South African President Jacob Zuma and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela joined the rest of the nation in hymns and eulogies during a day of prayer, following the death of Nelson Mandela last Thursday.
Nigeria's efforts to boost production and increase profits for farmers has recently been recognised. Its Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina was awarded with the prestigious Forbes Africa Person of the Year award.
An international conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi has brought together ministers, economists, scientists and development experts to review and recommend policy action towards incorporating the valuation of natural resources and ecosystems services in development planning and accounting in Africa. Natural capital is a critical asset, especially for low-income countries, where it makes up around 36% of total wealth, according to recent World Bank estimates. In May 2012, 10 African countries, along with various public and private organizations, adopted the Gaborone Declaration, which outlines a set of concrete principles and development goals that include valuing natural capital in the development planning process. As of 2005, half of Africa's most biologically rich terrestrial areas lost more than 50% of their area due to cultivation, degradation or urbanization.
South Africa's deputy president has re-launched the country's HIV counselling and testing campaign to mark World Aids Day. Kgalema Motlanthe, who is also the chairperson of the National Aids Council, underwent an HIV test at a mobile testing station in the mining town of Piet Retief in Mpumalanga to raise awareness of the importance of getting tested. The focus of the campaign was mainly to encourage men to get circumcised. Studies have shown that circumcision reduces a heterosexual male's risk of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent. Currently there is an estimated 6.4 million HIV-positive people in South Africa, 2.4 million of them are on the treatment programme, the biggest in the world. This year, the health ministry introduced a single dose anti-retroviral drug to make it easier for those receiving treatment.
With about six million people infected with the HIV virus - more than 10 percent of the country's population - South Africa carries the world's heaviest HIV/AIDS caseload. But it also has one of the world's largest treatment programmes. Ahead of World Aids Day on Sunday, the head of South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the highest body that advises the government on all HIV and tuberculosis related policies, programmes and interventions, says that much more needs to be done to prevent new infections. Dr Fareed Addullah said the challenge in curbing new infections is to change people's behaviour.
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