The 10 poorest countries in the world by GDP per capita

Düsseldorf The corona economic shock hits poorer countries particularly hard for several reasons: Investments from richer countries are being scaled back, international investors are withdrawing their capital. The states themselves can raise few funds for economic stimulus programs and emigrants send less money to their countries of origin.

This could have serious consequences, especially for the poorest countries, warns the World Bank in its latest report. Accordingly, the corona crisis is expected to plunge at least 60 million people into absolute poverty this year. “There could be more,” said World Bank President David Malpass in an interview after the publication in early October.

But which are the poorest countries in the world? There are several ways to measure poverty. Some research only focuses on the financial data. Others are based on surveys of residents’ feelings or consider factors such as access to food, education and clothing.

This ranking measures the gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant. The data come from 2019 from the International Monetary Fund; current figures for 2020 are not yet available. The list shows which ten countries are among the poorest on earth.

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These are the ten poorest countries in the world in the 2021 ranking

10th place – Niger, West Africa

The gross domestic product in Niger in 2019 was 553.92 dollars per capita. It ranks tenth among the poorest countries in the world.
In comparison: In Germany, the gross domestic product per capita in 2019 was 48,634 dollars.

9th place – Sierra Leone, West Africa

Sierra Leone ranks ninth among the poorest countries in the world. Here, at $ 539.12, GDP per capita is somewhat lower than in Niger.

8th place – Madagascar, Africa (Indian Ocean)

In Madagascar, GDP per capita is $ 525.3 in 2019. This brings the country to eighth place in the ranking of the world’s poorest countries in 2019.

7th place – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa

With a gross domestic product of $ 508.95 per capita, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranks seventh in 2019.

6th place – Afghanistan, South Asia

In 2019, the gross domestic product per capita in Afghanistan is almost two dollars lower than in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With a gross domestic product of $ 507.29 per capita, Afghanistan ranks sixth.

5th place – Mozambique, Africa

Mozambique had a per capita GDP of 487.69 dollars in 2019. The country is the fifth poorest country in the world according to GDP per capita.

4th place – Central African Republic, Africa

The Central African Republic ranks fourth among the poorest countries in the world. Here there is a gross domestic product of $ 479.86 per inhabitant.

3rd place – Malawi, Africa

With a GDP of $ 377.72, Malawi ranks third among the poorest countries in the world.

2nd place – South Sudan, Africa

South Sudan has an even lower gross domestic product per capita. The North African state has a gross domestic product of only 368.84 dollars per capita.

1st place – Burundi, Africa

The poorest country in the world is Burundi. Here comes a GDP of only $ 269.83 for each inhabitant.

The 10 poorest countries in the world in the table

place Land GDP per inhabitant
1. Burundi 269,83 US-Dollar
2. South Sudan 368,84 US-Dollar
3. Malawi 377,72 US-Dollar
4. Central African Republic 479,86 US-Dollar
5. Mozambique 487,69 US-Dollar
6. Afghanistan 507,29 US-Dollar
7. Democratic Republic of Congo 508,95 US-Dollar
8. Madagascar 525,30 US-Dollar
9. Sierra Leone 539,12 US-Dollar
10. Niger 553,92 US-Dollar

Those: Statesman / IMF

For comparison: The ten richest countries in the world.


The Togolese have eliminated sleeping sickness

Rodrigue Apénou, 22, is a student in 2th year of IT management, in Lomé. He doesn’t know anything about sleeping sickness. “I don’t know about sleeping sickness. I never heard of it”, he tells VOA Africa.

Rodrigue Apénou was not born when Togo experienced its last case of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). It’s the same for his comrade Joël Atohoun, aged 21, who had to use his previous knowledge to remember.

It is a disease thought to be caused by a fly called a tsetse fly. We were taught that in elementary school “, he said proudly as if to taunt Rodrigue. Playing the experts, Joël continues, “as a sign, it can be noted that the person who is bitten will sleep a lot. It’s a bit like that “.

It was in 1996 that Togo recorded its last case of HAT, commonly known as sleeping sickness. The latter is characterized by sleep disorders as confirmed by Dr Kossi Badziklou, former coordinator of the HAT control program in Togo.

