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Sunday, 29th May 2022
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Africa's first Covid-19 vaccination plant risks shutting down after receiving not a single order, a company executive said on Saturday.

This announcement comes at a time when a large portion of Africa’s population remains unvaccinated and also at a time when South Africa has entered into the 5th wave of the pandemic.

According to the World Health Organisation, as of March this year, only a sixth of adults in Africa had been fully vaccinated. 

The pharmaceutical company, Aspen Pharmacare got a licensing deal in November last year to package and sell Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine and distribute it across Africa.

Professor Tulio de Oliveira, the director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa, told the BBC that the closure could affect the production of other vaccines that “do not affect the developed world” as well as the preparation for the next pandemic.

It is the aim of the African union that 60% of all vaccines would be produced in Africa, however, with the latest development, Africa is at risk of missing this target.

-Africa News

Spain has said it "does not want to fuel futile differences" with Algeria after Madrid changed its position regarding the Western Sahara and backed Morocco's proposal to grant it autonomy under its sovereignty. The assurance comes amid fears the row could impact energy supplies from Algeria.

Spain's foreign minister José Manuel Albares on Tuesday said the "sovereign decision was taken within the framework of international law".

It also comes as Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Saturday vowed his country will not cut off energy supplies to Spain despite the diplomatic row over Western Sahara. 

"We assure our Spanish friends, the Spanish people, that Algeria will never abandon its commitment to supply Spain with gas under any circumstances," Tebboune said in an interview aired on state television late on Saturday.

President Tebboune maintained that Algeria "has good relations with Spain", but the recent position of the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on the Saharan cause "changed everything."

In October, he had announced the end of the contract with Rabat that allowed the transport of gas to the peninsula through the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline, one of the two energy supply routes to Spain from the North African country.

The pipeline crosses more than 500 km of Moroccan soil and the cessation of its operation has revealed a rise in tensions between the two countries against the backdrop of the Western Sahara conflict.

On the other hand, Spain reached an agreement with Rabat earlier this month to guarantee its energy security and to transport gas from the peninsula to Morocco via the same pipeline.

-Africa News

South Africa's major port of Durban, where last week’s devastating floods disrupted operations, is now functional.

The country's public enterprises minister, Pravin Gordhan announced on Tuesday (April 19) adding that a backlog of thousands of containers will be cleared within five to six days.

The floods caused extensive damage to roads leading to Durban port, one of the busiest shipping terminals in Africa and a key hub for exports like metals and agricultural commodities. 

In an online briefing the minister said, fridges, logs and debris ended up in the harbour during the floods, but were all cleared after 72 hours of dredging.

He said that trucks could now access the port terminals, which were operating at between 60 per cent and 100 per cent capacity.

-Africa News

The Angolan oil sector has reason to smile with export figures more than satisfactory at the end of 2021-beginning of 2022. In the same vein, the historic launch of the very first oil platform in the country will take place next June.

Going by the name "Lifua A", the platform is under construction in the Malongo camp in Cabinda and should be launched into the sea in a few weeks. Supported by the giant Chevron through its local subsidiary Cabinda Gulf Oil Company Limited (CABGOC), the project required a budget of 60 million dollars.

This information was made public during a three-day visit by President Joao Lourenço to Cabinda Province, during which the project was presented to him. 

Last February, José Barroso, Angolan Secretary of State for Oil and Gas, while presenting the results of the sector, confirmed the recovery after a terrible year in 2020. The counters showed 27.87 billion dollars in crude oil export revenues in 2021, an increase of 51.4% year on. A total of 394.22 million barrels of crude oil were shipped to Angola's customers around the world, led by China, which bought 71.51%, followed by India (7%), according to the same source.

The project which is part of the upturn in the Angolan oil sector is intended to create 300 direct jobs and will have its entry into production in late 2023.

-AFP

A truck-full of unwanted human waste will soon be turned into fuel.

Trucks bring the material to a social enterprise called Sanivation based in Naivasha,100 kilometres from Nairobi.

It might seem like an unlikely source for cooking meals and heating homes, but this unpleasant mixture will be treated and turned into profita ble briquettes. 

"Initially, it was very hard for us to scale-up as we used to make a home based product. People used to think that it smelling a lot but that wasn't the case because we used to treat the poop very well to make the product and people would even use it for barbecue," explains Paul Manda, factory manager at Sanivation.

The raw material is treated through heating at high temperatures to kill the bacteria and then is mixed with sawdust to make the briquettes.

The product has become more popular than they expected.

"So, when we decided to think of another product we thought of the sawdust briquettes, and of course, it is also a combination of agricultural and of course human waste. This product (was) actually picked up the market much quicker than we thought. So, we are currently selling more than 120 tons and we cannot even meet the market demand," says Manda.

Taking human waste out of the wider environment and turning it into fuel has environmental benefits.

According to charity Water.org,41 percent of Kenyans lack access to basic sanitation solutions.

According to dateafrom WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP), it is estimated 8.5 percent of the population practiced open defecation in 2020.

"The use of this fuel is very important to the environment in the fact that for each tonne that we are going to use we are saving thirty-three trees. Remember we are also taking a useless product that people used to just throw away, and maybe it was unsafely managed," says Manda.

Sanivation initially targeted households as potential customers.

But after low takeup, they switched to supplying factories and businesses like Larmona flower farm.

They cook food on site for their employees and used to use charcoal and firewood.

But the briquettes are cheaper and manager Mary Wangui says her staff have noticed other benefits.

'We switched to briquettes which are environmentally friendly because they do not produce smoke compared to the normal charcoal and the firewood. Also it has another advantage that it is not affecting our employees in the canteen medical-wise because the smoke affects the health of the employees but with briquettes we do not have those chances at the moment," she explains.

"We have other advantages on the tear and wear of cooking pots whereby we used to buy cooking pots several times but at the moment they are taking long. Also if you compare from the normal charcoal and from briquettes, the heat from the briquettes takes long that means we use less compared to what we used to use there earlier," she adds.

According to Kenya Forest Service, charcoal provides 82 percent of the urban population and 34 percent of rural households with energy.

"The briquettes are a good alternative to charcoal and wood and especially they are made from mostly waste material so they reduce on the trees that are being cut," explains Nickson Otieno, a sustainability expert and CEO at Niko Green.

"Number two, if well made, they burn efficiently so they release less emissions of bad air, we call it carbon. So that has a very good health impact but also environmental impact compared to how the charcoal or the wood burns. Which is not efficient."

Through the initiative, the company has been able to create jobs, as well as convince established organisations to opt for an environmentally friendly source of energy.

-Africa News

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