U.S. to require pricey visa bonds in 15 African nations

U.S. to require pricey visa bonds in 15 African nations

A new program in the United States will require nonimmigrant visitors from 23 foreign countries – most of them African – to post a US$10,000 bond when applying for travel visas. The U.S. pilot program targets citizens of nations with high visa overstay rates, according to the U.S. Department of…

G20 wraps up with African debt relief a priority

G20 wraps up with African debt relief a priority

With Zambia’s recent default on debt repayment and global concern over pandemic-related economic impacts, the G20 meeting in Riyadh wrapped up Sunday with a commitment through June for the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to allow developing nations to defer debt payments. “The coronovirus pandemic is not only the greatest…

Mauritius PM calls for equal access to COVID vaccines

Mauritius PM calls for equal access to COVID vaccines

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius has called for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, saying the pandemic has made painfully clear the inequities that exist between the world’s richer nations and their impoverished counterparts around the globe. “Such an access is key to change the course of the pandemic and…

BRICS leaders focus on COVID challenges

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa joined China’s Xi Jinping in calling for cooperation and unity in the fight against COVID as leaders of the five developing BRICS economies met Tuesday in a virtual meeting hosted by Russia. Ramaphosa’s focus on trade disruptions, supply chain challenges and African debt follows…

U.S. seeks to block Nigerian leader’s bid for WTO chief

The World Trade Organization says it is standing by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the most likely selection for the director general position, but that support comes as the United States seeks to block the accomplished Nigerian from becoming the first African woman to lead the WTO. “The candidate that had…

ICRC: Nigeria’s food prices spike because of pandemic

Humanitarian aid workers in Nigeria say that food prices have soared because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cost is driving hunger in parts of the country that can ill afford yet another challenge. “Everywhere we work the food prices have gone up, in some places they doubled. It means…

Tanzania sees progress on Kilimanjaro wildfire

Tanzanian environmental minister Hamisi Kigwangalla visited the scene of a wildfire burning through Kilimanjaro National Park on Wednesday, checking on fire suppression efforts and thanking those battling the flames. Community volunteers have joined professionals in working to put out a fire that TANAPA, the Tanzania National Parks authority, said broke…

World Bank warns of COVID impacts on global poverty

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to push as many as 150 million more people into extreme poverty by 2021, the World Bank says, marking the first time in 20 years that the number of those in such poverty will rise. The pandemic “compounds the forces of conflict and climate change”…

UN says South Sudan officials embezzled US$36 million

Senior government officials in South Sudan have embezzled US$36 million from the country’s coffers with the aid of international institutions and multinational banks, says Yasmin Sooka, the head of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for the nation. “It is worth noting this is just what we were able to…

Faure says financial help is needed for Seychelles, island nations

President Danny Faure of Seychelles underscored the challenges facing island nations as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic took center stage at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Faure’s pre-recorded speech was among six such talks scheduled for African leaders, in a format that replaced in-person meetings for the…

Botswana says toxic algae is behind mass elephant deaths

Authorities in Botswana say that toxic cyanobacteria, a kind of algae found in water sources, is behind the mysterious death of elephant herds earlier this year. Dr. Mmadi Reuben, the principal veterinary officer for the Department of Wildlife & National Parks, said Monday that the laboratory samples of water obtained…

Ghana’s Akufo Addo elected as new ECOWAS chair

President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana has been elected the new head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and will replace outgoing chief Mahamadou Issoufou, his Nigerien counterpart. “I am fully aware of the challenges which confront West Africa,” said Akufo Addo in his acceptance speech,…