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From waste to wealth: How DR Congo city turned plastic problem into profit

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Residents of the Bukavu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, have shown the African entrepreneurial spirit by turning thousands of plastic waste routinely thrown into the Ruzizi River into great profits for themselves.

Before striking on this profit making opportunity, the plastic waste routinely clogged the country’s hydropower station’s turbines, often shutting them down for months while plunging the city of 1.6 million people into darkness.

But an entrepreneur, Elie Mapenzi Matabaro, stumbled upon the idea of turning the waste into wealth and set up a company which not only provided jobs for young people in the city, but also provided a permanent solution to the city’s plastic waste and regular power problems.

Matabaro who started his company, FDA Group, seven years ago, has transformed the plastic bottles and other city waste into cheap, hard-wearing paving slabs that grace driveways and forecourts across the city.

Every day, FDA’s trash collectors go round the city, picking up the trash from deposits of mountains of waste, where it is melted down and scraped into hexagonal metal moulds to form the beautifully designed paving slabs.

Speaking on the breakthrough by his company, Marabaro said:

“There was no system for protection of the environment, so we started our business to help resolve the waste problem.

“It is a business that helps us to turn an environmental problem to an economic resource.”

Residents of the city who have paved their courtyards with Matabaro’s slabs have been full of praises for him.

Obedi Erodia, who has paved his driveway in red and black tessellating blocks, said:

“The advantage of these cobblestones is that they are less expensive compared to cement cobblestones.

“The plastic paving is becoming more popular because it is easy to clean and helps fight environmental pollution in his province.

Metro

Shelve your planned protest, I’m addressing your grievances, Tinubu begs Nigerian youths

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President Bola Tinubu has called on aggrieved Nigerian youths and organizers of the planned nationwide #EndBadGovernance protests on August 1 to shelve the plan as he is working hard to address their concerns.

Tinubu, who made the plea on Tuesday through the Minister of Information National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said there was no need for the protests as he had heard the cries of Nigerians and was doing everything possible to address them.

Idris, who conveyed the President’s message while speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the president was working assiduously to ensure the country’s economy was placed in a good position.

“We discussed the issue of the country in general and Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.

“Mr President said he listens to them and takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today, but also for the future.

“The issue of the planned protest, Mr President does not see any need for that, he asked them to shelve that plan and he has asked them to await the government’s response to all their pleas, he has listened to them,” Idris said.

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Zambia: PF lawmaker Chitotela sentenced to 10 years in prison

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A Member of Parliament in Zambia, Ronald Chitotela, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of arson by the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court.

Chitotela, an MP on the platform of the Patriotic Front (PF) who represents Pambeshe Constituency in the Parliament, was found guilty by Magistrate Martin Namushi of malicious damage, and received a five-year sentence on one of the counts.

He was also sentenced to an additional 11 months for threatening violence and 18 months for occasioning actual bodily harm.

Chitotela’s co-accused, Nixon Chilangwa, another MP who represents Kawambwa Constituency, was acquitted of arson charges but according to the Magistrate, was not spared from the law.

Chitotela, although acquitted of charges related to threatening violence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, now awaits the High Court’s decision on the arson charges.

According to media reports, Chitotela, Chilangwa, and five others were dragged before the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court on charges bordering on arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property and assault, all allegedly committed during the August 2021 general elections.

The others involved in the trial were Kalumba Chifumbe, Davy Kaniki, Chabu Chitotela, Charity Musantu, and Kunda Chitotela.

Chifumbe was sentenced to five years for malicious damage to property, threatening violence, and threatening actual bodily harm, Kaniki and Kunda Chitotela were found guilty of arson, while Musantu was been acquitted of all charges.

Magistrate Namushi also denied the bail applications for Chilangwa and Chifumbe, citing unconvincing reasons for their release.

The defense team is expected to appeal for bail in the High Court.

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