Manage episode 342125518 series 2484421
Topic: Coronavirus Is Battering Africa’s Growing Middle Class
As the coronavirus surges in many countries in Africa, it is threatening to push as many as 58 million people in the region into extreme poverty, experts at the World Bank say. But beyond the devastating consequences for the continent’s most vulnerable people, the pandemic is also whittling away at one of Africa’s signature achievements: the growth of its middle class.
For the last decade, Africa’s middle class has been pivotal to the educational, political and economic development across the continent. New business owners and entrepreneurs have created jobs that, in turn, gave others a leg up as well.
Educated, tech-savvy families and young people with money to spare have fed the demand for consumer goods, called for democratic reforms, expanded the talent pool at all levels of society, and pushed for high-quality schools and health care.
About 170 million out of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are now classified as middle class. But about 8 million of them could be thrust into poverty because of the coronavirus and its economic fallout, according to World Data Lab, a research organization.
It’s a setback that may be felt for years to come.
“The tragedy is that because Africa is not growing fast, this collapse of the middle class could take several years to recover,” said Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the co-founder of the World Data Lab.
Africa’s middle class tripled over the past 30 years, by some estimates, spurred by job opportunities in sectors like technology, tourism and manufacturing.
But now that the region is facing its first recession in 25 years, millions of educated people living in urban centers could fall victim to the extreme income inequality that has defined Africa for decades.
Kharas defined the middle class in Africa as households that spend anywhere between $11 and $110 per capita per day.
The rising middle class has been “critical for the future prospects of African economies as they stimulate long-term growth, social progress, an inclusive and prosperous society and effective and accountable governance,” said Landry Signé, author of “Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential.” The coronavirus “will drastically delay wages and hold back the dreams of Africa’s middle class,” he said.
What distinguishes the middle class from the poor, said Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered bank, is the ability to earn a steady income. But because of the pandemic, many more people across Africa are at risk of being “knocked back into poverty” because of lack of jobs, unemployment benefits or any social safety net, she said.
The pandemic is also posing a threat to nascent industries supported by governments in Africa in recent years to boost the number of middle-income earners.
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/4712407
Topic: South Africa is considering letting women have multiple husbands
South Africa’s government is considering allowing women to have multiple husbands, a possibility that has thrown the country’s conservatives into uproar.
The proposal to allow polyandry was included in a green paper from South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which hopes to make marriage more inclusive.
South Africa has one of the world’s most liberal constitutions, embracing same-sex marriages for all and polygamy for men.
Businessman and TV personality Musa Mseleku - who has four wives - is among those opposed to polyandry.
’’This will destroy African culture.’’ Mseleku said. ’’The woman cannot now take the role of the man. It’s unheard of.’’
The idea that polyandry is not African was also prevalent among religious leaders, the Department of Home Affairs found.
Topic: S.African miners rescued, none still trapped 11 名南非礦工獲救，已無人受困
Eleven men who became trapped in an illegal gold mine in South Africa were rescued on Sunday, but an unknown number remained underground fearing arrest.
The men, who were all uninjured, were immediately handed over to police. Rescue officials said many others were now able to leave the mine but had refused to come out while officials were present.
"We managed to retrieve 11 young men. We believe they are South Africans, they have been treated and handed over to the police," municipal emergency and rescue services official Rogger Mamaila told AFP.
Police spokesman Mack Mngomezulu told AFP a number of men remained in the abandoned mine east of Johannesburg and were refusing to come out.
The number of people still down there remains unclear -- around 30 miners who were trapped at a shallow level had earlier told rescuers from a private operator ER24 that there were 200 others stuck at a level underneath them.
That was never confirmed, however, with local municipal officials insisting there were only around 30 people trapped.
Mamaila declared the rescue operation closed around two hours after the 11 were brought to the surface.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1458633; http://iservice.ltn.com.tw/Service/english/english.php?engno=781592&day=2014-05-24
Topic: South Africa launches the world’s biggest hydrogen-fueled truck
Mining giant Anglo American on Friday unveiled the world’s largest hydrogen-powered truck, a monster weighing in at 220 tonnes, at a platinum mine in northern South Africa.
Billed as the first of a fleet that will replace the firm’s diesel-powered trucks, the vehicle uses two-megawatt hydrogen fuel cells to haul up to 290 tonnes of ore.
"What we are launching is not merely an impressive piece of machinery, it is the genesis of an entire ecosystem powered by hydrogen," President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
Comparable in size to a small house, the behemoth was shown off at Mogalakwena mine, about 250 kilometres from Johannesburg.
"This is a gigantic leap for South Africa’s hydrogen future economy," Ramaphosa declared.
Topic: 潛逃中的獅子被關進南非大牢 Lion on the lam locked-up in South African jail
A young lion captured after being on the run for almost a month spent the night in a South African police cell before being moved back to its national park home.
The juvenile male apparently escaped from the Karoo National Park through a hole in a perimeter fence. He was eventually tracked and darted on Wednesday before being moved by helicopter to the Sutherland police station where he ended up alone in a holding cell.
"I am sure this is the first time in the world that a lion is put in jail," said police station commander Marius Malan.
Curious residents of the village of Sutherland thronged outside the police station to catch a glimpse of the locked-up lion.
"He is safe and healthy. We didn’t give him breakfast because he had enough to eat along the road," Malan told Reuters.
馬蘭告訴路透：「牠安全又健康。我們沒給牠早餐，因為牠一路上已經有足夠的東西可吃。」Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1518702 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1274469?fbclid=IwAR0GOlDHNx4EL-iF8U3qURZl9hlX0ub6M5HGc7BDwb3IJcdbf0xDlnPNDeI
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