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Queen Latifah was honored for her illustrious hip-hop and acting career at the 2021 BET Awards on Sunday, June 27. 

 

Latifah received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday night’s awards show during the televised event, hosted by Taraji P. Henson, where she shared an inspirational message in her acceptance speech. 

The 51-year-old took the stage with her father, Lancelot Owens, Sr., and a photo of her late mother, Rita Owens. 

“I’m so extremely moved, I don’t even know what to say,” Latifah said, getting emotional. “Let me just say that I want to thank God, because God designed this whole thing to be this way. There is no way that I could have had the parents that I was born to, my father, my mother, who instilled so much in me. My family, I love you. My siblings, my best friends who ride or die with me. Whether my face is on the dirt or flying in the sky, they know me and they are there for me.”

 

 

“I want to thank BET for creating an outlet for beautiful Blackness to thrive, to shine. When we couldn’t get played on the radio and other places, we couldn’t get our videos played in other places, there was BET, that allowed us to be in our fullness and to shine to this night right now, right here. Bless everybody that graced the stage tonight and everyone in the audience for all your support,” she continued. “Be Black. Black is beautiful.” 

Latifah continued, sharing that she’s always celebrated women because she was raised by a strong Black woman and a father who loves women. “We can’t live without each other. I wanted to celebrate us because I know together, we stand stronger,” she shared. “So respect to all the females on the stage tonight.”

 The performer thanked her team, including her longtime business partner Shakim Compere, before sharing a message to her fans. 

“I thank you so much, all of you, the fans, for supporting every crazy thing I’ve done through the years,” she said. “Peace and happy Pride!” 

Latifah’s speech came after a tribute performance featuring Rapsody and Lil’ Kim. Rapsody first performed Latifah’s “Ladies First,” before Kim and MC Lyte belted out “U.N.I.T.Y.” 

The introduction was accompanied by a short video package that highlighted Latifah’s accomplishments across music, movies, and TV with stars like Jada Pinkett Smith, Megan Thee Stallion, and more commenting on her incredible legacy. By PH News of Africa

 Two Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF) soldiers in Bujumbura, March 19, 2014. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross

 

At least 15 people were burnt alive or shot dead in a horrific attack in central Burundi after armed men blocked off a road and started killing travelers, security sources said Sunday.

The ambush on Saturday night took place in Muramvya province, mirroring similar attacks staged here last year.

Armed men barricaded a road with boulders and sprayed bullets on vehicles. They also poured petrol and set alight two buses, burning the passengers alive in what one witness said were “scenes of horror.”

At least 13 people were torched alive and between two and five shot dead, witnesses and a local official said. A local official said 15 others were wounded, of whom six had serious injuries.

A security source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the toll was 17 as the “heavily-armed” attackers shot dead two others while fleeing. The source said at least four people had been arrested.

The interior ministry confirmed the 8:00 pm attack near the Munanira hill but did not provide a toll.

In early May, a similar ambush in the same area claimed at least 12 lives.

Civil society groups in exile blame such attacks on ethnic rivalry and infighting in the former Hutu rebel group Cndd-FDD, which is now in power. - AFP/The Defense Post

TREASURY BUILDING: The Treasury Building. Senate, National Assembly feud over funds for counties. Image: FILE
 
In Summary
  • The country's reserves which hit a high of $9.42 billion or 5.8 months of import cover in July last year have been on a downward trend
  • Two weeks ago, the country raised $1 billion (108 billion) debt in a new Eurobond that was oversubscribed by five fold.

Kenya's forex reserves rose to the highest level since September last year after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) disbursed the second part of $2.34 billion loan last week. 

The international lender approved the disbursement of a further Sh43.8 billion after first reviews of IMF’s arrangements with Kenya under the extended fund facility (EFF) and the extended credit facility (ECF). 

The new flows take Kenya’s total disbursements from the program to Sh77 billion ($714.5 million). 

Proceeds from the programme are expected to be channeled to budgetary support for the remnant of the 2020-21 fiscal year which ends on June 30 and the subsequent 2021/22 financial year.

The Weekly bulletin from by the Central Bank of Kenya shows that the country's forex base rose to $8.11 billion (Sh866.7 billion) on Friday compared to $7.4 billion (791.8 billion) last week. 

The country's reserves which hit a high of $9.42 billion or 5.8 months of import cover in July last year have been on a downward trend, threatening to drop below the East Africa Community’s convergence criteria of 4.5 months of import cover. 

''The usable foreign exchange reserves remained adequate at $8,114 million (4.96 months of import cover) as at June 24. This meets the CBK’s statutory requirement to endeavour to maintain at least 4 months of import cover, and the EAC region’s convergence criteria of 4.5 months of import cover,'' CBK said. 

Kenya has requested IMF to modify the performance criteria on international reserves; indicative targets on tax collection  and the structural benchmark on a common public sector payroll.

Apart from IMF's loan, Kenya's forex reserves might have been boosted by proceeds from the country's fourth Eurobond and high diaspora remittances. 

Two weeks ago, the country raised $1 billion (108 billion) debt in a new Eurobond that was oversubscribed by five fold.

The 12- year facility priced at 6.3 per cent was meant to help the country settle its due loans. 

Yields on the country's new Eurobonds declined by an average of 0.26 basis points in the week ended Friday June 25, easing repayment obligation for Kenya.  

According to CBK, Kenya’s 12-year Eurobond issued on June 17, 2021 traded well in the secondary market with a yield of 6.225 per cent at close of trading on June 24 compared to the issue interest of 6.3 per cent. 

''The impact of the new issue caused improvement along the rest of the Kenya Eurobond yield curve reflecting pricing success achieved at the primary issuance,''CBK said. 

