Thursday, March 3

There's No Place Like Home

Recently, the refugee situation in Zambia has been desperate.

Currently, Zambia hosts an estimated 55,000 Congolese refugees, most of whom fled the country at the height of civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2000. As Zambia prepares to repatriate the last of the Angolan refugees on its soil by the end of 2005, the fate of thousands of Congolese refugees, sheltered in camps throughout the country, remains unclear.

My, What Big Teeth You Have

Over 100 people have been bitten by rabid dogs in Chavuma district. (According to the CDC, rabies is "a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.")

This Week, Coffee Is Hot!

Following up on a recent posting about Zambia's Coffee Grower's Association, it seems an international coffee exhibition is taking place in Livingstone this week. According to the Times of Zambia, there are 75 large-scale and 520 small-scale farmers growing coffee who fall under the control of the Zambia Coffee Growers Association. The article makes 2 interesting points:
  • Coffee is second to oil on the world market and earning foreign exchange
  • By January this year, world coffee exports reached 7. 3 billion bags, an increase of 13% over last year

President Mwanawasa has been encouraging small-scale farmers to grow a variety of crops, including coffee, to supplement their incomes.

Papayas Give a Boost

I've been a fan of the papaya for a long time. I ate hundreds of them -- and grew and planted dozens of trees -- when I was in Zambia.

I've known for a while that the papya is good for you (serving as a natural way to soothe a stomach-ache, and possibly as an anti-malarial). It also turns out that the papaya is one of several fruits considered an "immune booster" and useful for people suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Eat one this weekend!

Wednesday, March 2

More Bad Traffic(k)

Zambia's Drug Enforcement Commission claims marijuana seizures are down from 182 tons in 2003 to 108 tons last year. However, according to the UN,
"a decade ago, Zambia was a mere transit point for illicit drugs destined for nearby South Africa. Today, it is a gateway and distribution center for drugs going to Europe and North America. Fueled by rapid urbanization and economic hardships, drug trafficking has increased substantially, luring some Zambians in search of quick money. The country's Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) says trafficking has multiplied more than a thousand times over the past seven years."

Increasingly, Zambians are arrested for trafficking; 80% of the Zambians arrested abroad in 1996 and 75 per cent of those arrested in 1997 were women.

Investing Elsewhere? Invest Here.

World Bank Private Sector Development specialist, Gerald Meyerman, said that 37% of Africa's wealth is invested outside the continent. He challenged Africans to bring back to Africa their investments from London and the USA.

In 2004, 4 of the top 10 stock markets in the world were from Africa. In that year, Zambia's stock market offered a 77% return.

They Can't Be THAT Annoying!

Zambia's relationship with witchraft has long fascinated me. I've blogged about witchcraft before, as well as a Zambian exorcism I participated in myself.

However, there seems to be a recent trend in the country concerning the killing of suspected witches, particularly those "witches" who are elderly.

It seems it's happened again: according to Xinhua News Agency, three Zambian men between 45 and 60 years old have been shot dead by unknown gunmen in separate incidents in Nakonde district, Northern Province, for suspected witchcraft.

India Extends An Offer

In a major push towards Africa, many Indian civic and business leaders are hosting a three-day symposium in New Delhi in which 25 western and southern African countries (including Zambia) will discuss ways of partnering with India for their development needs. According to the New Kerala, these countries look to India as a source for technology, expertise and manpower training.

As the U.S. outsources to India, India trains Africans. Soon, no one will need us.

Mwape shocks Munkonge

Thus far, I've failed to blog any sports-related items here at Zamblog. Please allow me to make amends:

According to the Times of Zambia, this weekend Zambia Scrabble Association treasurer Isaac Mwape beat Association president Mwenya Munkonge to become the first player in a long time to unsettle Munkonge in the Second Scrabble Tournament at the University of Zambia's School of Mines.

According to Mukonge, “Our aim is to introduce the sport in schools so that we bring the young out of bad vices, especially sexual immorality." And I thought Scrabble was supposed to be about fun.

Tuesday, March 1

Is There A Doctor In The Country?

About 40,000 overseas nurses have registered to work in the UK in the past 3 years. This influx has included hundreds of nurses from African countries (including Zambia) where active recruitment is banned. According to a recent Save the Children report, the UK cuts the cost of training its own health personnel by recruiting poor African health professionals. However, it does not pay compensation to those African countries, which subsequently suffer serious health crises due to the lack of doctors.

Zambia says it will work towards a memorandum of understanding to have countries that "poach its nurses" develop the its health infrastructure in order to continue training nurses. Since 1977, fewer than 10% (50 of 600) of the doctors trained in Zambia have remained in Zambia.

Nowhere To Go But . . .Down?

Zambia is likely to slip further on the Human Development Ranking this year, University of Zambia development studies lecturer Dr. Francis Chigunta warned recently. Currently, Zambia is ranked 163 out of 175 countries; there isn't far to fall.

He said the scant allocation for the social sector in this year's budget indicated that the government had no development vision for the country.

Looking For Investment Options?

According to the Ghanaian Chronicle, "In 2004, four of the top 10 stock markets in the world were from Africa, with Egypt, second overall with a 104 percent return over 12 months, Ghana, third on 86 percent, Malawi, fourth on 83 percent and Zambia, sixth on 77 percent."

The US, meanwhile, only posted returns of 9%.