Dr Kossi Badziklou, former coordinator of the HAT control program in Togo, Lomé, September 2, 2020 (VOA / Kayi Lawson)

What we see in patients at a given level is a little messy sleep. That is, people who can spend the whole day sleeping and in really abnormal conditions. Someone to whom we serve a dish, who is at the table and who begins by sleeping without eating for example. Someone who goes to the field, who takes his hoe to work, he sits and sleeps all day “, explained this doctor. “Without proper treatment death is inevitable “, added Dr Badziklou.

Eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem should not lead to slackening, warns the former coordinator of the disease control program.

What we should not forget is that the disease can come back. Already in the 1960s many countries were at this stage “, he said. “But there was a relaxation and we were surprised by the resurgence of this disease”, recalled Dr Kossi Badziklou.

By eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem, Togo becomes the first in Africa to achieve this feat. WHO has acknowledged that the country has met all the criteria.

To eliminate human African trypanosomiasis, it must be proven that there have been no indigenous cases at least during the last 10 years. Beyond that, it was necessary to follow up and then present a file. A very good file because it is necessary to document the entire history of the disease since it started in the country “, detailed Dr Fatoumata Binta Diallo, WHO resident representative in Togo.

After the elimination of sleeping sickness, Togo will work to verify that its transmission has stopped. The last level, which is its total eradication, concerns all endemic countries, as was the case on August 25 for wild polio in Africa.

According to a WHO file, the disease is present in 36 African countries.


Corona in Burundi: Hunt for presidential killers

Former President Pierre Nkurunziza didn’t want to know about Corona and died. His successor is now declaring war on the pandemic.

Corona test in Bujumbura. In future there will be 250 of them a day Photo: Berthier Mugiraneza / ap

BERLIN taz | Following the death of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on June 8th, according to unconfirmed but plausible reports as a result of a Covid 19 infection, his successor Évariste Ndayishimiye is now turning around in the bitterly poor country’s policy against the corona virus.

When the newly elected parliament was sworn in on June 30, the new president declared the coronavirus the “worst enemy of Burundi”. This surprised him, because the former general and close confidante of the deceased is actually considered to be one who is more likely to continue the policies of his predecessor.

Nkurunziza had chosen Ndayishimiye as his successor in the May 20 elections. In the fight against the corona pandemic, he had used mass prayers instead of precautionary measures such as masks or distance orders. The Burundians were “protected by God,” the president had preached.

At the campaign events in May, thousands and thousands of people without protective masks came together to sing and dance. In order to avoid any criticism, Nkrurunziza also kicked out the representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Photo: Evrard Meet / reuters

250 tests daily

Laxity in dealing with the virus apparently cost him his life. He officially died of cardiac arrest, but local media said that it occurred as a result of a Covid 19 infection. Nkurunziza’s wife and other relatives had previously tested positive for the virus.

Now the reins are tightened. Large-scale mass tests started in Burundi’s largest city, Bujumbura, last week. “With this campaign, we are now working to provide access to tests that were previously denied,” said Health Minister Thaddée Ndikumana at the opening of the first test station. “We think it is now time to tackle this problem together.” There are enough test kids and laboratory capacities available, he emphasized. The aim is to carry out around 250 tests a day.

According to a WHO report on Tuesday, only 269 corona infections are recorded in Burundi, one of them fatal. However, it is reasonable to assume that the number of unreported cases is significantly higher due to the tests that have not yet been carried out and the precautionary measures avoided.

In recent days, rumors have spread in Burundi that newly appointed Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni has been hospitalized with suspicion of Covid-19. The post of prime minister had been abolished in 1998 and since then power has been concentrated in the presidency.

Power struggle in the ruling party

The reintroduction of the head of government, separated from the president, and the appointment of Bunyoni to this post by parliament now testify to power struggles within the ruling party CNDD-FDD (National Council / Forces for the Defense of Democracy), a former Hutu rebel movement after the death of its long-time leader Nkurunziza.

