BusinessDay

News Roundup: Africa’s healthy life expectancy grows by 22 percent, Amazon Prime Video launches local service in Nigeria…

Africa’s healthy life expectancy grows by 22 percent

Life expectancy on the continent has increased to 56 years, compared with 46 at the turn of the century, data from the UN agency’s report- Tracking Universal Health Coverage in the WHO African Region 2022, shows. While it is still well below the global average of 64, over the same period, global healthy life expectancy increased by only five years. According to Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, the continent’s health ministries were credited for their drive to improve health and wellbeing among populations. Similarly, the continent has benefited from better access to essential health services – up from 24 percent in 2000 to 46 percent in 2019 – as well as gains in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Considerable progress against infectious diseases has also contributed to longer life expectancy, WHO said, pointing to the rapid scale-up of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria control measures from 2005.

No vaccination in view as Monkeypox’ deaths toll rise

While the highest number of deaths due to monkeypox have been registered on the African continent, Africa remains the only part of the world with no doses of the vaccine, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organisation declared monkeypox a new global health emergency after 20,000 cases were reported in 77 countries. Some 75 people have died in the 11 African countries where the disease was recorded, Ahmed Ogwell, the acting head of the African Centre for Disease Control, said. WHO has stressed that anyone can be infected with monkeypox if they are in close contact with someone with the disease or if they touch contaminated clothing or sheets. However, researchers are still looking into how it is spread via skin-to-skin contact.

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The government is working hard to address the rising prices of food items– Minister

According to Mahmood Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the increase in food prices in Nigeria is caused by many factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity and the Russia-Ukraine war. However, the government is working hard to address the rising prices of food items. Prices of food items like rice, bread and beef have increased in the past few years, some by over 200 percent. The minister, however, said the rise in the prices of food is not peculiar to Nigeria and is made worse by the emergence of COVID-19 and the war between Russia and Ukraine. “When COVID came, it affected a lot of things including food production and the after effect of that is what we are still facing and that will lag for some time before it is stabilised. Although I believe that the price of rice has dropped a little bit, we are still working on it.” The Minister further stated that Nigeria’s plan to end hunger in the country by the year 2025 is still on track.

As fuel prices rise, companies look to energy efficient solutions

With fossil fuel prices reaching record highs, companies around the world are focusing on energy efficiency to save money and reduce the emissions driving the climate crisis. Research shows that a safe future below 1.5°C requires the world to cut 30 gigatonnes greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) annually by 2030. Carbon emissions need to be cut by building smart cities and managing land and resources more efficiently. Transport and buildings are among the largest contributors. “Increasing energy efficiency, particularly industrial energy efficiency, can make a real difference in reducing our need for fossil fuels. This improvement in energy efficiency will also reduce electricity bills for companies and support the scale-up of renewable energy,” Patrick Blake, Programme Officer for United for Efficiency (U4E), said.

Amazon Prime Video launches local service in Nigeria

Amazon Prime Video, Thursday, announced the launch of the localized version of its streaming service in Nigeria, one of Africa’s biggest markets. Just as it did in Southeast Asia some days back, the tech giant is attempting to boost its subscriber push in new markets like Africa by increasing its investment in local production, unveiling slates of localized originals and introducing discounted Amazon Prime membership offerings to customers. Amazon Prime Video launched in Africa in 2016 as part of its global push across more than 200 countries worldwide, bringing some serious competition to Netflix’s global plan launched that same year. However, versions of the service available in the region have never featured the local-language interfaces, subtitling, and original content offerings typical in more developed markets.

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