What Joint Drills With South African, Russian Navies Mean for China 

South Africa is under fire for host­ing joint naval exer­cis­es with Rus­sia dur­ing the one-year anniver­sary of the inva­sion of Ukraine, with crit­ics say­ing it will be a pro­pa­gan­da vic­to­ry for Moscow. But what does the third par­tic­i­pant in the drills, Chi­na, have to gain from the tri­par­tite exer­cis­es tak­ing place this week? Some ana­lysts told…

The Growth of Mobile Money Transfer in Africa

In 2021 the glob­al mobile val­ue stood at 1 tril­lion dol­lars. The African con­ti­nent account­ed for about 70 per­cent of the sta­tis­tics. The adop­tion of mobile mon­ey in Africa con­tin­ues to rise with Glob­al Sys­tem for Mobile Communications(GSMA) fig­ures high­light­ing an increase from 27.5 bil­lion in 2020 to 36.7 bil­lion in 2021. Mobile Mon­ey Enables Growth…

Africa’s Top Companies

  These African com­mu­ni­ty resources — links and pages to elect­ed offi­cials, Africa’s top com­pa­nies, soc­cer clubs, African-led busi­ness­es and orga­ni­za­tions, gro­cery stores, church­es, and more, are designed to give quick, easy access to the ser­vices that the African com­mu­ni­ty needs and desires.  Africa’s Top Com­pa­nies on our list were pulled through online research. This ran­dom list­ing is…

South Africa’s Ramaphosa and US’s Biden to meet amid Russian war — Al Jazeera

Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expect­ed to focus their talks on trade and invest­ment, infra­struc­ture, cli­mate and ener­gy, among oth­er issues.South African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and Unit­ed States Pres­i­dent Joe Biden will meet on Sep­tem­ber 16, the White House has announced.
Thursday’s announce­ment comes as the admin­is­tra­tion looks to draw African nations clos­er to the US at a time when South Africa and many of its neigh­bours have staked out neu­tral ground on Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine.
Last month, US Sec­re­tary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden admin­is­tra­tion sees Africa’s 54 nations as “equal part­ners” in tack­ling glob­al prob­lems, dur­ing a vis­it to South Africa.
But the admin­is­tra­tion has been dis­ap­point­ed that South Africa and much of the con­ti­nent have declined to fol­low the US in con­demn­ing the Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine.
South Africa abstained in a Unit­ed Nations vote to con­demn Russia’s action, and Ramaphosa has avoid­ed any crit­i­cism of Rus­sia and has instead called for a medi­at­ed peace.
Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expect­ed to focus their talks on trade and invest­ment, infra­struc­ture, cli­mate and ener­gy, pub­lic health and South Africa’s lead­ing role on the con­ti­nent, offi­cials said.
“The two Pres­i­dents will reaf­firm the impor­tance of our endur­ing part­ner­ship, and dis­cuss our work togeth­er to address region­al and glob­al chal­lenges,” White House press sec­re­tary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a state­ment announc­ing this month’s meeting.
Biden also plans to host a US-Africa lead­ers’ sum­mit in December.
Dur­ing the Blinken vis­it, for­eign min­is­ter Nale­di Pan­dor main­tained South Africa’s neu­tral­i­ty in the Ukraine war. In a press brief­ing fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Pan­dor accused the US and oth­er West­ern pow­ers of focus­ing on the Ukraine con­flict to the detri­ment of oth­er inter­na­tion­al issues.
“We should be equal­ly con­cerned at what is hap­pen­ing to the peo­ple of Pales­tine, as we are with what is hap­pen­ing to the peo­ple of Ukraine,” she said.
Blinken, for his part, under­scored that Russia’s block­ade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has led to scarci­ties in grain, cook­ing oil and fer­tilis­er — an issue that has had dis­pro­por­tion­ate effects on Africans.
“The US is there for African coun­tries in this unprece­dent­ed cri­sis, because that’s what part­ners do for each oth­er,” Blinken said. “The Unit­ed States will not dic­tate Africa’s choic­es, and nei­ther should any­one else. The right to make these choic­es belongs to Africans, and Africans alone.”
South Africa’s neu­tral posi­tion is large­ly because of the sup­port the Sovi­et Union gave dur­ing the Cold War era to Ramaphosa’s African Nation­al Con­gress in its fight to end apartheid – South Africa’s regime of repres­sion against the Black major­i­ty that end­ed in 1994. South Africa is seen as a leader of sev­er­al African coun­tries that will not side against Russia.
The Biden meet­ing will come at a crit­i­cal time for Ramaphosa, who is fac­ing crit­i­cism from oppo­si­tion par­ties and from with­in his own par­ty for a scan­dal over rev­e­la­tions that $4m was stolen from his cat­tle ranch.
He has been grilled this week by mem­bers of par­lia­ment about whether the for­eign cash had been prop­er­ly reg­is­tered with South Africa’s finan­cial author­i­ties and why he did not imme­di­ate­ly report the theft. The scan­dal has dam­aged Ramaphosa’s rep­u­ta­tion as a leader com­mit­ted to bat­tling his nation’s ram­pant corruption.
Ramaphosa faces sig­nif­i­cant oppo­si­tion in his efforts to be re-elect­ed as the leader of his par­ty at a con­fer­ence in Decem­ber. If he fails to win the par­ty lead­er­ship he will not be able to stand for re-elec­tion as South Africa’s pres­i­dent in 2024.
South Africa’s econ­o­my has been in reces­sion since even before the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and a third of the coun­try is unem­ployed, so Ramaphosa would wel­come any announce­ment of eco­nom­ic sup­port from the US.
Dur­ing Blinken’s vis­it to South Africa last month, he praised South Africa and Ramaphosa for achiev­ing a mul­ti-racial democ­ra­cy after years of white minor­i­ty rule. He also used the vis­it to for­mal­ly launch a new US strat­e­gy towards sub-Saha­ran Africa.

