Tuesday, 03 March 2020
Tuesday, 03 March 2020 13:33

Coronavirus hits Senegal, Tunisia

Two African countries, Senegal and Tunisia have confirmed cases of the deadly Coronavirus.

Senegal’s Health Minister, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, said on Monday that the country has confirmed its first case of coronavirus.

The patient is a French man who lives in Senegal and flew back from France on 26 February, Mr Sarr told a press conference in the capital, Dakar.

The patient reported to a private hospital on 27 February with symptoms, including a headache.

The authorities are monitoring everyone who travelled on the same flight as well as the patient’s family.

The minister said the country was prepared to deal with the virus, pointing out that Senegal had the facilities to test for the coronavirus.

This is the second case in sub-Saharan Africa after one was confirmed in Nigeria last week, BBC reports.

Also, Tunisia confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, the country’s health minister told journalists on Monday.

Abdelatif el-Maki said the patient was a 40-year-old Tunisian man, who arrived in the country by boat from Italy on 27 February.

He and the other passengers had been advised to monitor themselves. When his fever spiked, he contacted emergency services.

In Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Senrgal and Nigeria have all confirmed cases of the virus.

Published in World

The violent conflict that erupted in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon in 2016 continues unabated. It was triggered by the government’s repression of protests over the increasing influence of French in the English-speaking legal and educational institutions, and by the perceived marginalisation of the country’s Anglophone regions.

Some Anglophones are demanding increased decentralisation, while others are violently struggling for an independent state called “Ambazonia”.

The conflict has had devastating consequences for the Anglophone regions. According to Crisis Group around 3,000 people have died and half a million have been displaced. One in three people in the Anglophone regions are estimated to be in need of humanitarian aid.

Attempts have been made, including the involvement of other countries, to resolve the crisis. For example, Switzerland led a mediation initiative in 2019. But, for its part, the African Union, has been largely silent on the conflict.

It supported the Swiss-led initiative. It was also party to a joint statement on a tripartite commitment to supporting Cameroon’s ongoing peace and reconciliation process. And the African Union head, Moussa Faki Mahamat, visited Cameroonian President Paul Biya in July 2018 and discussed the need for a national dialogue to resolve the conflict. He visited again in November 2019.

But the conflict is conspicuously absent from the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, its decision-making body on the “prevention, management and resolution of conflicts”. This, despite the council being mandated to “facilitate timely and efficient response to conflict and crisis situations in Africa”.

The reason for this, we believe, is that a major part of the struggle in Cameroon is separatist in character. Cameroon’s territorial integrity is therefore at stake. In 1963, the Organisation of African Unity, predecessor to the African Union, adopted the principle of the inviolability of borders inherited from colonisation.

Since then there has been little support for secessionist movements in Africa. Eritrea and South Sudan were able to become independent states and many African countries support Western Sahara’s quest for self-determination. But a host of others – including Biafra, Katanga, Bioko, Zanzibar, Darfur, Casamance, Somaliland – have not seen much support.

Many of Cameroon’s neighbours, and a few on the Peace and Security Council, face similar challenges and are, therefore, not sympathetic to this cause. Indeed the African Union chairperson, during his visit to President Biya in 2018 had reconfirmed the African Union’s “unwavering commitment to the unity and territorial integrity of Cameroon”.

But the African Union is vital to finding a sustainable solution to the conflict in Cameroon. It needs to overcome this difficulty, and step up its lacklustre conflict management response.

Who should be doing what

The United Nations (UN) is tasked with the responsibility of preventing and managing conflict globally. In 2017, it and African Union signed a joint “framework for enhanced partnership in peace and security”. It emphasised collaboration and predictability in dealing with conflict in Africa.

Regional organisations are tasked, where appropriate, to respond to conflicts in their respective regions. There are many positives about this division of labour. But, there can also be challenges when there is a lack of capacity or unwillingness to respond to conflicts.

The UN Security Council attempted to discuss Cameroon in May 2019, but had to be content with an informal discussion after African members blocked a formal tabling of the matter.

For its part, the African Union has established a robust peace and security architecture. Besides the Peace and Security Council, it also has the

The African Union also has a mediation unit and, more recently, established a post conflict reconstruction centre.

The African Union has used these various avenues to resolve conflicts in a number of countries. These have included the Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Somalia, Gambia and Sudan.

Its track record in conflicts mixed. It did well in managing the conflict in Sudan, but not so well in Libya or South Sudan. The reasons often cited for the failures include the near absence of regional leadership, reliance on external funding, problems of harmonisation with the regional economic communities and a lack of capacity.

