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Malawi becomes first African nation with wild poliovirus in 5 years, as UN begins vaccination

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Malawi becomes first African nation with wild poliovirus in 5 years, as UN begins vaccination

Medical practitioners will vaccinate about 2.9 million young children against polio in Malawi the United Nations said on Thursday after a three-year-old girl fell sick in the capital with Africa’s first case of wild poliovirus in more than five years.

The South African country announced a polio outbreak two weeks ago after a test confirmed the virus and showed the strain was linked to one circulating in Pakistan, where it is still endemic, African news said.

“The resurgence of the wild poliovirus in Malawi … is cause for serious concern,” Rudolf Schwenk, the head of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF in Malawi, said in a statement.

“Vaccination is the only way to protect the children of Malawi from this crippling disease which is highly infectious.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. While there is no cure, it can be prevented by vaccine, the World Health Organisation said.

UNICEF Malawi said it will procure and distribute 6.9 million polio vaccine doses for the children, all of them aged under five.

Polio is a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis within hours. While there is no cure, it can be prevented by a vaccine, the World Health Organisation said.

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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