South Africa’s latest surge is a possible preview of the pandemic’s next chapter.

Coro­n­avirus cas­es are surg­ing again in South Africa, and pub­lic health experts are mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion, eager to know what’s dri­ving the spike, what it says about immu­ni­ty from pre­vi­ous infec­tions and what its impli­ca­tions are glob­al­ly. South Africa expe­ri­enced a decline in cas­es after hit­ting an Omi­cron-fueled, pan­dem­ic peak in Decem­ber. But in the…

Widespread population immunity of Covid-19 observed in South Africa before Omicron wave

1. Wide­spread under­ly­ing SARS-CoV­‑2 seropos­i­tiv­i­ty was observed in Gaut­eng province, South Africa, before the omi­cron wave.
2. Epi­demi­o­log­ic data demon­strat­ed a decou­pling of hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and deaths from infec­tions while omi­cron was circulating.
Evi­dence Rat­ing Lev­el: 2 (Good)
Study Run­down: The Omi­cron vari­ant was first iden­ti­fied in Novem­ber 2021 in Gaut­eng province, South Africa, and was des­ig­nat­ed as a vari­ant of con­cern due to its pre­dict­ed high trans­mis­si­bil­i­ty and its poten­tial to evade immu­ni­ty from neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies induced by vac­ci­na­tion or nat­ur­al infec­tion with wild-type virus. The omi­cron vari­ant out­com­pet­ed the delta vari­ant in Gaut­eng and was respon­si­ble for 98.4% of the cas­es sequenced in South Africa in Decem­ber 2021, and a pri­or pop­u­la­tion-wide sero­epi­de­mi­o­log­ic study demon­strate that 19.1% of the pop­u­la­tion was seropos­i­tive for Covid-19. How­ev­er, there is a gap in knowl­edge as to under­stand­ing the sero­preva­lence of Covid-19 before the omi­cron wave. This study found that there was wide­spread under­ly­ing SARS-CoV­‑2 seropos­i­tiv­i­ty in Gaut­eng before the omi­cron-dom­i­nant wave of Covid-19. This study was lim­it­ed by changes in the fre­quen­cy of test­ing over time which lim­it­ed head-to-head com­par­isons of case num­bers across waves, and the fourth omi­cron wave had not ful­ly sub­sided at the time of this analy­sis, which will result in a lag in the report­ing of data such as hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and deaths attrib­ut­able to this wave. Nev­er­the­less, these study’s find­ings are sig­nif­i­cant, as they demon­strate that there was wide­spread seropos­i­tiv­i­ty of Covid-19 in Gaut­eng pri­or to the omi­cron wave and that there was a decou­pling of hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and deaths from infec­tions while omi­cron was circulating.
Click to read the study in NEJM
Rel­e­vant Read­ing: Omi­cron — Decou­pling Infec­tion from Severe Disease
In-Depth [sero­epi­de­mi­o­log­ic sur­vey]: This sero­epi­de­mi­o­log­ic sur­vey was con­duct­ed from Octo­ber to Decem­ber 2021 in Gaut­eng province, South Africa, to deter­mine the sero­preva­lence of SARS-CoV­‑2 IgG, obtain­ing sam­ples from 7010 par­tic­i­pants, of whom 18.8% had received a Covid-19 vac­cine. Patients who live in the Gaut­eng province and were able to pro­vide writ­ten informed con­sent were eli­gi­ble for the study. Patients who resided out­side of the stud­ied province or declined to par­tic­i­pate were exclud­ed from the study. The pri­ma­ry out­come mea­sured was sero­preva­lence mea­sured with dried-blood-spot sam­ples and test­ed for IgG against SARS-CoV­‑2 spike pro­tein and nucle­o­cap­sid pro­tein. Out­comes in the pri­ma­ry analy­sis were assessed via unad­just­ed, uni­vari­able analy­ses for each risk fac­tor with gen­er­al­ized lin­ear mod­els with a log link to esti­mate risk ratios. Based on the analy­sis, the sero­preva­lence of SARS-CoV­‑2 IgG ranged from 56.2% among chil­dren younger than 12 years (95% Con­fi­dence Inter­val [CI], 52.6 to 59.7) to 79.7% among adults old­er than 50 years of age (95% CI, 77.6 to 81.5). 93.1% of vac­ci­nat­ed par­tic­i­pants were seropos­i­tive for SARS-CoV­‑2 while 68.4% of unvac­ci­nat­ed par­tic­i­pants were seropos­i­tive. Epi­demi­o­log­ic data also demon­strat­ed that the inci­dence of Covid-19 infec­tion increased and sub­se­quent­ly decreased more rapid­ly dur­ing the omi­cron wave than it had dur­ing the three pre­vi­ous waves. The inci­dence of infec­tion was decou­pled from the inci­dences of hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, record­ed death, and excess death dur­ing the fourth wave, as com­pared to the pro­por­tions seen in the pre­vi­ous three waves. Over­all, this study demon­strat­ed that there was wide­spread Covid-19 seropos­i­tiv­i­ty in the Gaut­eng province of South Africa before the omi­cron wave, show­ing that there was a decou­pling of hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and deaths from Covid-19 infec­tions while the omi­cron vari­ant was still circulating.
Image: PD
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