Monday 23 October 2017
(Huffingtonpost 07/27/13)
South Africa's failure to successfully engage some of Africa's most troublesome conflict zones has undermined the country's credibility and cast doubt about whether South Africa should be perceived as the continent's regional military and political leader. Ineffectual leadership is at the heart of the matter. President Zuma has made some dubious decisions regarding South Africa's regional foreign policy, and his inability to meaningfully address the plethora of domestic problems facing the country raises question about its suitability as Africa's de facto leader. Attempts to promote human rights -- a trademark of South Africa's foreign policy for the past 20 years -- have resulted in the adoption of some erratic policy decisions. For example, the South African government has numerous times...
( 07/26/13)
Successful elections in Zimbabwe are crucial both for that country's own socio-economic development and for improved security in the southern African region, says South African Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim. Speaking to journalists in Pretoria on Thursday, Ebrahim said the South African government welcomed the fact that the overall atmosphere in Zimbabwe remained calm ahead of next week's elections, with no major instances of violence or intimidation having been reported so far. Ebrahim added that South Africa hoped there wouldn't be a repeat of Zimbabwe's previous election in 2008, when the announcement of the results had been delayed, stoking concerns about poll rigging. Over six-million Zimbabweans who have registered to vote will go to the polls next Wednesday to...
(Business Daily 07/26/13)
Global food prices fell by 2 per cent in the latest four-month period, marking the third straight period of declines, as declining imports in the Middle East and North Africa, and lower demand pushed prices down 12 per cent from their August 2012 peak, the World Bank said on Thursday. The World Bank's Food Price Index showed international prices of wheat fell by 2 per cent, sugar by 6 per cent, soybean oil by 11 per cent, and maize, or corn, by 1 per cent during the four-month period between February and June. The index, which weighs export prices of food, fats and oils, grains, and other foods in nominal U.S. dollars, fell by 2 per cent. Improved weather conditions...
(This Day Live 07/25/13)
African countries and their communities have been told they can effectively end ‘land grabs,’ grow significantly more food across the region, and transform their development prospects if they can modernise the complex governance procedures that govern land ownership and management over the next decade. This was revealed in a new World Bank report titled Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity released on Monday in Washington, US, which also noted that Africa has the highest poverty rate in the world with 47.5 per cent of the population living below $1.25 a day. The detailed report noted that sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly half of the world’s usable, uncultivated land but so far the continent has not been able to develop...
(Voice of America 07/25/13)
CAPITOL HILL — Prospective U.S. diplomats to Africa say President Barack Obama’s recent trip to the continent underscored persistent challenges and vast opportunities that cry out for robust and sustained American engagement. Administration nominees for the State Department’s top Africa post, as well as numerous ambassadorships, testified Wednesday at their Senate confirmation hearing. During his three-nation trip to Africa earlier this month, Obama unveiled initiatives to boost electric service on the continent, increase trade and commercial ties, and help groom Africa’s next generation of leaders. But more must be done, according to Democratic Senator Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa. “President Obama’s recent trip was a positive demonstration of U.S. commitment, and the president’s initiatives...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
Malaria infections, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 newborns and 10,000 new mothers each year. The parasitic illness can also cause miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the risk of death. There are low cost, lifesaving interventions to prevent infection, yet, according to a new study, there are significant barriers to implementing them. For the past 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that pregnant women in areas with high rates of malaria receive insecticide-treated bed nets and periodic doses of a cheap drug to prevent the disease. Yet, despite relatively high attendance at clinics for expectant mothers and their newborns throughout sub-Saharan Africa, statistics show that just a little over 21 percent...
(Ghana Business News 07/24/13)
It will cost Africa $4.5 billion over the next ten years in order to bring proper reforms into managing the continent’s ‘rich’ land, says a new World Bank report published July 22, 2013. According to the report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity,” African countries could effectively end ‘land grabs,’ if the complex land ownership and management is mordernized through governance procedures. The World Bank therefore suggests a number of steps and policies that can bring major changes in the continent’s land governance. “It would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector, $4.5 billion spread over ten years to scale up these policy reforms and investments,” said the Bank. The report suggests that Africa could finally...
