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NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta cuts a cake during a Christmas party at state house in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Dec. 16, 2018. Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday hosted a Christmas party for children of state house staff members and those of police officers attached to presidential security units. XINHUA PHOTO: FRED MUTUNE
Zimbabwe senior doctors join striking juniors

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Senior doctors at Zimbabwean government health institutions on Monday joined their striking junior counterparts, citing an untenable workload which they say is affecting effective discharge of their duties.

A source at the country’s biggest referral center, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, told Xinhua that the doctors had attended to patients earlier in the morning but had later resolved to withdraw their services.

“It’s confirmed. The senior doctors have gone on strike and consultants are now manning the wards. The situation is still stable but we will see tomorrow whether the consultants will be able to handle the situation or they will discharge stable patients,” he said.

A letter from the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association to the administration at Parirenyatwa Hospital said the doctors were also withdrawing their services because of the overwhelming workload.

“Due to the ongoing industrial action by junior doctors, we as registrars are now overwhelmed by the workload and we are now unable to effectively discharge our services. We are, therefore, withdrawing our services immediately,” the letter said.

Junior doctors struck three weeks ago, citing unfavorable working conditions, leading the government to offer to address some of the issues which it said it could afford in the interim.

Among the demands, the doctors want improved supply of drugs and equipment, provision of fuel for them to come to work and payment of salaries in foreign currency.

The strike has led some hospitals to shut down some departments and discharge patients deemed safe to be treated from home.  


Burundi protests against BBC documentary on alleged killings

BUJUMBURA, (Xinhua) -- Burundi on Saturday organized nationwide demonstrations to protest against a BBC documentary on alleged killings of government opponents by the Burundian intelligence agency.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Dec. 2 published the documentary that talks about six places in various neighborhoods of Bujumbura where government opponents were allegedly killed or tortured by Burundi’s National Intelligence Service after the outbreak of Burundi’s 2015 crisis triggered by the third term bid of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The demonstrations took place at town centers of Burundi’s 18 provinces and were led by provincial authorities.

In the Burundian capital Bujumbura, the protests were led by assistant to the interior minister Tharcisse Niyongabo, who represented the government.

Thousands of demonstrators did a four-kilometer march from the UN Square in Ngagara zone to the Independence Square in the center of Bujumbura, singing and shouting slogans against the BBC.

They had banners which branded “we, Bujumbura residents, denounce the BBC unusual fabrications in a video saying that there are special killings in the country whereas these are fabrications by the country’s enemies” or “we commend the judiciary because after the publication of the video, it started investigations and realized that the BBC video was a fake one.”

Niyongabo in a government message urged the BBC to apologize. “When elections are drawing near, lies and fabrications take place. That’s what the BBC did by falling in the traps of manipulators who are weak in political competitions,” he said.

“The BBC should apologize, or else the judiciary will do its work,” he added.

He advised local and international media companies reporting on Burundi to avoid propagating rumors or fabrications.

The official also called on exiled politicians to return home in order to prepare the country’s 2020 general elections.

The Burundian government said on Thursday it is going to sue the BBC for publishing the documentary. 


More foreign airlines to launch flights to Somalia amid improved security: official

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- Improvement in aviation safety and general security situation in Somalia has prompted foreign airlines to launch flights to Mogadishu, an airport official said on Tuesday.

Said Eliye, director of operations and international relations at the Mogadishu international airport, said with the rising confidence in the country’s security, more international airlines were in talks to launch flights to Mogadishu in the coming years.

“We are always striving to have a safe airport as well as good service and safety. With support from AMISOM, the security has improved quite a lot,” Eliye said in a statement issued by the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

His remarks came after Kenya Airways launched its direct flights from Nairobi to Mogadishu on Tuesday.

The Kenyan carrier is the third international airline to fly the Nairobi-Mogadishu route. Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines are already operating daily flights into Mogadishu, while Qatar Airways recently announced plans to start scheduled flights to Somalia.

Eliye said Qatar Airways and commercial carriers from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Uganda have expressed interest in operating flights to Somalia.

“The airport authority in conjunction with AMISOM have partnered to ensure there is security and safety. That is our number one priority,” he added.


China calls for int’l help with South Sudan’s peace process

UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Tuesday called for international help to push forward the peace process in South Sudan.

After prolonged conflicts, a lot needs to be done, said Wu Haitao, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, adding that the implementation of the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement and the relaunch of economic development need enormous funding and other forms of support.

