambassador's Office on Thursday, Mr. Quiwu Yekeh, an aid to Ambassador Weah, confirmed that the peace ambassador has brought into the country several materials that, some of which assorted items he has donated to the ELWA Hospital which is being the first to receive the anti-Ebola consignment.

Mr. Yekeh, who said the items would be districted amongst other Senators did not provide more detail about what are contained in the consignment donate to the premier Ebola treatment center that is to be presented to the management of the ELWA Hospital but said that the materials would be very helpful to Liberians in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in the hospital.

Noting that the materials would be presented to the hospital today, Mr. Yekeh noted the Liberian Peace Ambassador will use the occasion of the presentation of the items to provide detail information about the materials. Before them, critics have said that the Peace Ambassador and the leader of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change CDC has been doing nothing to contribute to fight against the outbreak of the virus in Liberia despite the massive political support he enjoys from the Liberian people.

Amid the criticism, the CDC's National Executive Committee announced the composition of a 26 -man task force that will lead activities in CDC respond or fight against the Ebola virus in the 15 counties of Liberia, although it is not known which of his institutions would make the expected donation today. According to Mr. Yekeh, Ambassador Weah is committed to see Liberia and Liberians being redeemed from the ongoing Ebola nightmare.

Weah, who will be donating his first consignment ever of the anti -Ebola materials to the hospital will continue the distributions to other Ebola treatment centers in and around Liberia, according to Yekeh from his peace-building office. The senior officer in the Liberia Peace Ambassador office also said Ambassador Weah disclosed that he has developed an uncompromising desire to requesting goodwill individuals and friendly nations to assist Liberia in the fight against the Ebola outbreak.

The ELWA Hospital is the first big center set aside for the holding and testing of suspected and Ebola patients in the response to the outbreak of the disease in the country, making it the main focus for local and international partners involved in the battle against the virus from the country.

Following the outbreak, it was said that Liberia's Peace Ambassador George Weah was in Europe, rallying support from the nations he has high influence with as well as friends and goodwill individuals to embark on initiatives leading to the his participation in the fight against the pestilence.

Source: analystliberia

Lesotho 'Military Coup' Failed, South African Police Guard PM Tags: Lesotho South Africa News War Coup Politics

South African police are guarding the prime minister of Lesotho, who has returned to the country after an alleged military coup, officials confirmed on Thursday.

Jeff Radebe, minister in the South African presidency, described the protection for Tom Thabane as a transitional measure until the political crisis in the tiny mountain kingdom was resolved.

It is not the first time that South Africa, which surrounds Lesotho and its population of 2 million, has had a hand in its affairs, including a military invasion in 1998 that met unexpected resistance.

Pretoria has ruled out a repeat this time, but analysts warn that South Africa's dependence on Lesotho for water security could raise the stakes.

South Africa has invested billions in a dam system which supplies it with 780m cubic metres of water a year, most of it destined for the economic hub of Gauteng that contains Johannesburg and Pretoria.

"There's a built-in incentive for it to become a military matter because of the strategic importance of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project," one political source said. "When there are considerations like that, the situation could escalate faster than it would in normal circumstances."

Thabane, 75, fled Lesotho for South Africa on Saturday, hours before the military surrounded his residence and attacked police headquarters, killing one officer and injuring others. He held emergency talks with the president, Jacob Zuma, and regional mediators.

South African police escorted him back to Lesotho's state house on Wednesday. His aide, Samonyane Ntsekele, told Reuters: "He's in state house. He's the one in charge. South African police are with him and he is well secured. He saw the king today and we hope they will work together as a team. I don't know what has been agreed."

Convoys of South African police, including heavily armed members of the special taskforce in combat fatigues, could be seen patrolling the streets of the capital, Maseru, the Times of South Africa reported. Units were also deployed to guard senior officials at their residences, including the newly appointed military chief Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao.

Mahao survived an assassination attempt soon after Thabane appointed him to replace the sacked Tlali Kamoli. "Security measures were in place and so far we are fine," Mahao told Agence France-Presse. "The prime minister is fine. He's already at work."

He added that efforts were under way to ensure that Kamoli handed over command of the army to him. Kamoli has been named by Lesotho intelligence officers as orchestrating the "coup" along with the deputy prime minister Mothejoa Metsing, who is locked in a power struggle with Thabane.

The army has denied staging a coup. It said it acted to disarm the police, alleging they had planned to pass an assortment of weapons to unspecified political radicals.

But according to the Times, police said the army units had opened fire on them without warning and seized at least 100 weapons, including AK47s, M16 rifles, handguns and "five cases of Savanna, two cases of Coke and four cell phones".

The police commissioner, Khothatso Tsooana, also fled the country and returned in a South African police car with South African escorts. He ordered police back to work after they had abandoned their duties. "All police officers are ordered to report for duty immediately," he said. "The situation in the country has gone back to normal and my being in the country shows that."

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has sent an observer team to the "kingdom in the sky". Thabane had asked the regional bloc to send peacekeeping troops but was denied. SADC did, however, force the country's rival parties to agree to a deal that called for Thabane's return and the reopening of parliament.

Lesotho has endured several coups since it gained independence from Britain in 1966. At least 58 residents and eight South African soldiers died during a political stand-off and subsequent fighting in 1998, when Pretoria sent in troops to avert a revolt.

Britain urged parties to work together to peacefully resolve the crisis. James Duddridge, its Africa minister, said: "The UK is deeply concerned by the current political situation in the kingdom of Lesotho. I welcome the Southern African Development Community's ongoing engagement and hope all parties will now work together to implement the Windhoek agreements and ensure all disputes are settled in a peaceful manner, and in line with Lesotho's constitution and principles of the rule of law."

Source: theguardian

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