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Addressing gaps in surveillance of antimicrobial-resistant microbes in Zimbabwe – African Business

FAO Regional Office for Africa
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural phenomenon in which microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites adapt to antimicrobial agents and cause medications to be ineffective for its curing purpose. For the past two years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Zimbabwe, with support of financing partners and the Government, embarked on strengthening Zimbabwe’s AMR surveillance capacity through the renovation and equipping of 14 laboratories in three provinces. This process is part of implementation of Zimbabwe’s National Action Plan (NAP) for AMR which was developed in 2017.

“I would like to reiterate FAO’s commitment in continuing providing technical support to the government of Zimbabwe and its various agencies. I take this opportunity to encourage you to emphasize the application of the One Health approach and finding more innovative approaches towards mobilizing resources for financing AMR interventions, sustain and scale-up the results achieved so far,” said Berhanu Bedane, FAO Livestock Development Officer speaking on behalf of Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa and FAO Representative to Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (MoLAFWRD) through the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) and the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MECTHI) formulated a One Health approach specifically in strengthening multi-sectoral platforms on AMR, emerging diseases and food safety through forging collaborations and coordination with various stakeholders.

From 9 to 13 May 2022, FAO representatives, government officials, development partners, clinicians, scientists, farmers and the general public witnessed commissioning and handing over of six rehabilitated sentinel laboratories that were renovated and equipped with state of the art equipment in Manicaland, Masvingo and Bulawayo provinces in Zimbabwe – two in each province. The process of rehabilitating the laboratories started in 2019 where the country nominated 14 priority laboratories to participate on the pilot national AMR surveillance using an integrated One Health approach. This was followed by capacity assessments which guided the formulation of technical specifications on the scope of works for the infrastructure rehabilitation, equipment and reagent procurements. A competitive bidding procurement system was undertaken to identify suppliers with the participation of all relevant stakeholders to ensure transparency and complete adherence to the agreed specifications. Upon the engagement of the contractor, the work was initiated with close monitoring and supervision by the Government Public works department until the completion of the renovations.  

“In 2017, Zimbabwe developed the National One Health AMR Action Plan aligned to the global AMR Action Plan. In developing the plan, the country conducted an exhaustive AMR and AMU situation analysis, which among other weaknesses and gaps identified in our surveillance systems for AMR, the situation and conditions of our laboratories was dire. We appreciate the intervention of this programme in rehabilitating the laboratories,” said Dr Nyika, Chief Director in the Department of Veterinary Services.

“The laboratories have not only been renovated but upgraded to international standards. These laboratories will be refined to attain ISO17025 accreditation,” added Dr Nyika during one of the commissioning ceremonies in the three provinces.

Renovating and equipping of laboratories is an intermediary intervention, which contributes to the objective of strengthening the country’s capacity in AMR surveillance. The ultimate target, however, is to ensure generation of AMR data and its consequent use by the country to monitor resistance patterns, inform policy and contribute to global monitoring databases. This will also feed and direct into the formulation of the framework of the second phase of the National Action Plan, 2022 – 2027. In addition to this milestone, there is going to be consistent and frequent diagnostic capacity development of human resources, improvement of quality management systems, data management and reporting on AMR. Moreover, FAO will continue providing technical assistance in implementing and compliance of laboratories with biosafety and biosecurity measures to enable attain international standards and gain ISO accreditation relevant to their scope of work.

“The country has made significant strides in practically implementing an integrated One Health approach in its fight against AMR, thereby breaking sectorial silos and vertical approaches which existed in the past. The nation is poised to make a significant foot print in its fight against AMR through these effective collaborations among sectors. We can hope that this momentum can also reach to other pillars of One Heath which include Food Safety and Zoonosis,’’ said Dr Dobbie, Chief Director in the MoHCC as the commissioning of the Bulawayo laboratories concluded the handing over processes in the three provinces.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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China's Huayou Cobalt to invest $300 million in Zimbabwe lithium mine – CNA

HARARE : China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt plans to invest $300 million on rapid development of a lithium mine and processing plant at its newly acquired Arcadia project in Zimbabwe, according to company documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

Huayou, one of the world’s biggest producers of cobalt, recently completed a $422 million purchase of the hard-rock lithium mine just outside Harare from Australia-listed Prospect Resources and other Zimbabwean minorities.

“We intend to develop the project rapidly over the next year and invest around $300 million to develop the mine and construct a process plant with a capacity to treat around 4.5 million tonnes of ore and produce 400,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate per annum,” Huayou subsidiary Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said in an update on the project.

The Arcadia project is expected to deliver its first batch of lithium-bearing minerals spodumene and petalite in 2023, the company said.

Lithium prices have soared this year as carmakers have struggled to source the metal used in electric vehicle batteries.

Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said it would employ 600 locals during the construction phase, with up to 900 jobs being created when production begins.

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Trouble in paradise; murder claims, racism claims rock Borrowdale Brooke – New

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By Mary Taruvinga

GLIDING through the smooth roads lined with a fusion of indigenous and exotic trees marching virtually without interlude but for the occasional glamorous, plush homes, any first timer to this exquisite and serene neighbourhood is left in awe.

It is not the sort of neighbourhood you can stray into.

Many of the homes on narrow, winding streets of this gentrified suburb are occupied by the country’s rich and famous, who have taken the unusual step of obtaining city permits to remove the streets in their neighborhood from public use and shouldering huge sums of money to install electronic barriers.

The residents say that they want to protect themselves from traffic, crime and transients from poor communities.