President Ndayishimiye, once the army chief, and Prime Minister Bunyoni, once the security minister, are both high generals and were guerrilla leaders in the civil war from 1993 to 2005. Both are radical hardliners, both of whom were considered potential successors to the late president. Party cadres in the Bunyoni camp were upset that Nkurunziza chose Ndayishimiye earlier this year.

Apparently Ndayishimiye is now looking to join forces by bringing Bunyoni to his side. This is on the US sanctions list due to alleged human rights crimes, as is the newly appointed Interior and Security Secretary Gervais Ndirakobuca, known as “Ndakugarika” (“I’ll hang you up”).

After all: Immelde Sabushimike, a representative of the Twa minority, became Minister for Social Affairs and Human Rights. It is the first time that the Twa, known colloquially as pygmies, are represented in the government.

Hope of opening

International human rights organizations now have hopes that the country will open under the new president Ndayishimiye and that a reversal will also take place in dealing with human rights. According to the UN, 335,000 Burundians currently live as refugees in neighboring countries. Political violence, particularly by militias of the ruling party and security forces, has claimed at least 1,700 deaths since 2015, according to UN estimates.

The UN commission of inquiry for Burundi on Tuesday called on the new government to “break the cycle of violence” and work again with the United Nations. In 2019, the Burundi government closed the office of the UN Human Rights Commission in Bujumbura and terminated Burundi’s membership in the International Criminal Court.


progress compromised by the Covid-19 epidemic

Thousands of Muslims took part in Istanbul on Friday in the first prayer organized at the former Hagia Sophia since its conversion into a mosque.

It was the first prayer organized at the former Hagia Sophia since its controversial conversion into a mosque; a ceremony in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited a passage from the Koran.

During this prayer broadcast live, Mr. Erdogan, who wore the Muslim Djellabah for the occasion, read the first sura of the Koran. Then the four minarets of Hagia Sophia issued the call to prayer on Friday. Then the four minarets of Hagia Sophia issued the call to prayer signaling the beginning of the rite.

“We are witnessing a historic moment (…) A long separation comes to an end,” said Religious Authority leader Ali Erbas who, during his preaching, held a scimitar symbolizing the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453.

This is the first collective prayer organized in 86 years at Hagia Sophia, a major architectural work built in the 6th century which has successively been a Byzantine basilica, an Ottoman mosque and a museum.

On July 10, Erdogan decided to return the building to Muslim worship after a court ruling revoking its museum status obtained in 1934.

This measure has aroused the anger of certain countries, notably Greece, which closely follows the fate of Byzantine heritage in Turkey. Pope Francis also said he was “very distressed” by this reconversion.

Despite the epidemic of new coronavirus, compact crowds formed in the morning around Hagia Sophia, AFP journalists noted. Several faithful even spent the night there.

“This is historic. May Allah bless Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is doing such beautiful things. I am very moved,” Aynur Saatçi, a 49-year-old housewife who cut short her vacation to come, told AFP. pray in Hagia Sophia.

– “Breaking the chains” –

For many observers, the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque aims to galvanize the conservative and nationalist electoral base of Mr. Erdogan, in a context of economic difficulties aggravated by the pandemic.

By making this decision, the Head of State, often accused of Islamist drift, is also attacking the legacy of the founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal, who had transformed Hagia Sophia into a museum to make it the emblem of the Republic. ‘a secular Turkey.

As a symbol, Mr. Erdogan chose for the first prayer the day of the 97th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne which fixes the borders of modern Turkey and which the president, nostalgic for the Ottoman Empire, often calls for revision.

Hagia Sophia remains in Turkey closely associated with the capture of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmet II, said the Conqueror. An Ottoman brass band was also present on the forecourt of the building on Friday.

“This is the moment when Turkey breaks its chains. From now on it will be able to do what it wishes, without being subject to the West,” said Selahattin Aydas, a trader who came to pray in Hagia Sophia.

“No one other than our president could have turned it back into a mosque,” he adds.

The Friday prayer also comes against a backdrop of strong tensions between Ankara and Athens, particularly related to Turkish hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece strongly denounced the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, seeing it as a “provocation against the civilized world”.

– “Political show” –

In protest in Greece, Orthodox churches were to ring their bells on Friday. “It is a day of mourning for (…) all of Christendom,” said the head of the Greek Church, Archbishop Iéronymos.

