As we wrap up the week, here are the top stories from Africa. A Nigerian student’s attempt to set a new Guinness World Record by washing hands for 58 hours landed them in the hospital.
President Tinubu outlines the priorities for Nigeria’s 2024 budget, focusing on security, job creation, and poverty reduction. Ghana makes headlines by announcing visa-free visits from December 1 to January 15. In Uganda, a remarkable event unfolds as a 70-year-old woman gives birth to twins.
Kenya Airways resumes flights to Somalia after a three-year suspension, fostering regional connectivity. FlyNamibia prepares to launch a new route connecting Windhoek to Victoria Falls, enhancing travel options in Southern Africa.
Check out all the top stories below:
NIGERIAN STUDENT WASHES HANDS FOR 58 HOURS AND LANDS IN HOSPITAL
Subair Enitan, a student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is recovering in the hospital following her extraordinary attempt to set a new record for hand-washing.
Initially aiming to wash her hands for 50 hours, she surpassed her goal by completing an impressive 58 hours non-stop.
In a video shared on Twitter, she was seen lying down in what appeared to be a medical facility, with her hands showing the strain of the prolonged effort.
The Guinness World Records group has not yet commented on Ms. Enitan’s bid, but she told local media on Monday, “I am very fulfilled to have completed the task right in front of my mum, friends, and colleagues who thronged this venue to show love and support my ambition.”
NIGERIA: SECURITY, JOB CREATION, POVERTY REDUCTION TOP PRIORITIES FOR 2024 BUDGET—PRESIDENT TINUBU
President Bola Tinubu recently revealed his priorities for the 2024 budget through the “Budget of Renewed Hope.”
In this plan, he suggests allocating N27.5 trillion to key areas like defense, security, job creation, and economic stability, and optimizing the investment environment to enhance the country’s safety, employment, economic stability, and investment climate.
Tinubu highlighted priorities like supporting people’s growth, reducing poverty, and providing social assistance, with a commitment to enhancing our nation’s safety through improved law enforcement to protect lives, property, and investments.
Giving a breakdown of the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the President said: “Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira. Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.
“The budget deficit is projected at 9.18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 percent of GDP. The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totaling 7.83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds, and 1.05 trillion naira draw down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.”
GHANA ANNOUNCES VISA-FREE VISITS FROM DEC 1 TO JAN 15
In exciting news, Ghana has declared a special time from December 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024, where visitors can come without needing a visa!
This move is part of Ghana’s ‘Beyond The Return’ campaign, which wants Africans in other places to come and discover Ghana.
Currently, Rwanda, Seychelles, The Gambia, and Benin stand as the exclusive African nations providing visa-free entry for all African citizens.
UGANDA: 70-YEAR-OLD WOMAN GIVES BIRTH TO TWINS
In a remarkable occurrence, a 70-year-old Ugandan woman successfully gave birth to twins after undergoing IVF treatment, as reported by the hospital where she underwent the procedure.
Safina Namukwaya, making history as the oldest woman to give birth in Africa, welcomed a baby girl and boy on Wednesday afternoon at the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, with both mother and babies reported to be in good health following a caesarean delivery.
“This story isn’t just about medical success; it’s about the strength and resilience of the human spirit,” the hospital said.
Speaking to the NTV channel, Ms. Namukwaya shared that this marked her second delivery in three years, following the birth of her daughter Sarah in 2020.
KENYA AIRWAYS RESUMES FLIGHTS TO SOMALIA AFTER 3-YEAR SUSPENSION
Kenya Airways has declared the end of a three-year suspension on flights to Mogadishu, Somalia, and intends to resume direct flights from Nairobi to Mogadishu, with the first flight scheduled for 14 February 2024.
The move “aligns with the increasing business and the growing (amount) of air travel between Kenya and Somalia,” Kenya Airways Chief Commercial and Customer Officer Julius Thairu said late on Wednesday.
FLYNAMIBIA TO LAUNCH NEW ROUTE CONNECTING WINDHOEK TO VICTORIA FALLS
Namibian airline FlyNamibia is set to launch a new route in 2024, connecting Windhoek, the country’s capital, to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
The first flight on this fresh route is planned for 4 April 2024.
This new route from FlyNamibia, a franchisee of Airlink, enables travelers to book a single ticket and explore multiple Southern African destinations, connecting Cape Town, central Namibia, Victoria Falls, and the Kruger National Park.
