June 2007


 

Zambia The Beautiful

Lea Terhune
Washington, DC

Winding up an eventful trip to Africa, U.S. first lady Laura Bush voiced support and promised more aid for nations struggling with HIV/AIDS and malaria, and to those striving to raise literacy levels. She completed her five-day tour in Mali June 29, after visits to Senegal, Mozambique and Zambia.

In Zambia, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, who accompanied Bush on her trip, announced that U.S. aid to that country would be increased by $266 million over five years.

“We need broader efforts to fight the AIDS pandemic and to prevent new infections especially in Africa because this is where there are 70 percent of AIDS orphans,” he told journalists in Lusaka June 28. The money will come from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Zambia originally was slated to receive $534 million in the first four years of the PEPFAR program, but that amount will be increased to $800 million, he said.

Laura Bush toured Zambian projects funded by PEPFAR, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and an umbrella group of companies called the Global Business Coalition. That organization works with government and nongovernmental organizations to implement aid programs. The first lady announced that 500,000 mosquito nets would be distributed to protect people from malaria, a disease that often takes a greater toll than AIDS in Zambia, according to the Zambia Malaria Foundation.

At Lusaka’s Regiment Basic School, Bush and her daughter, Jenna Bush, inaugurated a PlayPump, a combination merry-go-round and water pump which harnesses young exuberance to provide a reliable source of clean water. It frees the children from having to bring water from home each day.

The two projects are examples of the public-private partnerships the Bush administration has promoted in the developing world. The mosquito net distribution project draws in entities as diverse as the Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, the Case Foundation and the National Basketball Association, whose NBACares foundation is a partner in Nothing But Nets, a grassroots campaign to prevent malaria deaths in Africa.

A message the first lady repeated throughout her tour of Africa was the importance of faith-based groups.

“Religious institutions bring a personal healing touch to the fight against AIDS,” she told a gathering at the Mutata Memorial Center. The center, through a network of volunteers, provides home-based care for those infected with HIV/AIDS, for orphans and vulnerable children, and it educates about HIV/AIDS transmission and protection. It is supported by RAPIDS, a consortium of organizations including World Vision, the Salvation Army, Africare, Catholic Relief Services and the Population Council.

Her trip began in Senegal, where she and Jenna visited Fann Hospital, in Dakar, with Senegal’s first lady, Viviane Wade. The hospital treats people living with AIDS, bolstering their nutrition. Steve Bolinger started a garden at the hospital when he was in the Peace Corps, and remained afterward to found Development in Gardening (DIG), a nongovernmental organization that helps HIV/AIDS victims maintain quality of life. Both hospital and garden programs are funded partially by USAID.

Bush told reporters on the flight to Senegal that it is important for Africa that the cooperation between the United States government and African governments “on the ground” be effective and tries “to stretch the money the furthest so that the most people get help.”

At the African Education Initiative (AEI) scholarship awards ceremony at Dakar’s Grand Medine Primary School, the first lady was joined by Grammy-winning Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour, also a U.N. goodwill ambassador and advocate for improvement of African health.

“An investment in education, no matter how significant, is always worth it,” former educator Laura Bush told the audience, adding education helps governments fulfill their obligations to their citizens. In this endeavor, she said “[T]he American people are proud to partner with you.”

The AEI helped provide nearly half a million books to children in Senegal. Bush said that over the summer, AEI will deliver another 800,000 textbooks to Senegalese children. “Educated citizens will keep themselves in better heath, and pass their knowledge along to their communities and to their children,” she said.

A highlight of her trip to Mozambique was the announcement that $507 million would be given from the U.S.-funded Millennium Challenge Corporation to help build infrastructure and tackle malaria. While in Maputo, the first lady toured facilities of members of the Inter-Religious Campaign Against Malaria in Mozambique. A pediatric hospital and a women’s support group, Positive Tea, were among her stops. Promotion of malaria spraying and handing out insecticide-treated mosquito nets was part of her program.

Women’s empowerment was another focus of the first lady’s Africa tour. She participated in a roundtable on the subject in Mozambique, and visited two facilities in Zambia, Flame and WORTH, that work with vulnerable children, single mothers, widows and the elderly to give them more options in life. WORTH offers microcredit schemes that finance small business ventures.

Bush expressed admiration for the dedicated caregivers, many of whom are volunteers, who go out to the sick and who help educate people about HIV/AIDS, a disease which still carries a heavy stigma in Africa.