In addition, the international community should step up humanitarian assistance and economic support to South Sudan, he told the Security Council.

He asked to preserve the political will of the South Sudanese parties in advancing the peace process.

The international community should fully respect South Sudan’s leadership in dealing with its own issues and avoid the imposition of solutions, said Wu.

Meanwhile, the international community should continue to support the mediation efforts of regional organizations such as the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and focus on helping South Sudanese parties build mutual trust, honor their commitments and achieve a full cessation of hostilities, said Wu.

China agrees with UN Secretary-General’s proposal that the establishment of transitional security arrangements and the formation of a transitional government are matters of priority, he said.

The international community and the Security Council should be fully aware of the complexity of the South Sudan issue and provide constructive assistance to the country in addressing difficulties on the ground, he said.

It has been China’s consistent position that sanctions are a means, not the end, he said. “The Security Council should be prudent in the use of sanctions to make sure that measures taken are helpful to the political settlement of the South Sudan issue.”

The Security Council in July imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan in addition to existing sanctions—a travel ban and asset freeze against designated individuals and entities.

Wu said China has always supported South Sudan’s peace and development. China will, as always, be an active supporter and constructive participant in the South Sudan peace process and play a constructive role in the realization of lasting peace and sustainable development in the country, he said.


UN urges security arrangements between gov’t, opposition in South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua) -- The UN peacekeeping chief on Tuesday urged the establishment of transitional security arrangements between the South Sudanese government and the opposition to push forward peace process after their new peace agreement in September.

“During the pre-transition period which ends in May 2019, ... the parties must come to a comprehensive agreement on the security sector and the establishment of transitional security arrangements,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told the security council.

He said the move is necessary to build confidence among the parties and ensure the return and permanent presence of all the opposition in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, noting “a security agreement will be needed to be communicated within the ranks, and to reassure the commanders and combatants about their future.”

Moreover, the UN under-chief stressed the need to appoint a new chair to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission to shepherd the pre-transition negotiations on the establishment of the security arrangements among other matters.

Five years of fighting tormented the world’s youngest nation, which saw just two years of peace after its independence from Sudan.

In the failure of a 2015 peace deal, opposition leader Riek Machar fled his new post as vice president under a fragile power-sharing arrangement with President Salva Kiir after the fighting erupted again.

In September, the warring sides signed a new peace deal, which the two leaders vowed to keep.

Since the new agreement, “there has been a significant improvement in the general security situation of the country,” said Lacroix.

He reported reopening of roads, free movement of civilians, government and opposition groups “in areas controlled by each other,” and the returning of displaced populations in the past four months.

Despite the positive developments, he said sporadic clashes still took place, indicating that progress remained fragile. Besides fighting that caused casualties, he pointed to rape cases and inter-communal violence.

But overall, he said “the chance for peace in South Sudan has been created,” with more progress having been made since the new peace deal than that in the previous years after the conflict erupted. 


Kenya allocates 50.7 mln USD to promote balanced economic growth

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya has allocated 5.2 billion Kenyan shillings (about 50.7 million U.S. dollars) to promote balanced economic growth in the current financial year, officials said on Tuesday.

The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) chairperson Jane Kiringai told journalists in Nairobi that the funds will be drawn from the Equalization Fund which receives the equivalent of 0.5 percent of last-audited and approved government revenues.

“The funds will be used by marginalized counties to improve the living standards of their residents,” Kiringai said during the launch of a new formula for revenue allocation among the 47 counties.

The chairperson said that the funds will be divided by taking into account the county’s population, land area, poverty as well as fiscal responsibility.

Kiringai said that 14 counties with a population of approximately five million have been identified as marginalized.

NAIVASHA, (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Dec. 15, 2018 shows a section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) under construction in Mai Mahiu, Naivasha, Kenya. The Chinese Communications Construction Company says that the railway line is safe despite the ongoing rains that have been pounding the area and flooding nearby roads and farms. XINHUA PHOTO: FRED MUTUNE


Value of Kenya’s mobile money transactions hits 20 bln USD in Q3

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The value of mobile money transactions in Kenya topped 2 trillion Kenyan shillings (about 20 billion U.S. dollars) as mobile penetration hit the 100 percent mark in the third quarter, the industry regulator said on Tuesday.

A report released by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) showed that 730.2 million mobile money transactions valued at some 20.1 billion dollars were recorded in the July-September period, up from 611.3 million transactions valued at 18.6 million dollars in the previous quarter.

