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African press review 6 December 2017


The South African economy is doing better than expected. The South African president perhaps less so. Washington has asked Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga to call off next week's planned alternative swearing-in ceremony. And the majority of South Africa's Aids sufferers are refusing to seek treatment.

There's good news for South Africa's embattled economy on the front page of this morning's Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay.

Third quarter Gross Domestic Product growth of two percent was nearly twice most forecasts, driven by a 44 percent resurgence in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector.

The South African economy is expected to finish the year in positive territory.

Washington asks Odinga to stop

Washington has taken a hand in the Kenyan presidential election struggle.

According to the top story in this morning's Nairobi-based Daily Nation, the United States has asked opposition leader Raila Odinga to call off the planned alternative swearing-in ceremony scheduled for Tuesday next week.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US government’s Bureau of African Affairs Donald Yamamoto yesterday warned that the move would serve to further polarise the country.

He spoke during a meeting with Odinga and other Nasa officials.

A source who attended the meeting told the Nation that, in return, the envoy undertook to bring President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party to the negotiating table in order to agree on a way forward with the opposition.

ICC appoints Ugandan judge

A Ugandan appeals court judge has been appointed to the International Criminal Court.

The election of Justice Solome Bossa has been hailed as a vote of confidence in Uganda’s judiciary and diplomacy at the United Nations, according to ambassador Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s permanent representative at the UN.

Nigerian state names happiness official

Nigeria's Imo state has decided to appoint a minister in charge of happiness.

Despite widespread unrest, political crisis and recession, Nigeria has been ranked among the happiest places in the world.

The commissioner for happiness and couples' fulfillment is the brainchild of Rochas Okorocha, governor of the south-eastern state of Imo.

Okorocha, who has been criticised for using public funds to erect statues of prominent African leaders, this week appointed his sister to the post.

A state government spokesman was unable to specify what the new appointee's duties would be.

Aids sufferers refuse to seek medical help

Finally, a report from BusinessDay on how the majority of South Africa's Aids sufferers are refusing to seek treatment.

A study of 27‚000 people in rural KwaZulu-Natal shows that, even if you make it easy for people to test for HIV and to gain access to treatment‚ most people will not make use of those facilities. And men are the least responsive.

Researchers offered testing to more than 27‚000 men and women in a community in Hlabisa‚ every six months, in their own homes. They also brought mobile clinics to the area for five years between 2012 and April 2016.

It was hoped that 70 percent of those who tested positive and had immediate access to treatment would make use of the nearby mobile clinics. But, in fact, only 30 percent did.

The researchers also estimate that only four out of 10 HIV-positive people living in the region and on antiretroviral drugs had an undetectable viral load‚ meaning only about 40 percent were taking the medication correctly so that they were no longer infectious.

South Africa has seven million HIV-positive people‚ with about half of them on antiretrovirals.

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