Her final stop was Bamako, Mali, where she visited an AEI-funded school and highlighted Millennium Challenge Corporation compact with the government that aims to reduce poverty through a five-year, $460.8 million economic development program.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

brainwave-sr-001-3.jpgone-zambia-one-nation.jpg 

The Zambian Enterprise is proving to be the best destination for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in south-central Africa. From 2001 todate, foreign direct investment has more than quadrupled in some instances ranging from economic activities such as mining, tourism, manufacturing and financial services. 

The biggest recipients are tourism and mining and there is need to increase the manufacturing base of the enterprise as soon as possible. This is because such endeavors tend to increase skill for the nationals in highly technical fields, which are the basis for prosperity and economic sustainability.  

Thus far, thus good and the Zambian Enterprise is on the right path to economic recovery with the ability to continue attracting more FDI unsurpassed by any rival in the region but there still remain serious worries as to why real GDP is under 6% annualized … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr. 

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle 

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US First Lady accompanied by her daughter Jenna and the Zambian First Lady graced students at the Regiment Basic Primary School in the middle of Lusaka which is home to some 1,200 students. 

These students attend school in three shifts beginning at 6:45am with the final classes finishing at 5:00pm. Their ages range from 7 to 18 years old … as an educator herself, education is very close to Mrs. Bush’s heart. 

On display the First Lady Laura Bush celebrated the U.S. Government’s first PlayPump™ water system in Sub-Saharan Africa and what a joy that the US Government chose Zambia for such a flaunt …  

Powered by play, the PlayPump water system is a children’s merry-go-round attached to a water pump and storage tank. While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round (1), clean water is pumped (2) from underground (3) into a 2,500-liter tank (4), standing seven meters above the ground.

A simple tap (5) makes it easy for adults and children to draw water. Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the borehole (6). The water storage tank (7) provides a rare opportunity to advertise in outlaying communities. 

All four sides of the tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two sides for health and educational messages. 

The revenue generated by this unique model pays for pump maintenance. The design of the PlayPump water system makes it highly effective, easy to operate and very economical, keeping costs and maintenance to an absolute minimum.

Capable of producing up to 1,400 liters of water per hour at 16 rpm from a depth of 40 meters, it is effective up to a depth of 100 meters. A typical hand pump installation cannot compete with the PlayPump system’s delivery rate, even with substantial effort.

In addition to providing safe drinking water, the innovative pump uses advertising billboards located on the storage tank to deliver powerful educational messages to children and families … thanks a trillion. 

Tag: Aids Research


Featured Blog  Zambian Chronicle

US First Lady – Zambia Bound

US First Lady Laura Bush is coming to Zambia … she is probably the first lady for a sitting president to visit Zambia and this is great news for the Zambian Enterprise. The reason it is great news i … more »

story.bush.ap.jpgUS First Lady Laura Bush is coming to Zambia … she is probably the first lady for a sitting president to visit Zambia and this is great news for the Zambian Enterprise. The reason it is great news is because every time such a high profile figure close to the American presidency visits a nation for whatever reasons, the world tends to look, see and or want to take notice.

This is great development and we at the Zambian Chronicle want to wish the First Lady a beautiful stay and hope she gets to enjoy all that our enterprise has to offer, welcome aboard Madame First Lady and we wish you God’s speed … thanks a trillion. 

Zambia beckons new wave of tourists

Market stall holder Bright Sabata

Many make their living on the fringes of the tourism industry

BBC News has been to Zambia as part of a special series looking at how Africa is faring one year on after the promises of increased aid made at the G8 summit in Gleneagles. Jon Cronin reports on the challenges facing Zambia’s tourism industry.Bright Sabata’s market stall is crammed full of traditional African crafts and trinkets.Hemmed in by a dozen other traders, his ceremonial masks and animal-skin drums are displayed alongside cow-bone necklaces and wooden figurines.

It is a sight many visitors would expect to see in Livingstone, Zambia’s gateway to the mighty Zambezi river and Victoria Falls.

“Tourism is important for me, it is where I get my living,” says Mr Sabata, who carves many of the objects he sells to support himself and his family.

But despite the breathtaking location, Mr Sabata and his fellow traders are not as busy as they would like to be.

Mixed fortunes

Zambia’s growing tourism industry is dominated by the Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya.

The Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls are known as one of the seven wonders of the world

The low rumble of the 100m falls can be heard for miles around, as millions of tonnes of water from the Zambezi fall into a narrow chasm every minute.

