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UK’s Minister for Africa Vicky Ford, who is on a three-country visit to East Africa, on Monday announced a $22 million (£17 million) support package for Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.

The funding will aid the East African nations in combating drought and floods that have in the past year rocked East Africa.

“The drought facing communities in East Africa is a humanitarian emergency. The UK’s commitment to supporting our partners is unwavering, and this £17m funding package will provide vital assistance to almost a million people across the region,” Ford said.

Ford also emphasized that the UK is promoting free, fair, and honest trade across Africa.

Ford was speaking while in Kenya’s Mombasa Port. She said that she witnessed the UK is supporting infrastructure and unlocking opportunities for firms based in the UK, including through the Economic Partnership Agreement signed with Kenya last year.

The UK aid package will provide vital assistance to almost a million people in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia who are facing the worst drought in decades, and in South Sudan who are suffering widespread flooding for a third consecutive year.

Ford blamed the natural calamities in East Africa on extreme weather events associated with climate change, events that have ruined harvests that support millions of livelihoods.

“For countries in East Africa, climate change is not a future problem – it is driving a humanitarian emergency right now. Catastrophic droughts and floods, paired with ongoing conflicts and poor governance in Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia, are creating a perfect storm in East Africa which risks pushing hundreds of thousands of people into famine”.

In Somalia, approximately half of the population require life-saving aid due to the ongoing drought, a similar drought on the same scale in 2011 that led to 260,000 deaths in the Horn of Africa country.

In Kenya, the number of people in dire need of food has risen to almost 3 million.

More than 6.4 million people are estimated to require food assistance this year in drought-affected regions of Ethiopia.

In South Sudan, extreme flooding paired with ongoing violence has affected 835,000 people, including by pushing more than 350,000 people from their homes.​​​​​​​ - Andrew Wasike, Anadolu Agency

 

 

Bento, a pan-African digital payroll and HR Management (HRM) platform, has launched into three new markets: Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda.

The market has over 400 million people in the labour force.

Bento is bringing African payroll and HRM into the digital age and ensuring that the various market participants are communicating and leveraging data to help unlock credit solutions.

Founded in Nigeria in 2019, Bento addresses challenges African businesses face by automating salary payments, tax, pensions and other remittances.

Through its cloud-based platform, Bento empowers African businesses and gives them peace of mind by streamlining their processes with a single click.

For employees, the platform offers access to third-party services such as credit solutions – which include the ability to pay school fees and rent monthly rather than yearly – unemployment insurance, savings, investments and much more, all at no cost to employers.

Having obtained licences in each market, Bento is building local teams in Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda and will adapt its products for local cultural and financial nuances.

In Nigeria, Bento serves over 900 businesses, including some of the largest healthcare and financial services companies such as Hygeia and Tangerine Africa, as well as many Y Combinator-backed firms, including Paystack, Kobo360, Branch, Helium Health, and LORI Systems.

The company is targeting Egypt, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola and Senegal by the end of the year.

“Seeing so many companies using analogue methods to manage their workforce is simultaneously frustrating and exciting for us.

“Employers don’t have access to locally customised, world-class payroll and HRM tools, and employees can’t easily access third-party services to help make life easier,” said Ebun Okubanjo, Bento co-founder/CEO.

She added: “When you think about it, your salary powers your life, so we’re building the operating system that will have a profound impact on the African continent for generations to come.”

While solving the missing piece of the B2B payroll and HRM puzzle, Bento is also enabling employees to access credit solutions and other third party products and services. Around 95 per cent of African consumers have never had access to formal credit and rely on informal lenders and savings schemes. To further illustrate this point, in Africa on average 4.5% of people have access to a credit card compared with 65 per cent in the US. Bento’s proprietary credit engine, built in partnership with Tarya, Israel’s largest P2P lending firm, ensures the company can offer significantly better rates than traditional retail lenders and disburse within minutes rather than days.

“We’re starting with payroll and HRM, but moving rapidly towards Salary 2.0, where we redefine the intersection of work and life and transform the way people earn, spend and borrow on the continent,” added Chidozie David Okonkwo, Co-Founder and COO at Bento. “Having successfully established product-market fit in Nigeria, one of the most difficult markets to penetrate in Africa, we’re excited to roll out across the continent and solve the real problems we know millions of employers and employees face on a daily basis.”

Bento can be accessed by employers through its secure, cloud-based web platform and through its mobile app for employees, available on the iOS App Store and Google Play. - The Nation

Evidence seized from the two drug suspects such as two smartphones, packets of cocaine and drug money is displayed at the Judiciary Police (PJ) headquarters yesterday. Photo courtesy of TDM

 

An Indonesian domestic helper and a Tanzanian jobless man were arrested on Wednesday in the Patane district for selling and taking drugs, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Leng Kam Lon said at a special press conference yesterday.

In the operation, the police seized 1.85 grammes of cocaine with an estimated market value of 6,500 patacas and nearly 20,000 patacas of suspected drug money, Leng said

The 42-year-old female surnamed Yanti is a non-resident worker, while the 33-year-old Tanzanian man surnamed Lugembe holds a temporary stay permit.

According to Leng, the Judiciary Police were tipped off recently that a South Asian woman was selling drugs in the Patane district. PJ officers took action on Wednesday and found the woman walking around at night in Avenida do Almirante Lacerda. The officers intercepted Yanti and found six packets of cocaine on her. The officers later seized two more packets of cocaine as well as nearly 20,000 patacas in suspected drug money at Yanti’s home in the neighbourhood. When the police went to Yanti’s home, Lugembe was there.

Leng said that Yanti admitted to selling drugs while Lugembe refused to cooperate with the police. The woman told the police that Lugembe provided cocaine for her to sell and she received 100 patacas for each deal. The duo tested positive for drugs and, according to Leng, the Judiciary Police believe that they had been selling drugs to patrons at night entertainment venues in Avenida do Almirante Lacerda and Rua de João de Araújo neighbourhood for about a month.

The duo were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) yesterday, facing charges of selling and taking drugs, according to Leng. - Camy Tam, THE MACAU POST DAILY

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