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Author: EEA

Of a vaccination apartheid

Compiled by Moreblessings Chidaushe-Norwegian Church Aid

Just as we thought and had highly hoped that 2021 would be a much better year – we are waking up to an even more difficult 2021, new variants of the virus are sprouting everywhere, some faster and more dangerous than the first, the world was never prepared for this.

Roll-out of the vaccine initially developed for the first variant is now in full swing across Europe and America, Africa is yet to start its own process and even when it starts the roll out,it will be at a much limited level compared to the rest of the world.

When the pandemic struck in early 2020, it quickly became amply evident that COVID-19 would hit the poorest the most – even in its second phase, the unequal nature of the impact of the pandemic is still abundantly visible. The poor could not self-isolate under safe and decent conditions, without access to safe water they could not wash their hands regularly as is advised in the COVID-19 protocol, they could not stay at home lest they die of hunger and this continues unabated.

The deep structural inequalities of the global society are also now being further exposed by the unequal access to the vaccine. As has been reiterated by the People’s Vaccine Campaign – we are currently witnessing vaccine apartheid at play – the rich-poor divide as stark as ever.  Canada is reported to have secured many times more than it needs of the different vaccines, United Kingdom, Sweden and many other European countries expect to have completed vaccinating all their citizens by the third quarter of 2021 if not earlier. “wealthy countries including Australia, Canada and the United States have struck deals with manufacturers to provide their countries with more than enough doses for their populations, leaving lower-income countries unable to immunize but a small proportion of their population” (Cfr.org, 2021). To date, Africa has not yet started vaccinating its people and when it starts, only enough for front-line workers has been secured, the majority will have to wait for a long while to get their jab and heaven knows exactly how long that while will be. The global south once again bears the brunt of a highly unequal world.

The poor will feel the impacts of COVID-19 for a long time to come, the poor will continue to limp on in finding a better solution moving forward. Sadly, lessons learnt from COVID-19 do not seem to have made a difference in approach. For our governments, there is still no sense of urgency to correct the pre-COVID-19 conditions that landed us where we are – at least not to the person in the street like me. Where is the urgency by national governments to strengthen the public health systems, education systems, food security, public infrastructure?  Where is the urgency- beyond lockdowns to deal with the situation at hand? Arguing during the very early stages of the pandemic that, COVID-19 had been an eye opener and that things would never be same again we would forever do better, a friend did warn me not to raise my hopes too high. Without the requisite urgency to deal with finding a long-term solution to cushion society against further harmful damage of pandemic and other emergencies, socio-economic inequalities will continue to render the poorest vulnerable. Addressing the rampant socio-economic inequalities will no doubt be a major contributory factor to building more societal resilience to this pandemic and other future catastrophes.

Society will also have to play its part and take responsibility for ensuring the fight for COVID-19 is won, we all have a critical role to play. National governments have been struggling with compliance of some of the most basic protocols such as wearing masks, correct wearing of the masks and maintaining physical distancing. In many cases people simply don’t comply. A recent personal experience – and sadly I have heard many similar stories standing in a queue in a supermarket in central Harare I was harassed and threatened by a fellow shopper simply for reminding him to keep social distance as he kept moving too close to me. The fellow shopper aggressively told me that he would not comply and would not be told by me a fellow shopper to comply because I was just another shopper and did not work for the supermarket. I am still trying to reflect on the level of aggression and anger in the fellow customer’s response – it might well be that his frustration was about more than just the COVID-19 protocol but on my part I needed to protect my life and will continue to do so. However, I need to know and feel that I can do it without getting an aggressive response from a fellow human who should anyways be playing their part to save their own and other people’s lives. And by the way the supermarket on its part was not doing anything to enforce compliance – hence the fellow customer also did not see the need to comply. An all of society approach is what will move us forward, government, citizens, business.