FOSCHINI LAUNCHES A HUGE DISTRIBUTION CENTRE IN JOBURG
In a significant move, The Foschini Group (TFG) initiates the first phase of its 75,000-square-metre Riverfields distribution centre in Midrand, Gauteng, aiming to transform fulfillment costs, operating capacity, and omni-channel capabilities.
“Riverfields will enable TFG to optimise its omni-channel fulfilment, by bringing online distribution and fulfilment in-house, as well as reducing in-store picking, eliminating the need for expensive outsourcing,” said TFG.
The company added, “The target is to process 70% of all e-commerce orders through the new DC, which will significantly reduce the fulfilment costs and improve the profitability of TFG’s online business.”
KENYA BANS KAUNDA SUITS AND OTHER TRADITIONAL AFRICAN CLOTHES IN PARLIAMENT
Kenya’s parliament has recently made a bold move by banning the Kaunda suit, a once-popular African outfit named after Zambia’s former President Kenneth Kaunda.
On Tuesday, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula issued a ruling, declaring that Kaunda suits, alongside traditional African clothing, are no longer allowed.
Wetangula enforced a ban on Kaunda suits and traditional African clothing, introducing specific dress codes for men and women in the parliament, stressing formality, and restricting certain attire options.
“Appropriate dress code is described in rule number nine of the speaker’s rules, and I quote the rule: ‘Members of Parliament, members of the press and guests should not enter the chamber, lounge, dining room, or committee rooms without being properly dressed.
“A proper dress code for men means a coat, a collar, a tie, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks, shoes, or service uniform,” Wetangula said.
“For ladies, business, formal, or smart casual wear applies. Skirts and dresses should be below knee-length and decent. Sleeveless blouses are prohibited’.”
NIGERIA: OLD AND NEW NAIRA NOTES ARE STILL LEGAL TO USE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
The Nigerian Supreme Court, in a ruling on Wednesday, decided that old banknotes (N200, N500, and N1,000 naira) should be indefinitely used in the country as legal tender, extending the acceptance of both old and new naira notes for official trading beyond December 31, 2023.
In March, the court overturned a ban on the use of old notes in the West African country, declaring that these notes should circulate until the end of 2023.
The court asserted that the government had not provided citizens with sufficient time to exchange the old notes, and the new naira notes introduced in November 2022 aimed to address financial fraud, according to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
NIGERIA: TINUBU ASKS SENATE TO APPROVE $8.6B LOAN
Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has urged the Senate to greenlight a $8.6 billion loan, intending to elevate the country’s external debts to $51.8 billion.
The president emphasized that these funds, covering 2022-2024, are designated for essential infrastructure like roads, water facilities, railways, electricity, and healthcare facilities.
The letter, read by Senate President GodsWill Akpabio during Tuesday’s plenary, outlined that the funds would support projects across various sectors, placing specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, employment generation, and financial management reforms.
In the letter, it was stated
“I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects. The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council held on May 15, 2023. The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.”
GHANAIANS WILL SOON BE ABLE TO BUY CARS ON CREDIT
Ghanaians will soon be able to buy cars on credit by presenting their Ghana Cards, as announced by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia during the 57th congregation ceremony of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology over the weekend.
This means that Ghanaian citizens will be able to buy vehicles on credit and pay in installments.
Discussions are currently in progress with local automobile companies to implement this loan scheme.
“The Ghana Card will serve as the cornerstone for a credit system in Ghana, with plans for selected car manufacturers, particularly Solar Taxi, to offer cars on credit to individuals,” Pulse quotes.
Bawumia highlighted that for these transactions, the sole requirement would be the Ghana Card, and he also disclosed plans to introduce a credit scoring system for individuals in 2024.
LAGOS STATE TO CRACKDOWN ILLEGAL REAL ESTATE OPERATORS BY 2024
In a decisive move, the Lagos State Government is set to crack down on illegal real estate practitioners operating within the state by 2024, enforcing strict adherence to regulations established by the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
During a meeting hosted by LASRERA in Lagos, Barakat Odunuga-Bakare, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing, stressed the importance for real estate developers, agents, and stakeholders to register or renew their yearly subscription with LASRERA to operate legally.
Odunuga-Bakare issued a warning against non-compliance, stating, “Next year is not business as usual for those practicing illegally. We will crack down on unregistered practitioners and those failing to renew their certificates.”