Mr Sabata, who hails from the nearby Mukuni village in whose tribal land the falls are situated, has been working from his stall for more than two years.

But as Zambia’s tourism industry has been developing, Mr Sabata says the fortunes of the Mukuni people have been sliding at the expense of some of the major developers.

“The life here is a bit okay, but we don’t have support,” he says. “Instead of going up, the market is going down. The tourists don’t come here to buy. We just sell by chance.”

‘Unpolished gem’

Mr Sabata’s pessimism is not shared by all.

Official figures suggest that the tourism industry now employs more than 20,000 people in Zambia.

The government has ambitious plans to bring in a million tourists annually by 2010 – a move which could generate more than $520m in revenue alone.

In Africa, there are really only two places for you to see – the pyramids in Egypt and the Victoria Falls in Zambia

Errol Hickey, Zambia National Tourist board chairman

Zambia also hopes to see the number of people employed in the sector more than double in four years time, a significant potential boost for one of the world’s poorest countries.

A short walk from the dusty market where Mr Sabata keeps his stall is the plush, five-star Livingstone Sun hotel.

Based along the banks of the Zambezi, the South African-run hotel is among Zambia’s most luxurious, where high-paying guests can encounter wild zebra, monkeys and giraffe in its extensive grounds.

“I think Zambia is an unpolished gem,” says general manager Craig Storkey. “Where Zambia was once – and possibly still is – a secondary type of destination, we’d like to see it become a primary destination.”

“In the last five years, we’ve seen a huge amount of growth and interest in Zambia as a tourist destination, and I think as that grows, we will see more hotel development.”

Migrating tourists?

Zambia’s expansion in the tourism industry has come as many holidaymakers have been deserting its politically unstable southern neighbour, Zimbabwe.

Both countries share a border along the Zambezi, and Zimbabwe was for some time the country where most tourists would base themselves in order to see the Victoria Falls.

But Mr Storkey rejects suggestions that Zambia’s gains have come largely at Zimbabwe’s expense.

“It’s actually very sad,” he says. “If it was a case that tourists just migrated across from Zimbabwe to Zambia, we would be running at huge occupancies, which is not the case at all.

“What we’ve found is that people’s geography is not that good. They can’t disassociate Zambia and Zimbabwe, they just see it as one region.”

However, he adds the situation in Zimbabwe “has given us the chance to establish Zambia as a destination”.

‘Expensive location’

Unsurprisingly, Zambia’s tourism board chief is equally keen to promote Zambia as a choice destination.

Zambia National Tourist board chairman Errol Hickey

Zambia’s tourism board chief is bullish about the future

“In Africa, there are really only two places for you to see – the pyramids in Egypt and the Victoria Falls in Zambia,” says Errol Hickey, chairman of the Zambia National Tourist board.

Although his words are calculated to raise eyebrows among his counterparts in other African countries, Mr Hickey admits that tourism in Zambia faces its own challenges too.

“The main problem that we have is that Zambia is a fairly expensive destination,” he says, referring to the recent soaring value of Zambia’s currency, the Kwacha.

“We only have a limited number of beds to offer the international tourist.”

In addition, Zambia currently has no international airline of its own after a previous government decided it could no longer afford to run it – a decision Mr Hickey describes as an “awesome blow”.

But despite the setbacks, Mr Hickey believes Zambia can continue to develop its tourism industry – encouraging more companies to open new hotels and attract an increasing number of people to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Africa.

“People have a choice about where they want to go, and that’s what the tourism challenge is all about,” he says.

“There’s a great future for Zambia. It’s got a lot to offer.”

Dr. Frank SullowayDr. Frank Sulloway

In the largest study ever on birth order and intelligence, Norwegian researchers report that eldest children have higher IQs than their younger siblings. Why would that be? There are as many guesses as there are scientists. “Virtually anyone who has a sibling is a birth-order theorist,” says Dr. Frank Sulloway, an expert on family dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley.

The eldest children in families tend to develop higher I.Q.’s than their siblings, researchers are reporting today, in a large study that could settle more than a half-century of scientific debate about the relationship between I.Q. and birth order. 

Dr. Frank Sulloway, an expert on family dynamics, is answering readers’ questions about birth order and intelligence.

Multimedia

Family InfluenceGraphic

Family Influence

The average difference in I.Q. was slight — three points higher in the eldest child than in the closest sibling — but significant, the researchers said. And they said the results made it clear that it was due to family dynamics, not to biological factors like prenatal environment.