On their part, national governments need to urgently address the issue of the health and safety concerns of the vaccine. There is a worrying growing unease, suspicion, negativity and resistance around the vaccine. There is simply not enough public information and popular education on the vaccine and how it will work and most importantly its impact, raising real fears of its safety from the citizenry. As they say, nature hates vacuums. In the absence of this critical information, social media is fueling conspiracy theories and misinformation about potential bad long-term impacts of the vaccine cementing the resistance, with some even talking about an intent to wipe away the south. Urgent popular education is required to educate and inform citizens that vaccination is the way to save us.

Given the experiences of massive corruption that bedeviled the Personal Protective Equipment procurement, guard should be high. Faith leaders, faith-based organisations, grassroots movements and civil society formations such as the People’s Vaccine campaign should play an oversight role to ensure transparency and accountability in the rolling-out of the vaccine to ensure that there is equitable access for all.

This too shall come to pass!

Diamonds failing to maintain their lustre

Compiled by Nyasha Chingono

WHEN Marange witnessed a diamond rush in 2006, its inhabitants dared to dream of a better life.

Nearly two decades after the diamond rich soils were invaded by massive mining companies, government and individuals looking to stick their fingers in the honey pot, Marange is a trail of poverty.

A drive along the vast swathes of the diamond rich planes of Marange, one is greeted with deep despair. A community that never benefited from its vast resources.

Far away in the city, the rich who plundered the resource, live large in opulence.

The curse of owning rich minerals still haunts Marange years after big mining consortiums descended on their land.

“We have nothing to show that we ever had diamonds here,” Clever Mupasi, 60, a community elder in Marange said.

He makes a cursory gaze across the vast swathes of land which have been reduced to piles of sand and deep pits.

“This is what is left of our beautiful land. When diamond was discovered here, we thought the future of our children was now set but we were wrong. We listened to their lies and curse ourselves for ever believing in the capitalists,” Mupasi said, gazing to the clear blue skies as if to summon divine strength. 

While the government made it mandatory for mining companies operating in communities to cede 10% to the community through the Community Share Ownership Trust, the Marange community has not seen development in their land. 

Despite committing to uplifting livelihoods in Marange-Zimunya, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is yet to implement meaningful projects in the area.

“We were sold a dummy. These empty promises continue to hurt our community, hope is fading daily,” Moses Mhlanga, another community elder said. 

“We are yet to get our share of the profit these companies have made from diamond activities.” 

The companies have left a trail of irreparable destruction while other diamond companies continue to plunder the resources.

The Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (MZCSOT) was launched by the late former President Robert Mugabe in 2011 with the goal of communities benefiting from their resources.

But years after the launch, people here are still clinging to hope for better schools, health facilities and livelihoods.

With poverty stalking the community following repeated droughts, the Marange community is desperate for interventions. About 8 million Zimbabweans are facing hunger this year, the World Food Programme (WFP) says.

In a bid to help communities’ benefit from their resources, the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is pushing to influence mining revenue transparency and benefit sharing in the extractives sector in Zimbabwe.

In a report entitled Tracing the progress towards revenue transparency and revenue sharing in the extractives sector in Zimbabwe (2013-2019), the advocacy campaign seeks to help mining communities to realise benefits of the community share ownership trusts some of which have either been forfeited by companies. 

The PWYP Zimbabwe  was birthed in the same year that government came up with regulations for setting up mining community share ownership trusts. 

The campaign’s focus on mining transparency and accountability issues remains as critical as ever. With a huge mineral wealth potential, mining could be leveraged to support Zimbabwe’s economic recovery, stabilisation and growth agenda,” reads the report. 

Since the 2000 land reform, the mining sector has been one of the biggest contributors to economic growth. The sector contributed US$2.9 billion, accounting for 60% to country’s

total export earnings in 2018. 

Mining employs around 35,000 people, of which 99% are indigenous Zimbabweans, an average of 75% are from the local communities, and nearly 7% are female, the report reads.

