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African press review 29 August 2013

While the conflict in Syria remains one of the top stories in many parts of the world, local stories make the front pages of the African Press, like for example the inauguration of a new port in Kenya.


The new berth of the port of Mombasa was finally opened, and the Kenyan Daily Nation reports on the ceremony, which was attended by three African leaders: Kenyatta of Kenya, Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda.

Presidents Museveni and Kagame welcomed the improvements at Mombasa, which handles most of the import and export trade for their two landlocked countries.

The port of Mombasa consolidates its position as the region’s largest with the opening of a new berth for ships, says the paper, as it practically doubles its handling capacity.

The Kenyan Standard also headlines with the story and reports on President Kenyatta’s ambition to transform the Port of Mombasa into the largest, busiest and the most friendly sea port on the East African coast.

The new berth, which cost almost 50 million euros is the deepest and widest yet, at least on the East African seaboard, but still falls short of the regional demand, says the paper.

“Obviously, we still have some way to go,” said President Kenyatta, adding that his government would also invest in upgrading road and rail links with neighbouring countries.

In South Africa, new data seem to show substantial progress made by the government in improving the living conditions of the poor.

According to the newspaper, Business Day, the Development Indicators - a government initiative which tracks progress made in various areas of development - published two weeks ago, show great improvement in health and living conditions in the country in the past 2 decades.

For instance, more than 9 out of 10 households now have access to drinkable water, up from 6 out of 10 in 1994 and the number of households with access to electricity is now 7 out of 10, up from half in 1994.

However, regardless of the improvement, people are more dissatisfied, says the paper, as indicates the growing number of protests and strikes, often connected to poor delivery of basic services.

One reason for this is the irregularities of the services, says Business Day, as, for instance, more than half of South African households complain of regular two-day long water interruptions.

A new study, in Uganda this time, also takes a look at public health and shows that President Museveni’s regime is failing in its objectives in the sector.

The Daily Monitor reports on the latest National Health Accounts (NHA) survey, an international technique for tracking financial flows in a country’s health sector.

The government is short-changing Ugandans by under-spending on their healthcare, reports the paper, and in effect limiting the access of the poorest families to quality health services.

The paper reports that the survey shows the Ugandan government’s annual spending on each citizen’s health is 8 euros, which is about one-third of its own target and far below international minimum thresholds.

That’s not even $1 (0.75 euros) a month, says the paper, when a box of condoms at the local clinic costs twice as much, in a country where nearly a million people live with HIV/Aids.

Finally the minister of Tourism in Zimbabwe may have found a solution to boost tourism in the country, an idea met with much scepticism.

The South African Sowetan reports on Zimbabwean Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi’s announcement that the government plans to invest 226 million euros to build a Disneyland theme park near Victoria Falls to boost tourism.

Over the past decade, Zimbabwe recorded the highest inflation in the world, seeing its economy virtually collapse, and tourism has helped the country to find a way out of the crisis, contributing 15% to the country’s GDP.

Africa tourism experts specialists expressed scepticism regarding the introduction of Disneyland in the country where people go to experience something authentically African, says the paper.

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