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AfricaFocus Bulletins with Material on Health

Last 20 Bulletins


December 10, 2018  Africa/Global: Green New Deal Could Be Game-Changer http://www.africafocus.org/docs18/clim1812.php
    “And yet here’s the truly strange thing: I feel more optimistic about our collective chances of averting climate breakdown than I have in years. For the first time, I see a clear and credible political pathway that could get us to safety, a place in which the worst climate outcomes are avoided and a new social compact is forged that is radically more humane than anything currently on offer.” - Naomi Klein on the Green New Deal

November 12, 2018  Africa: Why Mining is Hard to Tax http://www.africafocus.org/docs18/tax1811.php
    "In Africa as elsewhere in the world, while energy companies might be somewhat undertaxed, mining companies typically are greatly under-taxed. Indeed, it is only a slight exaggeration to say that, with a few significant exceptions, notably Botswana’s diamond mines, mining in Africa is barely taxed at all. One reliable source indicates that contemporary African governments collect about 55% of the total value of energy production in tax revenue, but only 3% of the value of mining production." - Taxing Africa

November 12, 2018  Africa: Africa Mining Vision http://www.africafocus.org/docs18/amv1811.php
    The Africa Mining Vision (AMV) was adopted by Heads of State at the February 2009 African Union summit following the October 2008 meeting of African Ministers responsible for Mineral Resources Development. An action plan was adopted in December 2011, and the African Minerals Development Centre (https://www.uneca.org/amdc) launched in December 2013. The lead role in developing the vision was taken by African professional staff at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), in consultation not only with African governments but also with civil society organizations and specialists on the mining sector.

October 16, 2018  Africa/Global: Drug Company Profits vs. Public Health http://www.africafocus.org/docs18/drug1810.php
    "Oxfam examined publicly available data on subsidiaries of four of the largest US drug companies and found a striking pattern. In the countries analyzed that have standard corporate tax rates, rich or poor, the corporations’ pretax profits were low. In eight advanced economies, drug company profits averaged 7 percent, while in seven developing countries they averaged 5 percent. Yet globally, these corporations reported annual global profits of up to 30 percent. So where were the high profits? Tax havens. In four countries that charge low or no corporate tax rates, these companies posted skyrocketing 31 percent profit margins." - Oxfam, September 2018

June 20, 2018  Congo (Kinshasa): Ebola Response Shows Lessons Learned http://www.africafocus.org/docs18/eb1806.php
    The Democratic Republic of Congo has extensive experience in successfully containing Ebola outbreaks (the one which was reported in May is the ninth since the first in 1976). But this one, with cases in Mbandaka, a river-port city of over one million people on the country's western border, raised the nightmare scenario of spreading to other river-port cities such as the capital Kinshasa (over 11 million people), as well as Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo, and Bangui in the Central African Republic. But, although victory is not assured, so far the response by national and international health agencies has been a model of applying lessons learned.

October 9, 2017  Africa/Global: Tobacco Industry Targets Africa Markets http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/tob1710.php
    "British American Tobacco (BAT) and other multinational tobacco firms have threatened governments in at least eight countries in Africa demanding they axe or dilute the kind of protections that have saved millions of lives in the west, a Guardian investigation has found. ... The giant tobacco firms hope to boost their markets in Africa, which has a fast-growing young and increasingly prosperous population." - The Guardian

August 23, 2017  USA/Africa: No Policy? Bad Policy? Or Both? http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/usa1708.php
    "Africa is terra incognita for the Trump Administration: a continent it cares little--and understands even less--about. With no dyed-in-the-wool Trumpian Africa hands available, the administration appears ready to cede Africa policy making to career civil servants and a few mainstream Republican appointees." - Matthew T. Page

July 10, 2017  Africa/Global: Following the Money http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/iff1707.php
    "As an important tool in our fight against corruption, tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering, we will advance the effective implementation of the international standards on transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements, including the availability of information in the domestic and crossborder context." - G20 Summit Communiqué, Hamburg, July 8, 2017

May 30, 2017  USA/Africa: "Pro-Death" Health Agendas Advance http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/health1705.php
    "3.3 million more abortions. 15,000 more mothers dying. 8 million more unplanned pregnancies. ... Those grim numbers from the Guttmacher Institute show the potential real-world impact of the Trump administration's unprecedented proposed cuts to global family planning efforts; the budget the White House released Tuesday would basically eliminate those programs." - Sarah Wildman, Vox, May 24, 2017

October 4, 2016  West Africa/Europe: Toxic Fuels for African Markets http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/dd1610.php
    European commodity trading companies in Switzerland, using petroleum 'blending' plants in the Netherlands and Belgium, are exporting toxic fuels to Africa in large quantity. "Their business model," according to a new report from the Swiss organization Public Eye, "relies on an illegitimate strategy of deliberately lowering the quality of fuels in order to increase their profits. Using a common industry practice called blending, trading companies mix cheap but toxic intermediate petroleum products to make what the industry calls 'African Quality' fuels."