While the mining sector contributes immensely to economic growth, the community should also benefit from the resources.

Therefore, the right of communities to benefit from resources in their localities is enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution.

According to the report communities are unaware of how they should benefit from the community share ownership trust, hence it is difficult for PWYP.

“On the ground, some service delivery points like schools and clinics are not aware of how they are supposed to benefit from the revenue sharing arrangements between central government and local governments. But a big challenge already lies ahead for civil society, especially the PWYP campaign, to ensure transparency, accountability and citizen participation in the management and utilisation of devolution funds,” the report reads. 

PWYP also laments the lack of clarity in the constitution on how communities can access mining benefits. “Particularly PWYP members, have been pushing for policy and practice reforms to improve the development impact of CSOT on LESD. All this work has been precipitated by the government’s thrust to open the mining sector for investment, taking a pro large-scale investor stance in the process and disregarding the constitutional right of communities to benefit from resources in their localities,” reads the report. 

The report notes that the mining sector transparency framework in Zimbabwe fails to meet the bottom bar. 

As a result, citizens and civil society lack the information leverage to effectively ask the government and corporates hard questions on how their resources are managed to deliver an optimal national development dividend.

The report notes that there is a need for robust advocacy to ensure that community’s benefit from their resources and the creation of a transparent environment by mining companies. 

Consultant for Mineral Supply Chains

Company: Projekt-Consult GmbH
Country: Germany
Duty Station: Hamburg
Duration: 1-year employment contract with possibility of extension (full or part-time)
Starting Date: July 2020
Deadline for application: 10.06.2020
Company Description
Projekt-Consult GmbH is a German consulting company specialised in implementing international cooperation projects in the field of responsible mining and sourcing. Founded in 1979, Projekt-Consult has gained a unique experience with technical solutions, capacity building, and strategic advice on issues such as mineral governance, artisanal and small-scale mining or technical, environmental, and social dimensions of resource extraction. More information on http://www.projekt-consult.de/

In 2014, Projekt-Consult has become a member of GFA Consulting Group – one of the leading European consulting companies for implementing development cooperation programs.

Job description
For our office in Hamburg, we are currently looking for an open-minded and Spanish-speaking consultant (m/f/d) to join our team. The consultant will be involved in the management of the EU-Latin America Mineral Development Network Platform (www.mineralplatform.eu) and support the team in the area of responsible sourcing.

The duty station will be Hamburg, with possibility of travelling to developing countries worldwide. Key responsibilities will include:

  • Information gathering and preparation of data relevant to EU-Latin America cooperation in the EU-Latin America Mineral Development Network Platform
  • Leading the acquisition process of new projects, including elaboration and coordination of technical and financial proposals;
  • Conducting technical short-term consultancy missions, including participation in feasibility and project preparatory studies and advisory services;
  • Establishing and maintaining regular professional contacts and networking with clients, partners and sector experts;
  • Writing of reports, concepts and presentations as well as contributing to knowledge and quality management.

Qualifications

  • University degree (Master or PhD) in social sciences, business administration or a related area with a focus on supply chains or international cooperation;
  • At least 3 years of relevant working experience in the extractive sector or with international supply chain projects;
  • Familiarity with international markets, traceability and certification of mineral resources;
  • Full proficiency in written and spoken English and Spanish; German would be an advantage;
  • Understanding of the development cooperation sector and strategies of the relevant donor agencies would be an asset;
  • Strong writing, communication and presentation skills;
  • Ability to manage complex situations with a sense of pragmatism.

Projekt-Consult offers a future-oriented work place in a multicultural environment with a strong focus on values and the joint aim to provide the best possible solutions for our clients and partners in the developing world.

Interested candidates should send their complete application (cover letter, CV, work references / certificates) by email to:

Ms Barbara Muratori
GFA Consulting Group GmbH
Recruiting Department
Email: barbara.muratori@gfa-group.de
Tel.: (49) 40 603 06 – 222