Israfil, a kilim seller near Hagia Sophia, is also unhappy with the conversion of Hagia Sophia, fearing a “negative impact on tourism” which has already suffered greatly from the epidemic.

“This whole show is for political reasons,” he grumbles.

But Ankara rejected all criticism in the name of “sovereignty”, stressing that tourists will be able to continue to visit this building classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

In any case, the authorities’ haste to organize a first prayer there raises concerns.

“The measures taken in haste (…) can have disastrous consequences and cause irreversible damage” to the 15-century-old building, underlines Tugba Tanyeri Erdemir, researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

The fate of the Byzantine mosaics found inside Hagia Sophia is of particular concern to historians.

The Religious Affairs Authority (Diyanet) claimed that they would be covered by curtains only during prayers, as Islam prohibited figurative representations, and would remain visible the rest of the time.


Corona rumors of Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza is dead

The outgoing President of Burundi died. The government confirmed reports of opposition media. Covid-19 was the cause of death?

Pierre Nkurunziza, on the day of the election in Burundi, 20. May Photo: Clovis Guy Siboniyo/reuters

BERLIN taz | Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has died. The government confirmed on Tuesday afternoon the death of the 55-year-old after only a few days in the hospital. He died on Monday morning of a heart, after his heart “stood” still.

The usually informed Burundian radio station RPA (Radio Publique Africaine), which works because of the Repression in the homeland from abroad, had already been reported previously relying on unauthorized sources, Nkurunziza, had died on Monday afternoon. Presidential adviser Willy Nyamitwe had tweeted only that were Burundians were ready to overcome all challenges. Then the speculation was a shot in the herb.

On Saturday, Nkurunziza came to a clinic after he had felt at a football game in his home town of Ngozi uncomfortable. Other members of the family should be ill, for example, his wife and his mother. Observers came from an infection with the Coronavirus.

The hospital of Karusi, where the head of state was treated, should be protected according to the information of journalists by heavily armed soldiers. Eye witnesses reported of a lively helicopter traffic between Karusi and the largest Burundi city Bujumbura.

President Pierre Nkurunziza on a wheel.

Pierre Nkurunziza, in the Jersey of the football club FC Hallelujah Photo: Clovis Guy Siboniyo/reuters

Ngozi in the North of the country a Hotspot to the corona pandemic in Burundi, the electoral campaign for the presidential election of the 20th century. May very quickly had spread, because there is no spacing regulations have been complied with. The official Corona data of 83 infection cases and deaths are considered to be unreliable. According to reports, alone, died in the prison of Ngozi, where 2000 prisoners in jail, several people to the viral disease.

Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel leader in Burundi, ruled the country with his former rebel movement CNDD-FDD (national Committee/forces for defence of democracy) since the formal end of a civil war in 2005. In 2015, his candidacy had triggered a in the Constitution has not provided for a third term in office, a coup attempt, as well as severe unrest with the dead, and the country is in a deep crisis. Many critical voices have been driven into exile, Pro-government militias are supposed to be for numerous cases of torture and murder.

2020 Nkurunziza, was not competed in the elections again. Under his successor, Evariste Ndayishimiye, a Confidant of the former President, he should bear the honorary title of “Supreme leader of Patriotism”. Ndayishimiye was, according to the official results from the election as the winner with 68,72% of the votes, followed by opposition leader Agathon Rwasa, with 24,19 percent.


Burundi votes – despite everything (daily newspaper young world)

Evrard Ngendakumana / Reuters

As if there were no pandemic: President Pierre Nkurunziza (right) and his “heir to the throne” Evariste Ndayishimiye (Gitega, April 27)

Despite the pandemic, the eleven million inhabitants of Burundi, the poorest country in Africa, will elect a new president tomorrow. According to the new constitution of May 2018, the incumbent head of state Pierre Nkurunziza could have competed for the fourth time. But as promised in the last election in 2015, he resigned and his National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) sent 52-year-old General Évariste Ndayishimiye against the challenger, former rebel leader Agathon Rwasa by the newly founded party “National Council for Freedom” (CNL).

