World Tour – Locusts in Kenya, and a funeral in Argentina

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa correspondent Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Nigerian woman to head WTO—We start today here in Africa.

The World Trade Organization appointed its first female and first African leader on Monday. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a former Nigerian finance minister and World Bank veteran.

AUDIO: I will say that it is both exciting and daunting at the same time to be here because I take the reigns of the WTO at a time of great uncertainty and challenge.

She will take over an organization mired in multiple crises. Even before COVID-19 battered the global economy, the WTO was weighed down by stalled trade talks and struggled to curb trade tensions between the United States and China.

The previous US administration successfully blocked Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment last year. But the Biden White House reversed course, paving the way for her unanimous selection by the 164 member countries. 

Fighting locusts in Kenya—Next we head to east Africa.

AUDIO: [Sound of helicopter]

Kenya’s Food and Agriculture Organization has launched a massive effort to combat crop-destroying locusts. It has reconfigured tracking software used to hunt poachers and illegal loggers, to find and kill locust swarms.

AUDIO: We’ve been part of the desert locusts surveying and controls side of things from January last year, you know, our approach is completely being changed by good data, by timely data, and by accurate data, and you know with that certainly for Kenya in this way we’ve stopped 80 percent getting back into the bread basket where last year we were dealing with a very different situation.

Helicopter pilots spot the swarms and call in planes loaded with insecticide to spray them.

Swarms of desert locusts first infested the east and Horn of Africa in 20-19. They move up to 90 miles a day, eating their weight in vegetation. A locust can multiply twenty-fold every three months.

Former Argentine president dies—Next we go to South America.

AUDIO: [Sound of clapping, music]

Argentinians gathered in the streets of Buenos Aires Monday for the funeral procession of former President Carlos Menem. He died Sunday at the age of 90.

Menem served two terms as president, from 1989 to 1999. He was a proponent of Peronism, the leftist movement begun by former president Juan Peron.

But he privatized many state-run businesses, a policy in direct opposition to Peron’s legacy. Menem is attributed with spearheading an economic recovery that became known as the “Argentine miracle.” By fixing the exchange rate of the peso to the U.S. dollar, he brought economic stability and an end to hyperinflation.

But the economic crisis of 2001 followed his final term as president. Debt topped $100 billion, the country defaulted on repayment, the currency’s value plunged, and unemployment skyrocketed.

Snow park in Norway—And finally, we end today in Norway.

AUDIO: [Sound of backhoe]

Norweigan authorities are trucking in snow to urban parks in Oslo. Strict coronavirus-related restrictions have kept ski-loving city residents off the slopes. So officials decided to bring the slopes to them.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Norwegian]

This member of the Oslo City Counsel says they want to encourage people to get out of their houses and be active. The snow parks include cross-country skiing trails, sledding runs, and a snow-boarding hill.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Ben Curtis) Swarms of desert locusts fly into the air from crops in Katitika village in Kenya’s Kitui county on Jan. 24, 2020.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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