BUSINESS BRIEFS: MAY 2019

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China banks on media to dispel BRI debt risks

Beijing wants to deploy international media outlets to allay fears about its trillion-dollar global trade and infrastructure initiative. President Xi Jinping called on media outlets in the countries involved in the Belt and Road plan to fashion stories about the scheme in a way that boosts public support. Xi made the comments at the first council meeting of the Belt and Road News Network (BRNN), an association consisting of 182 media outlets from 86 countries which include China Daily newspaper, French daily La Provence, Russian news agency Tass and South Africa’s Independent Media.

Gold smugglers are swindling billions from Africa 

Africa is a gold mine, literally. The continent exports tens of billions of dollars’ worth of the precious metal annually from 46 countries, and much of the activity is legal. But not all of it is, and smuggling is reportedly costing African nations dearly in lost taxes. Artisanal mining is so lucrative, in fact, that criminal enterprises controlled by foreigners have been taking over the mostly unregulated cottage industry, Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo told a mining conference in February. Ghana is Africa’s second-largest gold producer after Libya.

How drone delivery is tackling medical logistics challenges

The Ghana Health Service has partnered with Zipline, the drone company best known for starting blood delivery services in Rwanda, for a medical drone program launched in April. Ghana’s health policymakers hope faster drop-offs will improve its health outcomes including reducing its maternal and infant mortality rates. According to the World Health Organization, “severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth is the commonest cause of maternal mortality and contributes to around 34 percent of maternal deaths in Africa.” The timely access to safe blood could save many lives.

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