This is not just not another suburb; this is Borrowdale Brooke – where only the richest of the land reside.

It is ideally a verdant, tranquil environ where residents co-exist in utmost serenity, but it has recently experienced some massive turbulence resembling the ghetto.

It all started when businessman Shingi Munyeza, chairperson of the Borrowdale Brooke HomeOwners Association (BBHOA) decided to punish the effervescent Gokwe Nembudziya legislator, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, for violating the peace that these people sought to enjoy by cutting themselves off from everyone.

Wadyajena, Munyeza and Co. claimed, rolled down the streets in a thunderous vehicle dead at night and roamed on those boulevards for two good hours.

The association did not waste time to act. It deactivated his access codes once the sun had risen and relegated him to the visitors lane.

Wadyajena sought legal recourse, demanding immediate restoration of his codes and describing as humiliating his relegation to the outer lane.

It actually turned out that the lane is as smooth as any other road here and people in places like Highfield would appreciate one half as good in their area.

The youthful legislator easily won the case at the High Court, which ruled the association simply had no case.

Another case soon followed. The association had barred Wadyajena’s construction workers from accessing the area. Again, he won it.

The story does not end there. Last Friday, Wadyajena wrote to Munyeza, not sparing the tongue lash he is accustomed to.

He declared all this was a case of political persecution and racism.

He claimed Munyeza was not is own man, but was doing the bidding for and on behalf of white people who live there.

Shingi Munyeza

Wadyajena said him and Munyeza have a well documented rivalry which has dragged on for three good years. Over what, he did not state.

“I have been falsely accused of murder, my wife was falsely accused of attempted murder, my brother was physically attacked by Brooke management, you unlawfully barred me accessi to my properties, I have been falsely accused of defacing Brooke property and I have been falsely accused of racing my vehicles on Brooke property,” Wadyajena said.

Wadyajena said he has not known peace in this paradise.

The legislator claimed that he had an unpleasant visit by heavily armed detectives from the homicide department, who raided his house following a ‘misguided’ tipoff by the Brooke management in which he was erroneously cited as the key suspect in the murder of one Nancy Duncan who stayed in the Sun River Manor, a private gated compound.

“This was a disturbing and malicious attempt to connect me and my family to a supposed crime that we had absolutely no knowledge of. Of course, this turned out to be complete, trumped-up nonsense, but the egregiousness of the accusation cannot be overstated and constitutes a serious disregard of the personal safety and dignity of all of us; but, falsely pegging me and other members of my family for murder seems to be a Brooke Association pastime,” he said.

He added that the Brooke management needlessly denied him permission to proceed with his ongoing construction projects on the pretense of an inspection, yet they had copies of his approved plans and was bent on frustrating him.

Wadyajena said going forward, it will not be business as usual.

“Dr. Munyeza, while I have tried to believe that this constant dance between murder, illegal construction, and noise allegations is not of a personal nature, all indications are that I am a target, and that deliberate actions have been taken to silence me, to paint me as an ‘undesirable neighbor ‘and ultimately to hound me out of The Brooke,” he said.

“Some known residents have faced very similar kinds of blatant persecution and eventually left The Brooke, but I am not most people, and I am not for turning,” he dared Munyeza.

“It is clear that the published lies are intended to create the perception of me as uncooperative in the eyes of the public audience that you have invited to these matters. However, make no mistake, I am prepared to take whatever comes at me head on and fortunately, I do not require the attention or acceptance from certain quarters of society and I am not at all reliant on the public gaze to validate my sense of right and wrong.”

He summed up his love letter to Munyeza with quite a sumptuous punchline: “I want to assure you, Mr. Chairman, that while I may be from Gokwe – and extremely proud of it – I am going nowhere.”

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Zimbabwe is Asking the World to Let it Sell $600 Million in Black Market Ivory – The Motley Fool

Last week, in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, diplomats from the US, EU, UK, and Canada were led on a tour of heavily fortified vaults secured by armed guards. What was inside? Contraband.

On Monday, the Zimbabwean government launched a conference aimed at swaying the international community into letting it sell $600 million worth of ivory confiscated from poachers and criminal organizations. To some, saying yes would be tantamount to greenlighting more crimes.

Tickling the Wrong Piano Keys

The commercial trade of new ivory was banned in 1989 through amendments to the global Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). A subsequent rebound in Zimbabwe’s elephant population heralded a stunning conservation success: the country’s 100,000-strong herd is growing 5% to 8% every year.

But that victory has created a cohabitation problem. Sixty people have been killed by elephants in Zimbabwe so far this year. The animals devour and destroy field crops and, in some cases, have even moved into homesteads, forcing poor people in rural areas to relocate. That’s why Zimbabwe is asking to sell its accumulated contraband:

  • The government says it’s lost almost all tourist revenue due to the pandemic, and needs the $600 million to manage the growing elephant population and keep fighting poachers. There’s precedent: in 1997 and 2008, special exemptions were granted to African countries to sell their ivory stocks to Japan and China.
  • The African Elephant Coalition, a group of 32 countries with fewer elephants than Zimbabwe, is opposed to the idea, as are conservation groups. They claim previous exemptions led to more poaching, stoking the $20 billion illegal wildlife trade, one of the world’s most lucrative illicit markets, per the United Nations Environment Programme.

Zimbabwe’s three-day conference is hosting 16 African countries, Japan, and China. Officials hope for enough momentum to secure formal approval from the international community.

Healthy Appetite: Adult elephants consume up to 600 pounds of vegetation daily. Try growing a vegetable garden and having an eater like that for a neighbor.

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