The report also showed that mobile penetration rose by 2.3 percentage points to 100.1 percent at the end of September from 97.8 percent at the end of June, an increase that has mainly been attributed to the fact that most users own more than one SIM card either from the same or different service providers.

According to the CA, the number of active mobile subscriptions increased to 46.6 million from 45.5 million, marking a 2.4 percent increase.


Kenya’s green investment portfolio to hit 900 mln USD in next decade: study

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The investment portfolio required to accelerate Kenya’s attainment of its ambitious green agenda is likely to hit 90.58 billion Kenyan shillings (about 900 million U.S. dollars) in the next decade, a study released on Tuesday showed.

According to Demand Study on Green Finance commissioned by Kenya Green Bond Program in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Kenya Bankers Association, Kenya can tap into international and domestic capital markets to finance green projects and assets.

“We need to harness private financial flows and drive green growth in the country. Green investments have enormous returns on the economy and the environment,” said Jackson Kiplagat, acting conservation director at WWF-Kenya.

The assessment on green investments opportunities in Kenya focused on three key sectors including agriculture, manufacturing and transport.

It also identified barriers to green financing in the country and proposed interventions that can be rolled out to help companies invest in bankable projects that can hasten low carbon development.


Kenya licenses 1st online forex trading money manager

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s capital market regulator said Tuesday it has licensed the country’s first company to operate online foreign exchange trading.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) granted Kenya’s first money manager license to Standard Investment Bank Limited (SIB) to operate in the online foreign exchange trading space.

Paul Muthaura, CMA chief executive officer, said SIB is licensed to choose and manage investments prudently for its online forex trading clients and develop appropriate investment strategy.

He said the money manager will also conduct financial analysis and monitor foreign exchange portfolio investments on behalf of its clients.

In February, the capital market regulator issued a license to EGM Securities Limited to operate as a non-dealing online foreign exchange broker.


Feature: Chinese firms resonate with Kenyan youth in search of career mobility

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Judy Miriti grew up in the central Kenyan highlands where her entrepreneur parents taught her the virtues of fortitude, ambition and passion to facilitate a seamless plunge into adulthood that is laden with uncertainties.

The 26-year-old diploma holder has for the last three years earned a living through sales and marketing but is determined to chart a new career path once she acquires a degree in finance.

Miriti was among hundreds of Kenyan youth who turned up for the jobs recruitment fair organized on Tuesday by the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi  in partnership with Kenya-China Economic and Trade Association (KCETA) and the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

The vivacious marketer told journalists that attending the job fair was a milestone since it enabled her to interact at length with Chinese enterprises based in Kenya and learn about their recruitment model for local skilled workforce.

“It is my first time to attend a career fair organized by Chinese companies and I would like to learn more about the attributes they look for while hiring local employees,” said Miriti.

“There are many people out there who are ready to work for Chinese companies whose reputation for transferring skills to locals is quite inspiring,” she added.

Miriti is currently doing sales and marketing for an indigenous food and beverages company but is open to switch careers that are more structured like administration and finance.

“So far, I have learnt about the thrills and challenges inherent in the marketing profession and would like to transit to formal careers once I am through with my undergraduate degree in finance,” Miriti told journalists.

The third edition of job recruitment fair organized by the Confucius institute attracted skilled and talented youngsters who recently graduated from institutions of higher learning.

Joel Njogu, a 22-year-old ICT major at Nairobi’s Zetech University that has a working relationship with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, said he was convinced that working for a Chinese firm would reward him enormously in terms of income and career growth.

“My friends informed me about this jobs recruitment fair and later learnt about it on our campus social media platforms. I feel honored to engage executives from Chinese companies and I believe they value local talent,” said Njogu.

His course instructor who works for Huawei on part-time basis has been encouraging the ambitious youngster to consider attachment in a Chinese firm where he can hone skills in ICT.

More than 20 Chinese and Kenyan firms participated in the 2018 job recruitment fair held at the courtyard of the University of Nairobi to promote interaction among recent graduates and potential employers.

Wang Shuwen, a representative of KCETA, said that career fairs have become a critical platform for fostering interaction between Chinese enterprises and local youth searching for gainful employment and an opportunity to upgrade skills.

“The fair is an important step to promote employment of Kenyan graduate students,” said Wang, adding that job creation will cement Kenya-China friendship while promoting economic growth and stability.

