28 April 2000
Anti-malaria drive gets a US$750m boost
Some US$750 million has been pledged to African countries to help fight malaria, following
the first regional summit on the disease in Abuja, Nigeria.
The World-Bank, co-initiator of the Roll Back Malaria Meeting, pledged US$500 million,
while Canada pledged US$10 million.
The Summit, attended by 39 countries, including 20 African leaders and senior officials of
major UN agencies and NGOs, also called for US$1 billion to be made available yearly to
roll back the mosquito-borne tropical disease, which kills some two million people
world-wide, 90 percent of them in Africa.
In their Abuja Declaration, the leaders called on the creditor community to cancel the
debt of poor and heavily indebted countries to enable them to fight poverty caused by
The 13-page declaration also stressed the need for an investment of additional resources
to stimulate the development of malaria vaccines appropriate for Africa and provide
similar incentives for anti-malaria technology.
A country plan of action attached to the declaration lays the framework for monitoring and
management of the health system, provision of anti-malaria drugs and malaria control
According to a report presented to the summit, much of the US$500 million annual global
attacks cost Africa up to US$12 billion a year, while the region lost some 1.3 percent of
annual growth to the debilitating disease.(PANA)
Malawi introduces first women combat soldiers
The Malawi army introduced its first women recruits recently after they completed a
gruelling eight-month military training course.
The 59 trainees are part of a group of 68 women admitted to the Salima Armed Forces
College in in the Lake Malawi area.
Army spokesman, Lt. Col. McLoyd Chidzalo, said four of the 68 women dropped out of the
course while four others fell short of training requirements.
Chidzalo was enthusiastic about the trainees, who were accepted to the college after
pressure from women’s rights activists who argued that women in the army should not be
given “soft”, non-combative jobs only.
Chidzalo said the women soldiers were taught to fire rifles, were trained in self-defence
tactics and were drilled in military intelligence.
The Malawi armed forces plans to recruit 500 other soldiers and Chidzalo could not say
whether any of these would be women.
He stressed that although it was keen to recruit women, the Malawi army did not have
facilities for them. However, a female dormitory is under construction at the Kamuzu
barracks in Lilongwe.
The 59 graduates will be temporarily accommodated at Salima until the Kamuzu dormitory
is ready. (IRIN)
Mozambique minerals hit by low prices
Production of key minerals in Mozambique has been hit by a fall in the world market price,
said the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Castigo Langa.
The graphite mine at Ancuabe, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, is currently
closed, he explained, because it is no longer profitable to sell the graphite. Other
producers, particular China, had flooded the market, pushing down the price, and the
Ancuabe mine could not compete.
Langa said his Ministry hoped to solve this problem by taking advantage of economies of
scale, expanding production from 9,000 to 20,000 tonnes a year, and reducing unit costs.
The investors in the mine are trying to raise US$4.5 million for this expansion.
The government said it “will give all support possible so that Ancuabe can resume production”.
The price of the mineral extracted from the sands, titanium, has also fallen, and this forced a “reduction in the rhythm” of the heavy sands project at Moebase, in Zambezia province.
Langa also said that, although the Chipanga coalmine at Moatize, in the western province of
Tete, is functioning. But its production is “almost symbolic” because of transport problems.
Currently only a small amount of coal is exported, by road to Malawi. Taking large amounts to
major export markets depends on rebuilding the railway to Beira which was sabotaged by the
apartheid-backed Renamo rebels during the war.
It would take 300 million US dollars to rebuild the railway. This would allow the country to
export at least three million tonnes of coal a year. The government’s eventual target is ten
million tonnes a year. (AIM).
Pesticides an unnoticed killer in Tanzania
Tanzania is a victim of the overuse of pesticides. Some farmers are unaware of mixing ratios
or handling and storage guidelines.
Cancer, skin diseases and mental illness, seem to be on the increase and experts associate it
to exposure to the pesticides.
Avit Mmochi of the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Zanzibar recently said the harmful
pesticide is being imported through different brand names making a ban on the importation less
So far there are about 3,000 different types of pesticides in use in the country and experts
say the analysis of each one needs about a week, making the responsible bodies fail to
scrutinize their effectiveness and side effects.
Studies on the import trends and types, amount and toxicity of the pesticides used in Tanzania
have indicated that the East Coast of Zanzibar had highly concentrated amounts of the
COMESA works on security mechanism
Zambia has called on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to carefully
scrutinise the implications of establishing a mechanism on peace and security by avoiding the
duplication of duties.
Foreign Affairs Minister Kelly Walubita told the first meeting of the COMESA committee on
peace and security in Lusaka, late April, that duplication of duties and conflict of interests
between organisations should be avoided.
He noted that COMESA was a sum total of member states which belong to other sub-regional
groupings. Those groups, he said, had already formed similar organs to deal with matters of
peace and security.
Walubita called upon the participants to examine the gaps not covered by other regional
groupings and consider ways in which COMESA could address them in search of a lasting solution
to peace and stability in the region.
He advised the meeting to consider the important roles of the various systems of the UN and
the OAU, with a view to determine how COMESA contributes toward the maintenance of peace and
security in the world.
Peace, security and political stability are vital preconditions for regional economic
development and integration, he noted.
“Vital aspects of regional economic integration and development, such as free movement of
goods, services, capital and persons cannot be attained in an environment of instability”,
Meanwhile, COMESA secretary general Erastus Mwencha said because half of its member states
were involved in armed conflicts that impede the free movement of goods, capital and persons,
the organisation would find it difficult to meet its goals. (PANA)