In Other African Updates

By Korir Isaac / August 29, 2018 | 11:07 am



Three Key Emerging Trends for Africa - Ecobank Group Research

Who is Bobi Wine and why is he at the center of a storm in Uganda?

Bobi Wine is a Ugandan singer turned politician and is currently at the center of a storm in the East African nation. He was arrested and charged with treason in a civilian court – shortly after a military court dropped a charge of illegal possession of firearms and released him from custody.

Bobi Wine, 36, uses his politically charged songs to call for change in the country that President Yoweri Museveni has led for more than three decades.

In The Conversation Africa interview, Jimmy Spire Ssentongo was told to try and make sense of what’s happening in Uganda and how the public was reacting.

He noted that the people of Uganda are torn between anger and shock. Jimmy said that it’s true that Museveni isn’t known to be soft on his opponents or perceived threats. Nevertheless, many Ugandans didn’t expect him to stoop this low.

“Given Bobi Wine’s growing popularity, most people indeed expected the state to act. After all, it routinely meted out retribution against key opposition figure Dr. Kiiza Besigye. But it was nevertheless shocking that the state would reach the point of laughably parading arms as evidence against Bobi Wine for treason,” he added.

Anger has been channeled on the social media and a sense of shock can also be read in the deafening silence of most of the government officials. Only a handful of them, are offering to be part of the collective responsibility for the international embarrassment. It has been left to the president to offer explanations on social media where he’s been more active than ever before.

The public anger needs no elaboration. It can be seen, it can be heard, it can be sensed in various expressions on social media, on the streets, in places of worship and on radio, TV, buses, taxis and in homes. It’s also clear that the state is aware of the potential for a violent public reaction to the brutality and poorly staged justification for blatant political persecution. In anticipation, there’s been a heavy deployment of police and soldiers.

Since the passing of the Public Order Management Act (2013), demonstrators are treated as criminals. But in the heat of the current anger, this has not stopped people from defiantly using the limited space available.

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May in South Africa to discuss Britain’s plans to boost trade in Africa, what you need to know…

Britain is planning to use its international aid budget to boost its national interest and deepen trade ties with Africa evidenced by Prime Minister, Theresa May’s visit to the continent.

May, who is battling to unite her divided party over her plan to take Britain out of the European Union, will also visit Nigeria and Kenya as part of a three-day visit to Africa alongside a group of business delegates.

She recommitted to maintaining the overall British aid budget at 0.7 percent of economic output but added that she will be “unashamed” to use it in a way that helps Britain.

The target has previously come under fire from many of May’s own lawmakers who say it is a blunt tool that is too high and should be spent elsewhere or in Britain itself.

May desires to see Britain become the biggest investor in Africa out of the countries in the Group of Seven nations, overtaking the United States, by using the aid budget to help British private sector companies invest on the continent.

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This app is changing the way genetic data is collected in Ethiopia and Ghana

Biotech, specifically genetic technologies are going to change the world. Things that seemed impossible are now being realistically achieved. For instance, human diseases like cystic fibrosis can be easily eradicated in the near future. Moreover, a person’s ability may be enhanced to that of a superhuman.

These trends can be achieved through what is referred to as CRISPR, a technology used to edit an organism’s genetic makeup. Perhaps, even soon, next-generation sequencing may cease to be fiction and become a reality.

Meanwhile, as these technologies continue to increase in ability and decrease in cost, we may soon be living in an age of genomics-informed health care. Well, only about 7 percent of the world’s population will benefit from that. For everyone else, technologies such as next-generation sequencing and CRISPR gene editing are more science fiction than nonfiction.

Low or middle-income countries are where this technology is needed the most as they harbor the largest burden of birth defects and genetic diseases. Yet almost all low-income countries and many middle-income countries lack the necessary personnel, technology, infrastructure, and public and medical education capabilities needed to introduce medical genetics services.

To address the gap, a group of individuals created an app called the MiGene Family History. It’s an Android-based mobile application that aims to introduce medical genetics services into low and middle-income countries.

The app is used by healthcare providers and collects and stores patient and family histories. It generates personalized genetic counseling information that can be delivered to patients and their families. And the data can also be used for epidemiologic analysis.

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About Korir Isaac

A creative, tenacious, and passionate journalist with impeccable ethics and a nose for anticipated and spontaneous news. He may not say it, but he sure can make one hell of a story.

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