Cell phones to Fight HIV/AIDs

Published on 13th February 2007

Mobile phones are being harnessed to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa under a new $10-million scheme announced with the backing of leading companies and the U.S. government. The "Phones-for-Health" project will use software loaded onto a standard Motorola handset to allow care workers in the field to enter critical health information into a central database in real time. It will be transmitted either using a standard GPRS mobile connection or an SMS channel. "The explosive spread of mobile phone networks across the developing world has created a unique opportunity to significantly transform how countries can tackle global health challenges," World Health Organization Assistant Director-General Howard Zucker said. The new scheme builds on the success of a pilot project in Rwanda and will focus initially on the battle against HIV/AIDS in 10 African countries. South Africa's MTN is the first operator partner in the program.

World Bank President Praises China’s Involvement in Africa

World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz has praised China's growing involvement in Africa which has seen Africa receive money, development experience and partnering in tackling difficult problems. But in a veiled reference to China's interest in Sudan's oil resources made in a Washington’s Reporters Round table, he suggested that it was important 'to share lessons from the past,' such as not keeping corrupt governments 'on life support.'

Ghana’s Economy on the Rise

According to the official newsletter of NEPAD, African Peer Review Mechanism, Ghanaians are delighted at the level of economic progress, human rights, security, democracy and good governance. "Ghanaians are of the opinion that the security system is offering them protection against torture (48 per cent), arbitrary detection (59 per cent), violent crime (armed robbery 59 per cent), ethnic conflict (60 per cent) and domestic violence (53 per cent)". On economic governance and management, the report says that "The economy continues to experience deepening macro economic stability and resilience, with rising GDP growth, diminishing inflationary expectations, a stable currency and a build-up of secondary reserves.” The country as the number one 'easiest place' to do business in West Africa and the 9th in Africa.

Africa Asia Business Forum Opens

The fourth Africa-Asia Business Forum opened in Dar es Salaam where representatives from some 300 companies gathered to seek business opportunities through inter- continental cooperation. The three-day forum, orchestrated by the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), provided a face-to-face round of negotiations for business people involved in agriculture and food processing, textiles, pharmaceutical and health products, furniture, machinery, construction, transportation, tourism, environment, energy and mining. The symposium seeks to provide opportunities for expert services on small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Liberia’s Recovery and Growth

The Liberia Partners’ Forum is taking place in Washington DC. The high level meeting takes a close look at Liberia’s prospects for recovery and growth, its progress under a year-old democratically elected government, and its critical role in maintaining peace in the West Africa region. The Forum is co-hosted by the World Bank, United Nations, International Monetary Fund, United States Government, African Development Bank and European Commission.

 France Africa Summit

Leaders from across the continent of Africa will be assembling in Côte d’Azur’s congress capital of Cannes for the 24th France-Africa Summit set for 13-16th February. Forty five heads of state and 54 delegations are expected, including German Chancellor and Angela Merkel, every two years, is a forum for political dialogues between France and African countries aimed at creating awareness on critical issues affecting the development of the continent.

 A Boost to the Agriculture Sector 

The German government has committed 2.8 billion euros (Ksh. 25.4 billion) to projects aimed at promoting sustainable agricultural practices and biodiversity preservation in two East African Countries.  Under two agreements signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Kenya and Tanzania will benefit directly from the funds aimed at supporting food security, sustainable agriculture and natural resource management projects. 

IREN Updates 

The Inter Region Economic Network, Butere Development Caucus in conjunction with Chadwick Library in Butere trained over 100 youth on entrepreneurial skills on Feb 12, 2007 in a conference whose theme was Revitalizing the Potential of Western Kenya. In the meeting whose Chief Guest was Shabanji Opuka, James Shikwati (Director, IREN) facilitated a brainstorming session on revitalizing the potential of Western Kenya and presented  The 7 Principles of Sound Public Policy. Also present were political and business leaders.

Meanwhile, IREN’s Occasional paper 1 entitled Africans See Poverty: Westerners See Resources and Wealth with a foreword by Chaacha Mwita (Group Managing Editor, The Standard Group) is now available on http://www.irenkenya.com/modules/articles/index.php?article_title_id=26. To order a copy email [email protected]


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