Researchers have long had evidence that firstborns tended to be more dutiful and cautious than their siblings, and some previous studies found significant I.Q. differences. But critics said those reports were not conclusive, because they did not take into account the vast differences in upbringing among families.

Three points on an I.Q. test may not sound like much. But experts say it can be a tipping point for some people — the difference between a high B average and a low A, for instance. That, in turn, can have a cumulative effect that could mean the difference between admission to an elite private liberal-arts college and a less exclusive public one.

Moreover, researchers said yesterday that the results — being published today in separate papers in two journals, Science and Intelligence — would lead to more intensive study into the family dynamics behind such differences. Though the study was done in men, the scientists said the results would almost certainly apply to women as well.

“I consider these two papers the most important publications to come out in this field in 70 years; it’s a dream come true,” said Frank J. Sulloway, a psychologist at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Sulloway, who was not involved in the study but wrote an editorial accompanying it, added that “there was some room for doubt about this effect before, but that room has now been eliminated.”

Effects of birth order are notoriously difficult to study, and some critics are still dubious. Joseph Lee Rodgers, a psychologist at the University of Oklahoma and a longtime skeptic of such effects, said the new analysis was not conclusive.

“Past research included hundreds of reported birth order effects” that were not legitimate, Dr. Rodgers wrote in an e-mail message. “I’m not sure whether the patterns in the Science article are real or not; more description of methodology is required.”

In the study, Norwegian epidemiologists analyzed data on birth order, health status and I.Q. scores of 241,310 18- and 19-year-old men born from 1967 to 1976, using military records. After correcting for factors that may affect scores, including parents’ education level, maternal age at birth and family size, the researchers found that eldest children scored an average of 103.2, about 3 percent higher than second children (100.3) and 4 percent higher than thirdborns (99.0).

The difference was an average, meaning that it varied by family and showed up in most families but not all.

The scientists then looked at I.Q. scores in 63,951 pairs of brothers, and found the same results. Differences in household environments did not explain elder siblings’ higher scores.

Because sex has little effect on I.Q. scores, the results almost certainly apply to females as well, said Dr. Petter Kristensen, an epidemiologist at the University of Oslo and the lead author of the Science study. His co-author was Dr. Tor Bjerkedal, an epidemiologist at the Norwegian Armed Forces Medical Services.

To test whether the difference could be due to biological factors, the researchers examined the scores of young men who became the eldest in the household after an older sibling had died. Their scores came out the same, on average, as those of biological firstborns.

“This is quite firm evidence that the biological explanation is not true,” Dr. Kristensen said in a telephone interview.

Social scientists have proposed several theories to explain how birth order might affect intelligence scores. Firstborns have their parents’ undivided attention as infants, and even if that attention is later divided evenly with a sibling or more, it means that over time they will have more cumulative adult attention, in theory enriching their vocabulary and reasoning abilities.

But this argument does not explain a consistent finding in children under 12: among these youngsters, later-born siblings actually tend to outscore the eldest on I.Q. tests. Researchers theorize that this precociousness may reflect how new children alter the family’s overall intellectual resource pool.

It is welcome news that a new hydro-electric power plant is to be constructed in IItezhi-Tezhi, Southern province. What is baffling however is the notion that the new plant will alleviate the current power adages when the existing power potential is under-utilized. 

Zambia alone has the hydro-electric capacity to supply 75% to the entire continent but for some reason, ZESCO never seem to get their act together to exploit such potential. Since the new plant will be privately owned a run for ZESCO’s money may put it up to its toes, I guess … 

The most impressive thing out of the new project is that over $125 million will be pumped into the current economy and new jobs will be created, ZESCO will now have a major competitor … the list of economic benefits is actually endless. Kudos to the new owners and thanks a trillion

While great stride were made in the mining sector for the economic benefit of the entire nation, great bloopers were also made when it comes to protecting the environment. Pollutants and other poisonous chemicals have serious repercussions on our locals … 

Huge environmental hazards still exist and need immediate attention otherwise; many of our people in the next generations to come will have serious birth defects similar to those experienced in Japan after Hiroshima and Nagasaki …  

As Shapi Shacinda reported in the recent article to Reuters … “Up to 5,000 people have been affected by poisoning and the lives of about 60,000 children and adults are at risk, government officials say. Levels of lead poisoning above 120 micrograms per deciliter can kill.” 

It therefore behooves all of us to be proactive and help mitigate the circumstances for the benefit of future generations to come – government involvement not withstanding … thanks a trillion

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