(AFP (eng) 07/23/13)
UN says although genital cutting is on decline, female genital mutilation remains "almost universal" in some countries. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, and 30 million more girls are at risk in the next decade, UNICEF said. Although genital cutting is on the decline, the practice remains "almost universal" in some countries, said the report by the United Nations Children's Fund, released on Monday. The report compiles 20 years of data across 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The tradition involves removal of some or all of a female's external genitalia. It can include cutting out the clitoris and sometimes sewing together the labia. Laws are not enough to stop...
(AFP (eng) 07/22/13)
Members of Nelson Mandela's family who this month won a court victory in a macabre burial case enjoyed free legal aid because they were deemed to be poor, media reports said on Sunday. The court, finding in favour of 16 members of Mandela's family, ordered the anti-apartheid icon's eldest grandson, Mandla, to return the remains of three of his children, having reburied them in 2011 without permission. The Sunday Times reported that the group's legal fees were paid by a law clinic based in Grahamstown in southeastern Eastern Cape province. The Rhodes University Law Clinic, which is funded by the South African and foreign governments as well as donations, normally gives legal aid to poor people who live in the...
( 07/22/13)
African governments must improve their support for agricultural research organisations, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has said. “The need for action on agricultural research is urgent. African Governments must increase funding for agricultural research and extension; farmers’ innovations must find their way into the research agenda to enable Africa achieve its goal of food sufficiency,” Mr. Amissah-Arthur said in Accra at the opening ceremony of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW). AASW, hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, brought together over 1,300 scientific researchers, extension officers, farmers, policymakers, development partners, civil society and NGO groups from across the world to discuss the theme “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural...
(The Guardian Nigeria 07/21/13)
DESPITE the fall in productivity of Africa’s agriculture over the years occasioned by seasons of under-investment and an ill-advised structural adjustment, there is yet a lot to be done to feed the continent’s huge and fast-growing population. Global figures in agriculture and research agree, as they met in Accra, Ghana that ‘funding to agriculture, to universities and to research centres fell steadily and steeply,’ leading to a reversal of the many gains of the past. Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President articulated as much when he addressed the Sixth Forum of Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) summit in the Ghanaian capital during the week. He said, “Our universities lost good people. The quality of education declined,”...
(AFP (eng) 07/20/13)
US authorities on Friday charged the former leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Mokhtar Belmokhtar, over the deadly January siege at an Algerian gas plant and other crimes.The one-eyed Algerian Islamist -- who allegedly masterminded the seizure in which 38 hostages, including three Americans, died -- was charged on eight counts, including kidnapping and conspiring to take hostages. Both carry maximum sentences of life in prison. The charge sheet also includes a count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction at the time of the siege, during which Belmokhtar and his associates threatened to blow up the entire plant. Branded "The Uncatchable," Belmokhtar is also thought to have been behind twin car bombings in Niger in...
