Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Thursday, June 1, 2023.
Negotiations with Somalia on joining EAC get greenlight from Heads of State
The Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) have directed the EAC Secretariat and the Council of Ministers to commence negotiations with Somalia over the latter’s request to join the seven-member bloc “with immediate effect.”
The regional leaders gave the direction during their 21st Extraordinary EAC Heads of State Summit held on Wednesday, May 31, in Bujumbura, Burundi, where they deliberated on and adopted the report of the verification of the application of Somalia to join the EAC.
On January 25, 2023, the EAC Secretariat launched a verification mission to assess Somalia’s readiness to join the regional economic community. It followed the decision by Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to rekindle his country’s desire to join the EAC on July 21, 2022.
The Secretariat, the executive organ of the Community, and the Council of Ministers, the central decision-making and governing Organ of the EAC, will later report to the next ordinary summit of the EAC Heads of State.
In a statement on Thursday, Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the adoption of the verification report is a noteworthy milestone and testament that Somalia is ready and fully equipped to join the EAC.
“Somalia will be a great addition to the EAC sisterly countries and contribute [to] the region’s integration and prosperity,” the statement reads in part.
“Somalia expresses its gratitude and appreciation to the Heads of State and General Secretariat of the East African Community for the communiqué that was made public and reaffirms its determination and desire to engage in productive negotiations that would hasten the EAC’s confirmation of its membership and formal admission,” the statement added.
World Bank approves $300 million in funding to support Tanzanian farmers
The World Bank has approved a US$300 million funding to Tanzania to enable at least 300,000 farmers, nearly half of them women, from the country to adopt resilience-enhancing technologies and practices to increase their productivity while facilitating access to assets and services for up to 1.8 million more farmers.
The fund will support improved service delivery in research, extension, and seeds; developing resilient rural infrastructure; and strengthening fiscal performance to enable delivery on priority investment areas.
According to the international lender, multiple shocks affect African food systems, with extreme weather, pest and disease outbreaks, and political and market instability becoming more frequent.
The bank said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine further exacerbates these impacts by disrupting the global food, fuel, and fertiliser markets. As a result, an estimated 83 million people in the region are projected to experience food stress or a food crisis emergency.
“Agriculture is key to inclusive economic growth and rural poverty reduction in Tanzania and the region more broadly,” a press release quoted Nathan Belete, World Bank Country Director.
“This new program underscores harnessing the potential of agriculture-led growth to build up food systems resilience while generating jobs,” he added.
The Tanzania program has been approved as part of the second and third phases of the Food Systems Resilience Program (FSRP) for Eastern and Southern Africa, totalling $903 million.
Emma Isinika Modamba, World Bank Senior Agricultural Economist and Task Team Leader for the TFSRP, said increasing food systems resilience and strengthening Tanzania’s ability to adapt to the challenges of climate change requires a transformation in institutional systems and ways of working.
“This program focuses on resilience-building by increasing access to climate-smart technologies, early warning systems, and drought resistance,” she added.
The FSRP supports participating countries in prioritising medium-term investments that can transform and strengthen the resilience of their food systems.
It helps countries rebuild their productive capacity, improve the management of their natural resources, strengthen food value chains and access to markets, and improve national and regional policies to enhance the sector’s resilience.
Shanta Gold achieves commercial production at its Singida mine
A Guernsey-based gold mining company Shanta Gold announced Thursday that it has achieved commercial production at its Singida gold mine, with the company’s CEO Eric Zurrin describing the development as “a key milestone.”
Zurrin attributed the achievement to the rapid ramp-up period after the first gold pour on March 30, after achieving 30 consecutive days of mill throughput, exceeding 95 per cent of the nominal nameplate capacity of 1 000 t/d, overall plant use and gold recovery exceeding 95 per cent and plant availability above 90 per cent.
In an update, Zurrin said:
“The mine delivered steady results against production key performance indicators, including consistent gold production and higher-than-expected gold recoveries, culminating in several successful gold shipments.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our team, which has successfully designed and delivered the project over the past two years, from construction to commercial production.
“With our balance sheet in a healthy position, underpinned by two producing gold mines delivering 100 000 oz/y, we are excited by the potential that Shanta offers.”
WHO, AIRA train public health workers to fight infodemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA) have trained more than 100 public health experts in Tanzania on how to deal with the infodemic.
WHO defines an infodemic as an overabundance of accurate and inaccurate information during epidemics, often leading to confusion and mistrust in governments and public health response.
Without a smart approach to fighting the infodemic, WHO says that its impacts can derail health or emergency responses, leading to deaths and economic losses that could be avoidable.
Thanks to funding from the European Civic Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), WHO and AIRA were able to organise the training that is hoped to strengthen Tanzania’s ability to fight pandemics.
Speaking on behalf of the WHO Country Representative, Dr Neema Kileo, Health Promotion Officer, urged participants to grasp the key concepts and techniques to help them improve how they counter misinformation and rumours to control epidemics.
“During public health emergencies, fake news spreads faster and often leads to public confusion, risky and harmful behaviours that make it difficult to control outbreaks,” Dr Kileo said.
“As key actors, let us be here physically and mentally and use these two days to learn new skills that will help us improve how we manage the flooding of information during disease outbreaks to protect our people,” she added.
Dr Tumaini Haonga, the Assistant Director for the Health Promotion Section of the Ministry of Health on Tanzania Mainland, appealed for partners to support the government’s cascading infodemic management skills to district health promotion coordinators.
“The skills and knowledge gained during this training will be handy in managing rumours, misinformation, and disinformation during public health emergencies,” Dr Haonga said.
100 participants were trained, with 45 from Zanzibar and 58 from Arusha. Participants expressed their satisfaction and zeal to use the lessons from the training to manage infodemics effectively.
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