Isaac Mbeche, deputy vice-chancellor in charge of administration and finance at the university, hailed Chinese companies for their contribution to job creation and skills development in Kenya.

The elegantly decorated exhibition stands belonging to Chinese firms captured the attention of Kenyan college graduates keen to secure employment and become self-reliant.

Julia Wambui, a 21-year-old business administration and information technology major at a private university, said the jobs fair was an inspiration to local youth in their quest to cement ties with Chinese enterprises that have established a large footprint in Kenya.

“A good number of my friends who work for Chinese companies have confided to me that they are contented and have wide latitude to enable them to climb up the career ladder,” said Wambui.

“I believe working for a Chinese firm has many benefits least of all a stable income, training opportunities and exposure,” she added.

Duncan Miranga, a 30-year-old post graduate student in project management, said that he was keen to work for Chinese companies engaged in the implementation of mega infrastructure projects in Kenya.

“I’m aware that Chinese firms prefer hiring people with multiple skills and that is one area I have been working on to boost my employment chances,” said Miranga.

“I would like to work in the construction sector where Chinese companies are strong,” Miranga added.


NAIROBI, Dec. 18, 2018 (Xinhua) -- College graduates visit the stand of Prudential Life Assurance at jobs recruitment fair for Kenyan students in Nairobi, Kenya, on Dec. 18, 2018. More than 20 Chinese and Kenyan companies on Tuesday held a day-long fair to showcase employment opportunities for local youth who have completed post-secondary education. XINHUA PHOTO: ZHANG YU


Algeria, ROK ink 5 deals to boost cooperation

ALGIERS, (Xinhua) -- Algeria an the Republic of Korea on Monday signed five memorandums of understanding covering various fields, as part of the visit of ROK Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon to the North African nation, APS news agency reported.

The signed agreements concern the domains of environment protection, the modernization of customs, investment cooperation and renewable energies.

These agreements were signed in the presence of Lee and his Algerian counterpart Ahmed Ouyahia during the fifth bilateral Business Forum.

Earlier in the day, an association pact was signed between the ROK auto giant Hyundai and the Algerian company of Global Group over the establishment of a truck and bus plant in Batna Province, 425km southeast of the capital Algiers.

ALGIERS, (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Lee Nak-yeon (1st L, Front) is greeted by his Algerian counterpart Ahmed Ouyahia (2nd L, Front) upon his arrival in Algiers, Algeria, on Dec. 16, 2018. Lee Nak-yeon on Sunday arrived in Algeria for an official three-day visit, APS News Agency reported.  XINHUA PHOTO


Young population in Botswana enthusiastic
about learning Chinese for dream jobs 

GABORONE, (Xinhua) -- A burst of enthusiasm about learning the Chinese language is seen among young population in Botswana as a way to gain a competitive advantage in the job market.

In Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city, some students were awarded with their certificates for completing the first level of the Chinese language and culture study at the branch campus of the Confucius Institute at the University of Botswana, and many believed that learning the Chinese language would increase their chances of getting a job in the future.

Botswana’s unemployment rate is estimated at 20 percent, and its population of working age takes up 60 percent of the estimated 2.1 million population. Job opportunities are dwindling fast, many said.

Kemo Padipadi, 31, who just passed her Level 1 exam, is jobless and ekes out a living through buying clothing items and hair extensions from China online for reselling.

“My wish is to visit China regularly and purchase straight from the manufacturers,” she said with a wide smile gazing at her certificate, noting that it is going to be “easy to do business with the manufactures because I will be now knowing their language.”

Besides business interests, Padipadi said Chinese is “an interesting language to learn.” She hopes to teach others or translate for people when she finishes her studies.

The Chinese language study at the university is divided into six levels. Students who finish all of them will be able to read Chinese and speak the language fluently, said Feng Bing, Padipadi’s teacher.

Feng had been teaching the Chinese language since January at the Confucius Institute in the capital city Gaborone before she was transferred in September to the newly-opened branch campus in Francistown.

“We are barely four months old in Francistown. However, we have since enrolled close to 150 students,” said Feng.

Most students are learning fast than Feng expected. She said they are learning “with enthusiasm,” and all her students have pretty good pronunciation of Chinese words and are able to construct sentences in Chinese, reaching level one in the language study.