There is also a lack of political will on the part of the African Union’s peace and security council to get involved in a conflict deemed largely as an internal matter.

The fact that an African Union head has visited the country could point to some “quiet diplomacy” taking place in the background. But, that is not enough.

Way forward

If the African Union does not become more proactive in resolving the conflict in Cameroon, it risks seeing it escalate, and possibly fuelling instability in the region.

For many years Cameroon was considered a haven of peace in Central Africa, one of the more unstable regions on the continent with conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi and Chad. The region does not have a single democratic state.

There are a number of different issues that need to be simultaneously addressed in the management of the conflict in Cameroon.

Firstly, the African Union and UN need to coordinate their efforts in addressing the humanitarian needs of the refugees and displaced persons. And the African Union Commission on Human and Peoples Rights must investigate the many complaints of human rights abuses in Cameroon, and to take appropriate action.

Secondly, the continental body needs to deploy its “Panel of the Wise” to determine how best to manage the conflict. Thirdly, it must also send a special envoy to the Anglophone region to implement a conflict management strategy that will lead to a sustainable peace agreement.

Fourthly, it must settle the disputes over the right to self determination through the appropriate UN structures.

Read more: Why Cameroon must move beyond dialogue to solve its Anglophone crisis The Conversation

Cheryl Hendricks, Executive director, Africa Institute of South Africa, Human Sciences Research Council and Gabriel Ngah Kiven, PhD candidate in Political Studies at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Johannesburg

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Tuesday, 03 March 2020 10:25

Coronavirus deaths jump to six in US

Four new patients have died from COVID-19, in the Seattle area of Washington State in the United States, bringing the total deaths to six.
Public health officials near Seattle reported the nation’s first two deaths in a nearby suburb and several new cases over the weekend.
Local officials also said that about 50 residents and employees of a nursing care facility were being tested for the new coronavirus after several people there tested positive.
“Unfortunately, we are starting to find more COVID-19 cases here in Washington that appear to be acquired locally here in Washington,” Washington state health officer Dr. Kathy Lofy told reporters at a press conference.
“We now know that the virus is actively spreading in some communities.”
Washington state currently has 18 cases, 14 of which are in King County where the nursing facility is located and four in Snohomish County, she said.
Published in World
Nigeria’s biggest food company by market value, Nestle Nigeria Plc has reported a 6% leap in its after-tax profit for Full Year 2019.
This and other details are contained in its Annual Report and Financial Statements 31 December 2019 posted on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange today.
Nestle’s Revenue appreciated by 6.7%, climbing from N266.275 billion at FY2018 to N284.035 billion in the relative period of 2019.
Profit Before Income Tax (PBIT) jumped from N59.791 billion at FY2018 to N71.124 billion at FY2019, implying a 19% growth.
Nestle’s Profit for the year expanded by 6.2% from N43.008 at FY2018 to N45.683 billion in the same period last year.
Earnings Per Share (EPS) grew from N54.26 at FY2018 to N57.63 at FY2019, translating to a 6.2% increase.
Despite the largely impressive result, Nestle’s operational efficiency worsened slightly in between the periods particularly its Marketing and Distribution Expenses, which ramped up from N43.490 billion at FY2018 to N46.077 billion in the period under review.
Management should contemplate reducing its expenditure in this area in order to post better results in the years ahead.
Also remarkable is the expansion in Nestle’s Total Assets from N162.334 billion at FY2018 to N193.374 billion in the equivalent period of 2019, translating to 19.1%.
However, Total Equity plunged by 9.2%, falling from N50.220 billion at FY2018 to N45.558 billion at FY2019.
In view of the generally commendable result, the Nestle hierarchy is proposing a final dividend payment of N45 per share subject to shareholders’ approval.
The final dividend brings the total dividend declared by Nestle for FY2019 to N70 given that it had earlier declared an interim dividend of N25 per share last year.
With outstanding shares of 792,656,252, its market capitalisation is currently in the neighbourhood of N895.702 billion.
Nestle’s dividend yield is 6.24% while its Price to Earnings (PE) ratio is 17.65. According to Simply Wall Street, Nestle is trading above its fair value.
Nestle opened trade today on the floor of the NSE at N1,130 per share
Earnings Per Share is the profit that each unit of a company’s ordinary shares  yields  during a particular period. It is simply calculated by dividing the Profit After Tax by the company’s total outstanding shares.  Increase in a company’s EPS often reflects an improvement in its bottom-line while a fall, on the other hand, indicates a declining profit.
Published in Business
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