Pulse #28 - Counting the cost: $15k bond to enter USA, Africa turns to Russia & China for vaccines, robbing girls' futures, & pollution - the silent killer
The Data Room
5 African countries are on the list of the world’s top 8 countries for air pollution, according to a new report, resulting in an increased prevalence of chronic diseases, environmental damage and impacted food chains. Niger tops the list of most polluted African countries, with air pollution over 8x the level recommended by the World Health Organisation. Air pollution is caused by a combination of natural factors such as dust and sand, plus human activities such as car traffic, industry, and the burning of various fuels (including coal, charcoal, wood).
Numbers in the Spotlight
(1.5bn) of the Covid-19 vaccine, assuming two per person, will be needed to reach the 60% coverage needed for herd immunity in Africa
($120mn) will be loaned by the AfDB to Western Tanzania, towards a $144mn hydropower plant project, expected to meet the electricity needs of >133,000 households
currently need to be imported into Nigeria per annum, to meet demand
$15,000 bond for a visa
to enter USA will be required by travellers from 15 African countries, under a new temporary rule
of content shown on international video-on-demand services will have to be local, under a new proposal from South Africa’s government
5 African countries
are among the top 8 countries in the world for air pollution, with Niger top of Africa's list
Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy
Current US President Trump has issued a new temporary pilot scheme lasting 6 months, that will require visa applicants from 15 African countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000. In total, the visa bond will apply to 23 countries whose nations' overstay rate exceeded 10% in 2019. Trump’s anti-immigration policies have greatly affected the Continent, with the so called 2017 “Muslim ban” affecting Libya, Chad and Somalia, and its extension affecting Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania and Sudan. Whilst US President-elect Biden (coming into power in Jan 2021) has pledged to reverse many of Trump’s immigration policies, this may take months or years, and affect US’s efforts to roll back the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa.
Baseline healthcare & disease protection
The African Union and Africa CDC have discussed Covid-19 vaccine trial partnerships with both China and Russia. As the world’s richest nations have arranged to buy hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, Africa risks being the bottom of the long queue. Whilst Africa has been promised Covid-19 vaccines from the WHO’s Covax program, this would only cover ~20% of the population, whilst ~60% will need vaccinating to achieve herd immunity. However, with just half of SSA countries having “identified the priority populations for vaccination” with plans in place to reach them, and just 24% having adequate plans for resources and funding, more preparation will be needed to avoid Covid-19 becoming an endemic disease in Africa.
Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership
A new report says that African girls are being robbed of their future and condemned to a lifetime of discrimination and inequality. The report ranks how “girl-friendly” Africa’s countries are, with Mauritius and Tunisia at the top, and Comoros and South Sudan at the bottom. Africa is home to 308mn girls (under 18 years of age). Yet in many countries, only 1 in 5 girls has access to secondary school, one quarter of all secondary schools have no sanitation facilities, 3 in 10 girls are married, and for 40%, their first sexual experience is forced. Without determined action to address this, 50% of Africa’s population will be left behind, and the AU’s Agenda for Children 2040 (an Africa fit for children) will not become a reality.
Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities