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Musings From Abroad

African refugees complain of racism as US welcomes Ukrainians with open arms

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Scores of African refugees have complained of the racism and inhuman treatment they get from the United States as the US prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country.

The refugees, on Saturday, cried out over the way they are treated by US officials including forced deportation, torture, rape, arbitrary arrest and other forms of abuses.

The African asylum seekers who protested the inhuman treatment they get from US officials on Saturday, said though they do not begrudge the US for swiftly “granting humanitarian protections and easy passage to Ukrainians escaping Russia’s devastating invasion of their homeland,” the same treatment should be accorded to other immigrants.

Spokesman for the group, Wilfred Tebah, a Cameroonian who fled the Central African country after escaping from a detention camp, said he could not help but wonder what would happen if the millions fleeing that Eastern Europe nation were of African descent.

Teblah, a leading member of the Cameroon American Council, an advocacy group organizing the protests, said:

“They do not care about a Black man. The difference is really clear. They know what is happening over there, and they have decided to close their eyes and ears,” he said, referring to the situation of Africans who seek refuge in the US.

He also made reference to the frosty reception African and Middle Eastern refugees have faced in western Europe compared with how those nations have enthusiastically embraced displaced Ukrainians.

“We’ll continue to beg, to plead.
We are in danger. I want to emphasize it. And only the Temporary Protected Status for Cameroon and other black refugees will help us be taken out of that danger. It is very necessary,” he said.

In late March, President Joe Biden had made a series of announcements welcoming 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, granting Temporary Protected Status to another 30,000 already in the U.S. and halting Ukrainian deportations.

Musings From Abroad

World Bank supports Kenyan central bank’s interest rate hike

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The World Bank has noted that the decision of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to raise interest rates, and the partial payment of its Eurobond have contributed to the recent stability of the Kenyan Shilling.

 

Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) Monetary Policy Committee raised the policy rate by 50 basis points to 13.00% at its first meeting of 2024 on February 6, 2024. The policy rate then rose to its highest level in more than ten years. It was a big surprise to most market experts that the rate went up after being raised by 200 basis points in December.

 

The Central Bank Rate (CBR) was raised twice in a row by CBK in December and February, bringing it up from 10.5% to 13%. The main goal was to support the shilling by getting foreign investors to put their money into local investments like government bonds.

 

 

The international lender says that the Central Bank of Kenya’s move to raise the benchmark lending rate has helped protect the local currency. They also say that the demand for shilling has grown because Eurobond notes that mature in June are being partially repaid.

 

So far this year, the shilling has gained the most value compared to other currencies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Zambian Kwacha has also gained some value, but not as much.

 

“The Kenyan shilling is the best-performing currency in the sub-continent, and it recorded an appreciation of 16% so far this year. After strengthening by 14% in mid-February, the Zambian Kwacha has lost some ground and recorded a year-to-date appreciation of 2.4% as of mid-March. In both cases, the monetary authority hiked interest rates to defend their currencies,” the World Bank notes in a new regional outlook report.

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Musings From Abroad

WHO says Nigeria is the first country to use new meningitis vaccine

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The World Health Organization (WHO) says that Nigeria is the first country in the world to give out the “revolutionary” new vaccine— Men5CV.

Nigeria is one of the places in Africa where the sickness is doing the most damage. The WHO says that the number of yearly cases rose by 50% in 26 African countries that are considered to have a high risk of meningitis.

Nigeria reported 1686 possible cases of meningitis between October 1, 2022, and April 16, 2023. Of these, 124 people died, giving the country a case fatality rate (CFR) of 7%.

Meningitis is a very bad illness of the meninges, which are the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is a terrible disease that poses a big threat to public health.

“Nigeria’s rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030,” Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, was quoted as saying in a statement.

The WHO says that from October of last year to the middle of March of this year, there were 1,742 probable cases and 153 deaths in seven states in Nigeria.

The WHO said that the new vaccine will protect against all five major types of the disease that are common in Nigeria. This is different from the first vaccine, which only protected against one strain.

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