(Voice of America 07/20/13)
The U.S. government has charged Mokhtar Belmokhtar with participating in an attack on an Algerian gas processing plant that killed scores of people, including three Americans. The Department of Justice filed the charges Friday in New York, accusing the Algerian-born Belmokhtar of serving as a leader of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Among the charges, he is accused of kidnapping, conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and providing material support to al-Qaida. Most of the charges have maximum life sentences. In January, militants suspected of being Belmokhtar's followers attacked the gas processing facility in Algeria, taking hundreds of Algerian and foreign workers hostage. More than 30 hostages were killed before Algerian government forces recaptured the plant. Belmokhtar claimed responsibility...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/13)
(Reuters) - The African Union will form a new 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission for Central African Republic (CAR) to step up efforts to stabilize the fractious country, officials said on Friday. Admore Kambudzi, secretary of the AU's Peace and Security Council, said an existing regional peacekeeping mission known as MICOPAX would be rolled into the larger new force from August. He said its mandate would be to protect civilians and help stabilize the country and restore the central government in the former French colony, which is rich in gold and diamonds. Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million at the heart of the continent, has suffered decades of instability. Seleka rebels toppled the president in March, causing chaos and a...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's return home after almost three months in hospital in Paris raises questions about his ability to complete the last nine months of his term, commentators say. In a brief video broadcast on state television on Tuesday, Bouteflika appeared pale and tense as he was seen meeting his inner circle of officials. Their discussion was inaudible, apart from one point when the president, who had spent 80 days in France after a mini-stroke, made an effort to say "inshallah" (God willing). It was almost a repetition of footage from June 11 in which he was seen receiving Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah in the Paris hospital. The earlier broadcast sparked a...
(BBC News Africa 07/17/13)
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria has flown home after nearly three months of medical treatment at a hospital in Paris. The 76-year-old arrived at a military airport in Algeria after a two-hour flight, officials say. Mr Bouteflika, who has led the gas-rich North African state for a decade, went to Paris after a mini-stroke in April. Analysts say his health issues have all but ended his chances of running for another presidential term next year. After arriving back in Algeria, the president "will continue a period of rest and rehabilitation", said a statement carried by the official APS news agency. A photograph was released which showed him meeting cabinet ministers. The paucity of official information about his medical condition since...
(Voice of America 07/17/13)
PARIS — Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has returned home after nearly three months in a Paris hospital. The Algerian leader was taken to France in late April after suffering what officials described as a "minor stroke" but which many analysts believe was a more serious ailment. The president's office says Mr. Bouteflika returned to Algiers on Tuesday after completing what it called a "period of care and functional rehabilitation" in France. The statement, carried by Algeria's state news agency, says the 76-year-old president will now pursue "a period of rest and recovery." It made no mention of the president's current condition. Mr. Bouteflika has led Algeria since 1999. His absence caused concern in the North African country, where al-Qaida-linked militant...
( 07/17/13)
Africa’s oil and gas industry is poised for momentous growth despite its grappling with severe stresses of a challenging economic and political environment on the continent, fuelled by poor physical infrastructure, corruption, an uncertain regulatory framework, and a lack of skills, according to a review issued by PwC. PwC’s ‘Africa oil and gas review’ of developments in the African oil and gas industry is the third in a series of reviews of the sector by the tax, assurance and advisory solutions firm. Uyi Akpata, PwC Africa oil and gas industry leader/deputy country senior partner, Nigeria, says: “The challenges facing oil and gas companies operating in Africa are diverse and numerous. Political interference, uncertainty and delays in passing laws, energy policies...
(AFP (eng) 07/16/13)
ALGIERS, July 16, 2013 (AFP) - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned home on Tuesday from Paris after a stay of almost three months in hospital that caused huge concern in the North African country, officials said. The plane that flew Bouteflika from Le Bourget airport near Paris landed at around 1340 GMT at the Boufarik military airport, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) east of Algiers, they said. A frail-looking Bouteflika, 76, had boarded the Algerian presidential jet on a wheelchair after 80 days in Paris where he received treatment for what his doctors described as a mini-stroke. His state of health sparked major concerns in Algeria given his central constitutional role in running the country, and has also generated intense...
(AL Jazeera 07/16/13)
Executive council meets in Nigerian capital to review progress made in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The African Union executive council is meeting in the Nigerian capital to take stock of progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The conference, which opened in Abuja on Friday, will also address challenges encountered in the campaign against the three diseases. "It is timely that we review the implementation of the various declarations and plans of action adopted in the course of the last decade," Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Ghebreyesus told the conference, according to the African Union's website. Ghebreyesus said Ethiopia was proposing to establish an "African Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (African–CDC) or Health Commission for Africa...

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