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Musings From Abroad

US wants Africa to isolate Russia but won’t force its decision – Secretary Blinken

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Despite having seek support from the continent’s 54 countries in efforts to isolate Russia over its Ukraine invasion, the United States says it will not dictate Africa’s choices.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said on Monday, while presenting a new strategy document for sub-Saharan Africa at the University of Pretoria in South Africa’s capital.

The presentation is part of a continental tour that will also take him to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

“Too often, African nations have been treated as instruments of other nations’ progress, rather than the authors of their own,” said Blinken. “They have been told to pick a side in great power contests that feel far removed from daily struggles of their people.”

The strategy document stressed the threats posed by China and Russia to the United States’ interest in this increasingly important region.

Africa has been at the centre of the Russian/Ukraine war, with the two European countries being power houses in the supply of grains and other staple, the war has lunched in an era of high food cost in developing countries, largely African countries.

The continent has had a contingent of international guest lately. Recall  that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavlov and French President Emmanuel Macron’s travel recently visited. Ukraine also announced that its Foreign minister will soon be visiting in a yet to be announced that.

Musings From Abroad

WHO announces second malaria vaccine

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The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu has called for the use of a second malaria vaccine to curb the life-threatening disease spread to humans by some mosquitoes.

Tedros made the recommendation during a briefing in Geneva on Monday, recalling that “almost exactly two years ago, WHO recommended the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine called R21/Matrix-M.”

Malaria remains one of Africa’s deadliest diseases, killing nearly half a million children under the age of five every year. In July, WHO and some of its partner agencies revealed that around 18 million doses of the first malaria vaccine would be delivered to 12 African countries. The road is now cleared by WHO for the second use of the vaccines.

“Today, it gives me great pleasure to announce that WHO is recommending a second vaccine called R21/Matrix-M to prevent malaria in children at risk of the disease,” Tedros said. R21/Matrix-M, created by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, will be accessible by the middle of 2024, with doses costing between $2 and $4.

“WHO is now reviewing the vaccine for prequalification, which is WHO stamp of approval, and will enable GAVI (a global vaccine alliance) and UNICEF to buy the vaccine from manufacturers,” Tedros said.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, said it had already produced more than 20 million doses in anticipation of WHO’s recommendation.

“We will ramp it up as per what the demand requirements are,” he said in an interview. “We hope that by the end of 2024, there will be zero mismatches of demand and supply, with our supply coming into the system.”

By 2026, 40–60 million doses of the malaria vaccine will be required annually, and by 2030, 80–100 million doses will be required, according to estimates from the WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi.

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Musings From Abroad

Germany to support ECOWAS with $86 million 

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will receive 81 million euros ($85.9 million) in support from Germany’s Development Ministry for peacekeeping and economic growth.

“The crises in West Africa require regional solutions. In addition to actively mediating in crises, ECOWAS also actively works to prevent crises, according to Development Minister, Svenja Schulze, who met with an ECOWAS delegation on Friday in Berlin.

Germany enjoys a positive reputation in many African countries thanks to its long-standing alliance with nations like Niger and Nigeria, although it has fallen out with the Malian government, which is notorious for its counter-posture to the West. Hundreds of German soldiers are also on missions across the West African sub-region, which has now become a breeding ground for terrorists.

But the case is different when it comes to economic relations. In 2021, German companies invested around $1.6 billion (€1.68 billion) in Africa, which was “encouraging but still far from enough.” In terms of Germany’s total direct foreign investment around the globe, only around 1% ends up in Africa.

China has led the chart for investment into the continent in recent years. While Chinese investment shows the fastest growth, and expanding, the significance of German enterprises for African economies is shrinking.

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