In the fight against the spread of the corona virus, the government of the East African country has opposed the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and has not introduced mass tests and curfews. Instead, hygiene rules and the principle of keeping a distance are propagated and barriers are set up. For the rest, the government, like neighboring Tanzania, relies on “trust in God” and the immune system of its young population with an average age of 17 years. The conflict escalated last week and the WHO country director and three other experts were expelled. It is said unofficially that they “issued tests and collected samples,” according to the Burundian news portal Region Week on May 13th. As of Monday, 42 coronavirus infections and a Covid 19 death were officially confirmed, according to the broadcaster Africanews reported on his homepage. Major events were also held during the election campaign, with buckets of water and soap as a protective measure.

In terms of health, the HI virus has been the number one threat in Burundi for many years. Malaria and cholera cost thousands of lives a year, Ebola is currently threatening to spread again from the neighboring country of the DRC. Minister of Health Thaddée Ndikumana’s share of the poor country is over three percent of the state budget. Burundi can rely on solidarity from the People’s Republic of China, which provides $ 400 million in medicines and protective equipment, like the state broadcaster RTNB reported online on April 4th.

When Nkurunziza announced his third candidacy in the run-up to the last presidential election in 2015, contrary to constitutional provisions, tensions escalated. Opposition forces called for an boycott of the election, according to the UN there were more than 200 fatalities within a few months, and around 200,000 people left Burundi. In a report published last Thursday, the responsible UN commission of inquiry is concerned about the increase in political intolerance and the numerous acts of violence during the election campaign. Above all, clashes between members of the CNDD-FDD and CNL would have resulted in several injuries and even deaths. The ruling party was primarily responsible for hate speech and incitement to violence against political opponents, but was not held accountable for this.

CNL challenger Rwasa said back in February that the elections would only be recognized “if they were organized transparently.” The government has only invited representatives of the East African Community (EAC) from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan as election observers. Contrary to the otherwise rejected pandemic measures, however, they are obliged to go into a 14-day quarantine, such as Region Week reported on May 10th. In its report, the UN already warned that “under these conditions, carrying out the election process and / or announcing the official election results scheduled for June 4 could trigger a new and deeper cycle of political violence.”


South Korea launches sports season despite Covid-19

Rarely has a baseball showdown between SK Wyverns and the Hanwha Eagles garnered so much attention. The latter’s 5-2 defeat on Tuesday at a Munhak stadium in Incheon behind closed doors, but national victory for South Korea, the second country most affected by Covid-19 in late February, which now celebrates the opening of the season of KBO League (Korean Baseball Organization), the elite of South Korean baseball, the ultra-popular sport in the country. Models in the stands as spectators, encouragement from fans broadcast by videoconference via a giant screen: the opening match was mainly symbolic, before the resumption of other sports leagues in the coming days.

Friday (10 a.m. in France), it will be the turn of the K-League referees to whistle for the start of the football season, again in quasi-deserted stadiums. Before the women’s golf circuit, where eight South Koreans are among the top 20 in the world, follows suit from Monday.

Strict sanitary conditions

A sports agenda which is gradually filling up, in compliance with the strict conditions promulgated jointly by the federations and the government. In Tuesday’s five baseball games, originally scheduled for March 28, players were required to wear a mask all the time, except when they were on the field and on the sidelines. They also all had to undergo two temperature checks just before each meeting. Obviously, no famous “high five” or hand shakes, or sputum on the ground. It is also impossible to sign autographs outside, unless wearing latex gloves.

Measures certainly binding, but mandatory under penalty of sanctions. In the event that a person (player, coach, staff member) is tested positive at Covid-19 during the regular season, the meetings will be interrupted for at least three weeks.

These rules could be tested during preseason games, authorized since April 11 for football for example. Players are prohibited from speaking to each other during the games, nor from being in contact with the referees. What annoy some of them. Kim Do-hyuk, who wears the captain’s armband at Incheon United, says he is “Impossible not to speak to your teammates. If we can’t talk on the pitch, we might as well not play football at all ”, the midfielder told reporters after a training match.

