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Relatives of jailed Egyptian activist raise alarm, fear for his deteriorating health

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Family members of jailed Egyptian-British activist, Alaa Abdelfattah, have raised am alarm over his deteriorating health condition after they visited him in prison on Thursday for the first time since he embarked on a total hunger strike.

His sister, Mona Seif, who spoke on behalf of the family after the rare visit, said his health had deteriorated sharply during his hunger strike.

“Alaa deteriorated severely in the past 2 weeks, but at least they got to see him, and he needed to see the family so much,” Mona Seif, said wrote on Twitter after the meeting at Wadi Al-Natrun jail, north-west of Cairo.

Abdel-Fattah had, in a letter to his family earlier this week, said that he had ended his strike was looking forward to them visiting him.

Abdel-Fattsh’s health situation had drawn the attention of world leaders who had gathered in Egypt for the United Nations” climate summit tagged COP27, with US President, Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, all calling on Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, to grant the pro-democracy activist amnesty.

Alaa is an activist and blogger who rose to prominence in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, and went on to become a symbol for thousands of Egyptians, from the youths and liberals to Islamists, who were swept up in later crackdowns.

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Despite hardship in Nigeria, Tinubu insists on harsh economic reforms

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Despite the hues and cries of agony by Nigerians over the excruciating high cost of living and economic challenges occasioned by the policies of the present administration, President Bola Tinubu says his administration remains steadfast in implementing his economic reforms that he believes will facilitate business growth and create investment opportunities that support Nigeria’s growing population.

The Nigerian President, who made the pledge on Thursday when he recieved a delegation from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) led by Florizelle Liser, its President and Chief Executive Officer, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, further expressed his administration’s
unwavering commitment to Nigeria’s economic growth and stability, emphasizing that he was not relenting until his vision for Nigeria was achieved.

Tinubu emphasized that though he is not oblivious of the fact that a large percentage of Nigerians are currently going through unbearable conditions, his bold reforms will, in the long run, come good and Nigerians will be better off.

While addressing the delegation, the President said he would not relent until his vision for Nigeria was achieved.

”I am happy that the Council is interested in various segments of Nigeria’s economy. We are right in the middle of a challenging stage of our reforms. We have headwinds, no doubt, but we are not going back,” he said.

”We are challenged, and we believe we will overcome the challenges. I have a can-do attitude that must be translated into a must-do attitude. We have a good team, and we must remain focused to get the goal accomplished,” he reiterated.

President Tinubu also reaffirmed his commitment to creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, emphasizing that his administration’s focus on investing in key sectors, such as agriculture, solid minerals, energy, health, physical infrastructure, trade promotion, financial services, digital enterprise, and the creative economy is underpinned by the need to ensure the welfare and prosperity of citizens.

”We are going to do more on security and investing in education, as we believe that education is the greatest weapon against poverty. We welcome partners like CCA, and we will strengthen our partnership to achieve our goals,” he added.

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Zambia: Opposition FDD calls for creation of agric bank

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Zambian opposition party, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), has called on the government to re-establish an agricultural bank in the country.

The party’s Information and Publicity Secretary, Caeser Liteta, who made the call in a statement on Wednesday, said it was important that government to set up an agricultural bank to provide financing for farmers to invest in irrigation facilities as a result of the drought being experienced in the country.

Liteta added that government should take stock of affected small scale farmers through the extension officers under the Ministry of Agriculture and ensure that a true reflection of affected small scale farmers was captured and prioritised as beneficiaries of farming inputs during the 2024 – 2025 farming season

“The UPND government must consider re-establishing a farmers’ bank similar to the defunct Lima Bank Limited to provide financing need to invest in irrigation facilities,” Liteta said.

He noted that the effects of climate change had become visible and more pronounced and it was high time President Hakainde Hichilema and his Cabinet considered re-establishing the farmers’ bank to help mitigate effects of climate change in the agricultural sector.

“The current Super El Nino being experienced in the country has devastating effects on the rainfall pattern and going by media reports, we may only have a few days of rainfall in the next five weeks, but sustained rainfall is finished for the 2023 – 2024 farming season, especially for farmers in Lusaka, Central, Eastern and Southern Provinces,” Liteta said.

Liteta stated that the FDD as a party, had taken effects of climate change seriously and, as a policy matter, had developed the soon to be adopted Environmental Strategic Plan that was centred on Agriculture, health and water and sanitation respectively.

“Through the programmes, our party hopes to mitigate effects of climate change in areas of agriculture, associated diseases and challenges in depleting sources of clean water both, rivers and boreholes.”

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