- Africa battles second wave of Covid-19, vaccines expected to delay
The COVID-19 cases in Africa is on the rise as the continent is battling a second wave of the novel virus.
At least 47 African countries have registered an average of 73,000 new COVID-19 infections per week since the end of November compared to an average of 30,000 new weekly cases in October, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Many African countries aren’t expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shipments until mid-2021 – The continent needs to secure at least 1.5 billion vaccine doses to reach 60% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. That would cost between $7 to $10bn.
2. Concerns for civilians in Darfur increases amidst UN Peacekeeping Mission
The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur is set to end a 13-year-old peacekeeping mission in the vast Sudanese region even as recent violent clashes leave residents fearful of a new conflict.
The Darfur fighting erupted in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which responded by recruiting and arming notorious Arab-dominated militia known as the Janjaweed.
Speaking about ending the mission, the UN-AU mission said: “The last day for UNAMID is tonight at midnight,” said UNAMID’s team leader in Darfur office Islam Khan. “UNAMID will not have any protection mandate after December 31, 2020.” The mission also said the Sudanese government “will take over responsibility for the protection of civilians in the area.”
3. Nigeria’s Buhari Okays 2021 Budget
Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday, 31 December, finally okays the 2021 Budget and Financial Appropriation Bill for 2021. The president hinted that he was aware of the changes made to the bill by the lawmakers.
Signing the N13.59tn budget, Buhari said he was aware of the changes the National Assembly made to the proposal he submitted. He also said his government would examine the changes made and request for amendment by the lawmakers where necessary.
4. Niger’s Ruling Party shows big win as partial results roll in
Niger’s ruling party seems on course to retain the presidency. As partial results are rolling out, Thursday, 31 December, showed candidate, Mohamed Bazoum holding a big lead over his competitors.
With 156 out of 266 electoral districts counted, Bazoum had crossed the one million vote mark while his closest rival – Mahamane Ousmane was in second place with 425,000 votes, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said.
Vaccinations against COVID-19 with a Russian produced vaccine on an experimental basis began on Wednesday at a centre in Conakry, Guinea.
Government officials were the first to receive the Sputnik V vaccine at a vaccination centre in Conakry. Dr Sakoba Keita, the Director-General of the National Health Security Agency, outlined the initiative.
“We have ordered 2 million doses (from Russia) to be able to vaccinate vulnerable people and we have also placed orders in the People’s Republic of China, all that in order to show the commitment of the government to go onto the offensive to use this latest strategy that served us well during the Ebola (outbreak).”