July 26, 2016  Africa/Global: Not Yet "End of AIDS" http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/hiv1607.php
    At the 21st International AIDS Conference in South Africa last week, "optimism faded as delegates arrived to news that donor countries had reduced global HIV funding by more than $1 billion from 2014 to 2015. ... Nearly 20 million people are [still] in need of antiretroviral therapy. [and] nearly half of the $44 billion cost could be unfunded between 2016 and 2020." - Washington Post, July 25, 2016

June 30, 2016  Africa/Global: Air Pollution Threats & Solutions http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/air1606.php
    "Around 6.5 million deaths are attributed each year to poor air quality, making this the world’s fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. Without changes to the way that the world produces and uses energy, the ruinous toll from air pollution on human life is set to rise. ... Household air pollution, closely linked to a lack of access to modern energy services, causes around half a million premature deaths annually in sub-Saharan Africa, where four-fifths of the population rely on the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking, and candles and kerosene lamps are extensively used for indoor lighting." - International Energy Agency (IEA)

June 22, 2016  Africa/Global: "Stop the Bleeding" Updates http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/stb1606.php
    "A new report by Tax Justice Network-Africa and ActionAid says that East African countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) are losing approximately $2 billion a year of revenue each year by granting tax incentives to multinational companies. ... According to Yaekob Metena, ActionAid Tanzania's country director, 'Though there have been improvements in recent years in addressing the issue, governments in East Africa continue to give away domestic resources in tax incentives, funds that could pay for the regions' education and health needs and meeting the development objectives.'"

June 13, 2016  Africa/Global: Don't Be a Fossil Fool http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/clim1606.php
    From solar TVs in rural Kenya to modular concrete for windmills in Iowa, the pace of technological advance continues to accelerate, making renewable fuels more and more competitive with fossil fuels. Technology alone will not be sufficient, of course. But these trends, combined with worldwide climate activism and increasing awareness among the public and government policy-makers, are leading even establishment analysts to conclude that, in the words of the Financial Times, "fossil fuel producers face a future of slow and steady decline."

October 28, 2015  South Sudan: Hard-Hitting Report from African Union http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/ssud1510.php
    "Based on its inquiry, the Commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that acts of murder, rape and sexual violence, torture and other inhumane acts of comparable gravity, outrages upon personal dignity, targeting of civilian objects and protected property, as well as other abuses, have been committed by both sides to the conflict."

October 20, 2015  Africa: Tax Tricks, Mobile Phones, and Beer http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/td1510.php
    "Despite MTN having its headquarters located in South Africa, 55% of the "management and technical fee payments" flow to "MTN International" (MTNI)--a company which has no staff and is located in Mauritius. The remaining 45% was paid to MTN Dubai--a subsidiary which the company says it renders international financial services and shared services to MTN Group." - Quartz Africa, on new report by amaBhungane and Finance Uncovered

October 13, 2015  Africa/Global: Health Challenges & Threats http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/rth1510.php
    Last week was the first week since March 2014 that no new cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa. And late last month the World Health Organization announced official guidelines for beginning antiretroviral therapy for all persons infected with HIV even before they show symptoms of AIDS. Fully eradicating either disease and building sustainable health system remain formidable challenges, however. At the same time, U.S. policy to promote greater protection for large pharmaceutical companies in trade negotiations poses a still rising threat to global efforts to guarantee the universal right to health.

August 3, 2015  Africa/Global: Climate Change Roundup http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/clim1508.php
    Coal is the most damaging of fossil fuels, both for human health and for the planet. Although it still dominates in some countries, including South Africa, the case against coal is rapidly gaining ground around the world. On business grounds as well, coal is losing its competitive advantage. 2015, many are suggesting, may be the beginning of the end for coal.

June 22, 2015  Africa: AIDS Struggle Continues http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/hiv1506.php
    "Both globally and in Africa, there is good news. Our collective efforts to end the AIDS epidemic are paying off. Now more people living with HIV than ever before are accessing treatment, more people know their status, and AIDS-related deaths are declining. ... This progress, however, belies a dangerous reality: young African women and adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to HIV." - UNAIDS, June 2015

May 11, 2015  West Africa: Ebola Down But Not Out http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/eb1505.php
    "The [Ebola] epidemic is at its lowest but not over yet. The recent weeks have seen an important decrease in new confirmed Ebola cases across West Africa. Liberia is now close to being declared Ebolafree on 9 May, while Sierra Leone and Guinea are finally getting close to zero. However, the outbreak is not over until it's over at the regional level." - Doctors without Borders, May 6 update