The puzzle will be less important for golf, where the risk of transmission is close to zero. The greens will accommodate 144 golfers, including world numbers 6 and 10, Kim Sei-young and Lee Jeong-eun, at the South Korean Women’s Federation (KLPGA) championship, scheduled for May 14 in Yangju, east of Seoul.

Messy diffusers

So far, only a few countries (Burundi, Belarus …) still let play on their soil, and the recent meetings that have just been disputed (tennis exhibition tournament in Höhr-Grenzhausen in Germany on 1er May, football matches in Armenia and Vietnam) are still only friendly. The majority of the leagues being stopped around the globe, that is to say that these returns to competition will be very scrutinized outside the peninsula. In the same way that the Korean authorities looked at how the Professional League of Chinese Baseball (CPBL), based in Taiwan, had managed in mid-April to start its season, with great reinforcement of artifacts – including robots which play the drum – to make up for the lack of atmosphere in the stands.

Behind the scenes, the atmosphere is quite different, due to the sudden notoriety of Korean sport in the world, however temporary it may be. Unable to offer a real sports offer to their viewers, many foreign broadcasters have decided to buy the rights to the K-League, as soon as the announcement of a proven return to competition. The entry shock between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, triple defending champion, and Suwon Bluewings, winner of the last FA Cup in 2019, will be broadcast live in ten countries, including China, Hong Kong and Croatia, but also in full on YouTube. France, Germany, Italy and the United States have also made offers to broadcast.

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Baseball was not forgotten in the negotiations: in the United States, the sports channel ESPN can now broadcast six KBO matches on its antennas. Enough to satisfy many Americans who lack MLB. “We are very pleased to become the exclusive English-language partner of KBO and to highlight […] the high level of this competition, responded Burke Magnus, vice president of programming for ESPN. We have been broadcasting baseball for a long time and we are looking forward to offering these games to sports fans. ” Same enthusiasm on the side of the Korean Federation, which intends to surf this unexpected advertisement. I am honored that KBO is being introduced globally and I hope this can be an opportunity for the development of our league and this sport, rejoices Chung Un-Chan, the boss of the KBO, in words relayed by ESPN. During this unprecedented and difficult period, I hope that the KBO will be able to console certain audiences and provide indications to follow for the world of sport.

Roman Métairie


Covid-19: in Burundi, the football championship continues despite the epidemic

As the whole world trembles under the threat of Covid-19, life in Burundi continues, almost as if nothing had happened. The authorities have even decided to keep the first and second division football championships open without closed doors. The decision was announced in early April by the Minister of Health. While some Burundians say they are reassured by the serenity of political leaders in the face of the pandemic, others fear that the government has not grasped the gravity of the situation.


Measles speed race, deadlier than Ebola

At least 18 people were killed, including 12 rangers who came to the aid of civilians, Friday in an attack perpetrated by an armed group inside the Virunga national park, natural and tourist jewel in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In addition to the twelve rangers, their two drivers and four civilians died in the unclaimed attack north of Goma, a park spokesman told an AFP journalist.

A security source has for its part made a report of 13 eco-guards and five civilians killed.

There were also “wounded, some of whom are fighting for their survival,” the park said in a statement, referring to a day to mark with a “black stone” for this site classified as World Heritage by Unesco and “the residents of neighboring communities “.

It is one of the heaviest attacks targeting some 700 Virunga rangers, 176 of whom have been killed in 20 years, in this region of Kivu destabilized by the violence of armed groups for a quarter of a century.

In its statement, the park said the attack was carried out near its headquarters in Rumangabo, in the mountains of Rutshuru territory.

“All the information available at this stage indicates that it was an attack against civilians. The guards were not the target and died while assisting the civilian vehicle which had been taken under fire from the attackers” , details the press release.

Virunga Park claims it “is unable to provide details on the motivations and identity of the attackers”, and warns of “the spread of rumors and unrelated information verified. “

Covering an area of ​​7,769 km2, the Virunga cover part of the province of North Kivu (almost 60,000 km2), especially along the border with Rwanda and Uganda.

– Active armed groups –

The oldest natural reserve in Africa unseen in 1925, the park is a sanctuary for mountain gorillas.

