THE AFRICA SOCIETY OF THE NATIONAL SUMMIT ON AFRICA
Botswana: The country leads World in HIV Diagnosis, Treatment
The tiny southern African nation of Botswana is leading the way in treatment and containment of the virus that causes AIDS. It is exceeding goals for addressing the HIV crisis, well ahead of a deadline set by the United Nations. Botswana, with HIV infection rates of up to 25 percent of the adult population, has moved ahead of other countries — both Western nations and the economically disadvantaged — in tackling the AIDS epidemic. The United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS has called on countries to strive to ensure that 90 percent of their citizens know their HIV status and that 90 percent are treated with ant-retroviral therapy to achieve 90 percent viral suppression. Botswana has reached a viral suppression rate of 96 percent among its infected citizens, mostly between the ages 15-49, according to Max Essex, chair of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health AIDS Initiative.
South Sudan: Rebel Deputy Returns to Capital as Part of a Peace Deal
The deputy chief of South Sudan’s rebels has returned to the capital, Juba, as part of a peace deal. The main opposition leader, Riek Machar, is also expected to return to the capital to work out a unity government. South Sudan’s rebel deputy chief returned to Juba as part of the peace deal signed in August 2015, despite repeated ceasefire violations by both sides. Alfred Ladu Gore, a former general and minister, spoke about peace upon arrival, saying he: “came here to proclaim peace and I have come to reaffirm that peace will not be reversed. We have resolved to be together and to continue with our effort to rebuild this country. It is very important that this country must occupy its place among the free nations of the world,” Gore said.
Central Africa: Republic gets new government
Bangui – The Central African Republic unveiled on Monday its first new government since a peaceful presidential vote in February seen as a step toward reconciliation after years of sectarian violence. Prime Minister Mathieu Simplice Sarandji’s cabinet announced on national radio has 23 members, with none drawn from the Muslim and Christian militias behind the bloodletting sparked by a coup three years ago. Three candidates who came up short against President Faustin-Archange Touadera, elected in a February 14 run-off vote, are in the cabinet, including Defense Minister Joseph Yakete.
Mali: The government announces end of its Ebola outbreak
Mali’s health minister says the West African country is Ebola-free after recording no new cases for 42 days, the period required for the World Health Organization to declare an outbreak officially over. Health Minister Ousmane Kone made the announcement last night. Mali recorded its first Ebola case in October, and then nearly eradicated the disease before a new wave of cases occurred in November. In total, the disease infected eight people, killing six of them, according to the WHO. Ebola has killed more than 8 400 people in West Africa, with the overwhelming majority of those deaths occurring in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Djibouti: Guelleh clinches fourth term with landslide win
Friday’s vote, which activists complained was preceded by political repression and curbs on basic freedoms, saw Guelleh winning 86.68 percent of ballots, according to the interior ministry.
Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, in power since 1999, claimed victory on Saturday following a landslide win in an election boycotted by some opposition parties in this strategic African nation. “The people of Djibouti have again entrusted me with the state’s highest office,” Guelleh, 68, said in a speech on national TV. “I have understood their hopes and will get back to work tomorrow.” Facing a fractured opposition, Guelleh had been widely expected to cruise to a fourth term in the tiny Horn of Africa country that has attracted the US, France and China as a prime location for military bases. The closest opposition candidate won just over seven percent of the vote in a race where some 187,000 people — around a fourth of the population — were eligible to cast a ballot.