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Musings From Abroad

United Nations envoy to Sudan, Perthes steps down

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Over three months after being declared persona non grata in Sudan, a United Nations special envoy, Volker Perthes has confirmed that he will be stepping down.

 

Since the declaration in June, Perthes has been operating from outside of Sudan, drawing a reaction from the United Nations that its employees could not be treated unfavourably.

 

Perthes, while appreciating the UN Security Council on Thursday for the opportunity to serve in the troubled North African country for a period of two and half years, revealed that he had requested to be taken off the role.

 

“I am grateful to the Secretary-General for that opportunity and for his confidence in me, but I have asked him to relieve me of this duty”, he said.

 

Clashes between the army under General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s transitional government’s Sovereign Council, and army troops loyal to General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the council’s deputy leader who controls the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), have led to the destruction of facilities.

 

There is “minimal doubt who is responsible for what,” Perthes told the 15-member Security Council. He also warned that “what started as a conflict between two military formations could be morphing into a full-blown civil war.

 

“Often indiscriminate aerial bombing is conducted by those who have an airforce, which is the SAF. Most of the sexual violence, lootings and killings happen in areas controlled by the RSF and are conducted or tolerated by the RSF and their allies,” he said during his last council briefing.

 

Meanwhile, the UN in a report on Wednesday called that the conflicting parties regard civilians and children, noting that “the ongoing killing of civilians in Khartoum, Nyala, Al Fasher and other areas underscores the fact that the parties to this conflict are not honouring the pledges they signed up to on 11 May or the fundamental rules of international law underpinning them.”

According to local health officials, since April’s fighting between the regular army and the RSF has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 civilians and injured many more.

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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