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Extinction haunts Kenyan elephants: 62 die in 5 months

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Extinction haunts Kenyan elephants: 62 die in 5 months

No fewer than 62 elephants have died between August and December 2021 due to drought.

In other to cushion the effect of drought, the wildlife ministry was preparing to build water pans in national parks to avoid more deaths.

Addressing parliament, the Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the elephants were lost between August and December 2021.

“Through August to December, 62 elephants have died due to drought. We are rushing to build water pans in our parks including Tsavo that is most affected,” Mr Balala told the National Assembly’s Committee on Finance.

He said the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) lacks sufficient resources to put up water pans in the drought-affected areas.

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“We as the Tourism Promotion Fund (TPF) are currently considering a request from the State Department for Wildlife of Sh200 million for the establishment of water pans, drilling of boreholes, dams and provision of water in Tsavo National Park,” Mr Balala said.

African News reported that Mr Balala said the Fund, meant for tourism promotion activities would intervene and allocate monies for the provision of water services to starving wildlife.

“We are considering the requests given the loss of 62 elephants due to drought within a period of four months,” Mr Balala told the committee.

Mr Balala said revenues generated by the KWS dropped from Sh4 billion annually to Sh1 billion following the Covid-19 economic fallout.

“We are struggling to pay their salaries and we are working to achieve our objectives as a sector,” Mr Balala said.

The Parliament, had last year, directed the National Treasury to set aside Sh3.2 billion to cover salaries and operations of KWS staff following the decline in revenue collection from park fees on account of coronavirus.

The State Department for Wildlife had warned that KWS would collect about 20 per cent of the projected Sh4.6 billion annual revenue from park fees due to reduced tourism activities caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prolonged drought has taken a heavy toll on wildlife conservation activities in counties hardest hit by famine.

In February this year, a senior official for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation stated that drought has caused the death of 1.5 million livestock and drastically cut cereal production.

Metro

Zambia signs creditor agreement deal with China, India to resolve debt crisis

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President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia has announced the signing of an official creditor agreement with China and India that will help resolve the country’s debt crisis.

Hichilema, who made the announcement on Saturday, said the agreement would also help pave the way for the country to negotiate with private creditors.

Before signing the agreement, Zambia had struggled to revive its debt restructuring process after a deal to rework $3 billion Eurobonds was rejected by its official creditors, with international media reporting that China and other creditors did not believe that it offered comparable debt relief to that of bondholders.

Earlier on Friday, Minister of Finance, Situmbeko Musokotwane, had assured that the government was trying to clarify the meaning of a “comparable treatment” with bondholders.

However, while addressing a gathering during the Nc’wala ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people of Eastern Province, President Hichilema confirmed the signing of the agreement with the two Asian nations.

“On the official creditors’ side, the last two countries that had not signed, China and India, have now signed,” Hichilema said.

The President added that Zambia was now turning to the private creditors in a bid to address the debt issue because the had defaulted on its foreign debts in November 2020 and that its restructuring had been beset by delays.

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Metro

Four of 10 Nigerians indebted to loan sharks— Report

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A report from a research carried out by Nigerian fintech platform, Piggy Vest, has revealed that four out of 10 Nigerians are indebted to online loan sharks and are finding it difficult to come out of such debts.

The report noted that 26 per cent of average Nigerians were indebted to different loan apps spread across the country which is as a result of the harsh economic challenges brought about by different unfavourable government policies.

The report which was discussed at a Finance Roundtable in Lagos on Saturday by co-founder and COO of PiggyVest, Odun Eweniyi, lamented the widening wealth divide among Nigerians, saying it was inimical to economic growth as a vast majority of Nigerians live below the poverty line.

According to Eweniyi, the report ‘captures the attitude of different demographics in the country viz- a-viz their savings and spending habits, debt management, and future financial plans.’

As a panacea to solving the problems of indebtedness, Eweniyi advocated ‘savings before spending in order to avoid running into debt,’ adding that the option of savings was still elusive to Nigerians who live below the poverty line of $2 per day dollars per day.

“We must also know that while innovation is key, it cannot go far without social interventions for the people.”

She urged the government to focus on Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid in its conversation as well as simplify access to public credit facilities to improve income status of average Nigerians.

“This is why government must as much as possible explore collaboration with private sector to improve the living conditions of Nigerians and also drive financial literacy and inclusion,” Eweniyi emphasized.

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