The yield on the 10-year Eurobond for Ghana rose marginally while that of Angola declined. 

Improving diaspora remittances evidenced by a 43.8 per cent year-on-year increase to $299.3 million in April 2021, from $208.2 million recorded over the same period in 2020, is another key factor strengthening Kenya's forex stock. 

CBK data shows that remittance inflows increased to $315.8 million in May 2021, compared to $258.2 million in May 2020, representing a 22.3 per cent increase , further boosting the country's forex reserves.

The multiple factors boosting forex reserves are expected to continue hold the shilling against other international currencies after a steep fall witnessed since April last year on economic effects of Covid-19. 

The CBK data shows the Kenya Shilling remained stable against major international and regional currencies during the week ending June 24.

It exchanged at 107.77 per US dollar on June 24, compared to 107.80 per US dollar on June 17. 

The strengthening of the shilling is expected to help ease importation costs, softening the cost of living as traders cut prices of basic commodities. 

Kenya recorded a slight increase in May inflation rate following a rise in food and transport cost. May Inflation increased from 5.76 per cent in April to 5.87 per cent in May 2021.

The country's data agency attributed  the modest increase to higher costs of transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 1.26 per cent month on month and 7.36 per cent year on year. By Victor Amadala, The Star

Ministers of Health from four African countries (Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Cabo Verde), representatives from international organizations, patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry reiterated today at a high-level roundtable event the urgency of establishing a regulatory authority across Africa, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current fragmented regulatory systems across the continent are making it difficult to mount an appropriate response.

Ministers of Health and roundtable participants outlined the first areas of work for the AMA and agreed that it has the unique opportunity to become one of the most efficient and modern regulatory systems in the world. Once established, it will perform a vital task in overseeing rapid and effective market authorisation of safe, quality, effective and accessible vaccines, medicines, and health devices to control and treat disease across Africa to robust regulatory standards.

Crucially, it will foster reliance and regulatory harmonization across the continent. In practice, this means that national regulatory authorities will be able to build on the work done by counterparts in other countries, significantly cutting down the time it takes for medicines, vaccines or diagnostics to reach the market. For many countries, the AMA also holds the promise of driving industrial and economic growth, through encouraging the development of local pharmaceutical industry and the establishment of centres of excellence for research across the continent.

But while commitment to the AMA mission and vision is strong, it has not translated into concrete actions. A new cross-stakeholder alliance announced at the roundtable, the African Medicines Agency Treaty Alliance (AMATA), will seek to push for rapid ratification of the Treaty, as well as meaningful engagement with patients, industry and other relevant parties once the Agency becomes operational.

Michel Sidibé, Special Envoy of the African Union, said: “The delay in establishing the African Medicines Agency is hindering much-needed improvement of the regulation of medicines, medical products and technologies across the continent. I am heartened to see the launch of the African Medicines Agency Treaty Alliance, today and urge ministers of health who have not yet done so, to set the process in motion for the rapid ratification of the AMA”.

Kawaldip Sehmi, CEO of IAPO, said: “The launch of the African Medicines Agency Treaty Alliance represents a key milestone in our campaign for patients’ interest in Africa. Respecting the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’, we are stressing that the AMA needs to establish a particular framework and structure to engage with African patients and consumers like their European or American counterparts already do”.

Karim Bendhaou, chair of the IFPMA Africa engagement committee echoed the new alliance’s goals: “The African Medicines Agency will contribute to regulatory harmonization across Africa to enable collaboration, work-sharing and the use of reliance procedures, which will mean a win-win for national regulators, patients and industry. We hope we’re reaching a tipping point on establishing the AMA and hope to see significant progress in the ratification process by the end of the year”.

Philippe Lamoureux, Director general of Leem, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative and look forward to engaging with the AMA Treaty Alliance to achieve its goals for better patient access to medicines in Africa”. 

ANA NEWS WIRE 

  • Architectural Design of Machakos County Formula 1 track proposal
    FILE
 
  • Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua has promised to build a Formula 1 track by June 2022, fulfilling the campaign pledge he made before being elected into office.

    Governor Mutua through his social media page on Saturday, June 26, stated that apart from finishing the Formula 1 track, he would also lobby to have the next Safari Rally held in his county.

    Speaking exclusively to Kenyans.co.ke, Governor Mutua confirmed that the project is on course and will be located in the new Machakos People’s Park. The track will be approximately 12-14 kilometres long.

    Mutua, who announced his Presidential bid, stated that Machakos County Government under the County Road Project will finance the project. 

    f
    Governor Alfred Mutua watching the safari rally races in Naivasha on Friday 25 2021
    FILE

    “At the moment there are no sponsors on board but they will join after the projects start to take shape,” Mutua stated.

    The track will be used by regular drivers as a normal road to control traffic. Justifying the reason to use the Formula 1 track as a road, Mutua claimed that the country is not economically stable enough to only use it for races. 

    Mutua pointed fingers at the former Senator Johnstone Muthama whom he accused of sabotaging the project.

    The second term governor assured that the case challenging the project was thrown out which means the county government is free to carry on with its execution.

    Mutua further stated that the county government in consultation with the National government is planning to build a modern airport in Machakos. The runway of the airport will be used for another racing event in addition to the one he will build in the Machakos People’s Park.

    The Maendeleo Chap Chap Party leader added that if the county builds a racing track, it will be much easier for Kenyans, especially Nairobians to attend events such as Safari Rally as the distance will allow most people to commute, unlike Naivasha which has forced most rally lovers to stay in hotels and tents.

    f
    Governor Alfred Mutua (right) at a past event
    FILE  Kenyans.co.ke

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