Feng’s words were confirmed by Faith Tshabo, a student who said “Ni Hao” (hello) to a Xinhua reporter after receiving the certificate. Tshabo, with a degree in journalism, wants to be a translator when finishing her studies.

Kushata Butale, who has studied in China for three years, said she fell in love with the Chinese language and culture almost a decade ago. She is the only student at Level 5, speaking fluent Chinese.

Butale hopes to open her own consulting office to help local young people to study in China, assisting them in visa application and relative procedure.

She wears a T-shirt inscribed with the word “Ni Hao” in big Chinese characters.

“It helps me to market myself, and also shows how proud I am that I know Chinese. This makes me feel great,” she said. 


Ghana trounce Togo in Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier

ACCRA, (Xinhua) -- Ghana’s Olympic football team the “Black Meteors” defeated Togo 5-1 on Tuesday in the first-leg their Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier played at the Baba Yara sports stadium in Kumasi, Ghana. 

Spain-based striker Kwabena Owusu nabbed a hat-trick and Osman Bukari and Yakubu Nassam Ibrahim scored to seal victory for Ghana’s U-23 side. The team is fighting to make its first appearance in the Olympic football competition since Athens in 2004.

Togo will host the second-leg in the national capital Lome on Saturday, Dec. 22. The winner of the two-legged encounter will play Gabon in the second stage of the qualifiers which serves as a route to the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations scheduled to take place in Egypt from Nov. 8 to 22, 2019.


Kenya’s Zakayo looks ahead to World Cross Country C’ships

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Edward Zakayo, the world junior 5,000m champion, said the country cannot afford to rest on its laurels with Uganda and Ethiopia performing well ahead of the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Zakayo said his team must improve their game if they are to challenge for the overall title when the world converges in Denmark in March for the World Cross Country Championships.

“It is evident Kenyan athletes have taken their foot off [the gas] in the cross country preparations. Our performance on the global circuit has been wanting and it will be hard to expect a turnaround in fortunes in Denmark”, said Zakayo. “It is time to wake up and go for hard training and hope to peak at the right time in March.”

Uganda also have Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei back in top form after recovering from injury and he will aim to launch his season in Aarhus.

Kenya to register foreign coaches in anti-doping reform

NAIROBI, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has warned foreign coaches and agents that they will lose their athletes if they fail to register with the national athletics body in January 2019.

Jack Tuwei, president of Athletics Kenya (AK), said the exercise is part of the federation’s attempts to protect athletes from exploitation by unscrupulous agents, who he blamed for the rise in doping cases in the country.

“The registration of all foreign coaches is expected to commence in January. All foreign coaches residing and coaching in Kenya must prepare and present their permits in person to Athletics Kenya offices on Jan. 9, 2019 without fail,” Tuwei said on Tuesday in Nairobi.

This process, he said, will enable the federation to have a register of all coaches approved and licensed to train Kenyan athletes. “Failure to present oneself for this important exercise will force the federation to work with other government agencies to have disciplinary action taken against them. Let every foreign coach take this very seriously with an aim to comply,” Tuwei warned.

Kenya has had over 50 cases of positive anti-doping tests. The majority of the cases have confessed that they were helped by their coaches.

“The registration of athletes is an ongoing process and is expected to continue until all athletes are covered. No clearance is done for any athlete before being registered in the federation and allocated an athlete registration number,” said Tuwei.


Kenya’s sports dispute tribunal gains ground

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The head of Kenya’s Sports Dispute Tribunal said on Sunday that more sportspeople are seeking redress at the court which was established in 2013 following an Act of Parliament.

John Ohaga, who chairs the panel, told Xinhua that competition in sports is settled on the field, but there are some legal disputes that have to be settled in a different forum. “Everyone looks forward to winning which makes competition very stiff, and therefore disputes are bound to arise,” Ohaga said.

The barrister, who is also a former rugby international, said one of the things he discovered after he joined the tribunal was that sportspeople brought their disputes before the tribunal despite its relatively limited jurisdiction.

“Sportspeople have relatively short career durations and [disputes] must be resolved as quickly as possible instead of having them drag in court for five to 10 years,” he noted.

Ohaga noted that the tribunal supersedes the conventional court process on matters to do with sports owing to its very distinct mandate. “A court is not supposed to interfere in the decisions of the sports tribunal, because when it opens its doors to litigation, it will set a precedent and open the floodgates that will render the tribunal irrelevant,” he said.

Ohaga added that appealing against its ruling denies the tribunal legitimacy.




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