- Kenya has waived import duty on maize as food shortages tighten grip on more than 10 million people. The waiver comes as government stock piles are nearing the collapse and traders are battling to get white maize in the world market.
Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said maize imported between 16 January and 16 July will be cleared through customs without payment. The move, he said, is aimed at ending the artificial shortage created by the alleged mismanagement of maize stocks by the board and politicians.
Kenya shook up the state-run National Cereal Board and fired 14 officials amid investigations into corruption in the country's grain industry.The preliminary investigations show that the country may have lost close to a Sh1 billion ($12 .8 million) in irregular maize dealings involving officials at the board and politicians.
A consultancy firm that was hired to study the structure, management and operations of the board and to prescribe any changes revealed gross incompetence in the board.
The minister added that two general managers, in charge of operations and finance and administration, have been sent on terminal leave and their positions will be advertised. The 12 other managers have also either been sent on early retirement, terminal leave, or summary dismissal.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki launched an emergency appeal of US $ 403 million early this month amid an acute food crisis in the country.
Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa's fifth-largest corn producer, only has enough corn to last until February, after poor rainfall and post-election violence in the first two months of 2008.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.