Africa Current Affairs - 2020

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Eight West African countries rename common currency to Eco

The eight West African nations have agreed to change the name of their common currency from ‘CFA franc’ to ‘Eco’, after they jointly severed the CFA franc’s links to former colonial ruler France. The announcement was made during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to Ivory Coast, who hailed the decision as a historic reform. Even though the deal took six months in making, common currency Eco will see the light of day in 2020.

Key highlights

The 8 West African countries namely- Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau currently use CFA France as their currency. All these countries, except Guinea-Bissau, are former French colonies.

The CFA franc was initially pegged to French franc and has been linked to euro for about two decades. The common currency Eco will see the light of day in 2020. However, the Ivory Coast President announced the three major changes, which included- (1) a change of name of the currency; (2) stopping holding 50% of reserves in French Treasury; (3) withdrawal of French governance in any aspect related to the currency.

About CFA franc

It is the name of two currencies- ‘the West African CFA franc’, which is used in 8 West African countries, and ‘Central African CFA franc’, which is used in 6 Central African countries. Both currencies are guaranteed by French treasury and was created in 1945. The currency was seen by many as a sign of French interference in its former African colonies even after countries became independent.

NOTE: Ivory Coast is the world’s top cocoa producer as well as France’s former main colony in West Africa.

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World’s first Malaria Vaccine launched in Malawi, Africa

World’s first Malaria Vaccine named RTS,S (trade name Mosquirix) was launched in Malawi, Africa on occasion of World Malaria Day (observed on 25 April). It was launched as part of pilot programme aimed at immunizing children aged 2 years and below in three African countries Malawi, Ghana and Kenya. Other two countries will launch this vaccine in coming weeks.

About Pilot Programme

  • It is World Health Organization (WHO) coordinated three country pilot programme where risk of malaria is high. It aims to vaccinate 360,000 children per year with RTS,S vaccine across three countries and give them partial protection against disease. Children will be vaccinated on time with 4 required doses.
  • The pilot programme is financed by collaboration of three key global health funding bodies: Gavi ( a public-private partnership Global Vaccine Alliance), Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Unitaid (global health initiative that works with partners to end world’s tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and hepatitis C epidemics). Also, WHO, PATH and GSK will provide in-kind contributions.

About RTS,S Vaccine

  • It is recombinant protein-based malaria vaccine. It is world’s first and only malaria vaccine. Its trade name is Mosquirix.
  • It has been developed and manufactured by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.
  • It provides protection to only a third of children of less than 2 years age from severe malaria.
  • It will act as complementary malaria control tool besides WHO-recommended core measures for malaria prevention, like routinely using insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor insecticides spraying and timely malaria testing and treatment.

 About Malaria

  • It is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites, which are transmitted by bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is one of world’s leading killer disease. It is preventable and curable.
  • In 2017, about 219 million cases of malaria were reported in 87 countries, and number of malaria deaths was 435 000.
  • According to WHO, African Region carries highest share of global malaria burden with home to 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths in 2017.


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