The great apes are one of its tourist attractions, with the spectacular ascent of the Nyiaragongo volcano, and a nocturnal bivouac in the red glow of its active crater at more than 3,000 m above sea level.

But the park is also the field of action for dozens of armed groups active in the region, such as the Rwandan Hutu rebels of the FDLR, very present in the attack area.

Trusteeship Institute of Virunga, the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) has identified all the threats to its natural jewel: “illegal production of charcoal”, “poaching of large mammals, especially the hippopotamus” , “illegal fishing” as well as the “presence of armed groups” and the “invasion by illegal diggers of minerals”.

In May 2018, Virunga Park had suspended its tourist activity, following the kidnapping of two British tourists, who were finally released. An eco-guard was killed in this attack.

The park had reopened its activity to tourists in February 2019.

In 2014, the park director, Emmanuel de Mérode, was injured in an armed attack.

That same year, the park had again gained notoriety in the world with the documentary Virunga produced in 2014 by the American actor Leonardo Di Caprio.

The Virunga company has also embarked on the construction of hydroelectric power stations, for the production and distribution of electricity in Goma and its region.

The visits had been suspended since March 19 as part of the preventive measures taken by the authorities in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.

“However, the personnel and the technical teams are the only ones authorized to circulate on these areas, while respecting the measures advocated by our leaders”, specified the body responsible for the park.


Corrosive South Korean film “Parasite” broke down barriers

The South Korean film “Parasite”, both a thriller and a corrosive satire on social inequalities, succeeded in breaking down language barriers to meet immense success around the world, up to winning three Oscars in one evening.

It is a consecration for “Parasite”, the first Korean film ever awarded an Oscar. Exceptional crowning of a year 2019 marking the hundredth anniversary of Korean cinema.

Its director Bong Joon-ho first received a first statuette for the best original screenplay. Then his film was crowned best international feature film, and he received the Oscar for best director.

Bong Joon-ho’s film had previously won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival last year and the Golden Globe for “best foreign language film” in January, two prestigious prizes which already constituted a first for a southern film. -Korean.

“Parasite” is also the first foreign language film to be awarded the “Best Actor Set”, the most popular award from the Screen Actors Guild, as well as two Bafta awards for British cinema.

If this feature film has won over an international audience, it is because it tackles problems common to all societies, explains Jason Bechervaise, professor at the South Korean University of Soongsil Cyber.

“There is a lot of political anger around the world, and it is compounded by a palpable feeling of growing social inequality. The word” parasite + “really fits that,” he told AFP. .

– Poverty and wealth “inextricably linked” –

Dark comedy, “Parasite” tells how four members of a family of unemployed – who vegetate in a dark and sordid apartment overgrown with cockroaches – manage to get into the daily life of a wealthy family in Seoul.

Their life begins to change radically the day the son becomes the private tutor of English for the daughter of this wealthy family, who lives in a sumptuous contemporary villa surrounded by a magnificent garden.

The film by Bong Joon-ho, known for his thrillers camouflaging satires of South Korean society, shows “very well how poverty and wealth are inextricably linked”, explains to AFP John Lie, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The rich are parasites on the poor, like the poor are on the rich,” he said.

The international success of this work, especially in the United States, is all the more remarkable since the English language dominates international cinema and the success of non-English-speaking films is rare.

In France, “Parasite” has become the most seen Palme d’Or in cinemas for fifteen years.

– “A universal interest” –

During the Golden Globes ceremony, Mr. Bong – who was signing his seventh film there – called out to American spectators: “Once you have overcome the subtitle barrier, you will open yourself up to so many other amazing films” .

For Bao Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American director, Mr. Bong’s Oscar is an “example to follow for future Asian and American filmmakers”.

“Parasite” is a film “deeply rooted in its representation of Korean society, and has in no way yielded to the expectations of a foreign audience,” he told AFP.

Its success will open new horizons for other films, wants to believe Deborah Shaw, professor of cinematographic studies at the University of Portsmouth in Great Britain.

This should “make more international producers and distributors likely to invest in non-English speaking films,” she said.

But in any case, it is proof that a “good story, told in an excellent way and with universal interest, can transcend” language barriers, according to her.