Wednesday 18 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Tensions between Angola's president and his long-serving predecessor have erupted into the open as an anti-corruption drive targets the former ruler's family. President Joao Lourenco has pledged to crusade against entrenched state corruption and nepotism since taking over in September from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years. Battling graft is a cornerstone of Lourenco's promised "economic miracle" that he hopes will halt the oil-dependent country's economic slump caused by stubbornly low crude prices. A once-loyal minister under Dos Santos, Lourenco has purged state-run corporations of leaders appointed by his former boss.
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
The son of Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been charged with fraud linked to a $500 million transfer executed when he ran the country's sovereign wealth fund, prosecutors said Monday. Jose Filomeno dos Santos is accused of "fraud, misappropriation of funds, money laundering and associating with criminals," deputy chief prosecutor Luis Benza Zanga told a media conference. Nicknamed "Zenu", Filomeno dos Santos was appointed to head the $5 billion oil-fuelled sovereign fund by his father in 2013 but then was sacked by President Joao Lourenco, who took power in January.
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
Prominent Angolan human rights activist and journalist Rafael Marques de Morais appeared in court Monday on charges of insulting a public authority after questioning the integrity of a former attorney general. The charges relate to a story Marques, 46, wrote in 2016 about the country's former attorney general's purchase of rural land designated for urban development. Marques, who runs the news website Maka Angola, and Mariano Bras, another journalist who reproduced the article, face up to three years in jail...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Angola saw its first authorised anti-government protest in decades with about 10 people demonstrating Saturday in the capital against an amnesty those who have stashed vast wealth abroad. Despite the paltry turnout, the rally in the centre of Luanda was a milestone and hugely symbolic. Such an event would have been unthinkable during the regime of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos who ruled the oil-rich country with an iron fist for 38 years until he stepped down late last...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/18)
Former Angolan leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Friday he will quit as head of the governing party by 2019 after the ruling MPLA denied tensions with his successor, President Joao Lourenco. Dos Santos ceded the presidency to his former defence minister Lourenco following the ruling MPLA's victory in August elections but held on to the party's top job. The 75-year-old veteran leader who ruled for nearly four decades is battling ill health and said that he would retire from...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The EU warned African and other countries on Wednesday that their citizens will find it harder to get visas to Europe if they refuse to readmit economic migrants under the bloc's efforts to curb migration. Brussels has been seeking greater cooperation from such countries to take back irregular migrants since Europe was hit in 2015 with its worst migration crisis since World War II. "I cannot understand how a country can refuse to take back its nationals" when they have...
(AFP (eng) 03/09/18)
A thousand artists from over 50 countries will gather in Ivory Coast on Saturday for a week-long festival of African music, theatre, dance, comedy, slam poetry and storytelling. The 10th edition of the biannual Market for African Performing Arts, known by its French initials as MASA, will mark the 25th anniversary of the event. This year's crop of artists come from all over Africa and the African diaspora in Japan, Haiti and Canada, performing in the economic capital Abidjan and...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/07/18)
LUANDA (Reuters) - The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) is deeply concerned about rekindled tension in the violent Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and criticized the Angolan government for forcing some 500 refugees to return. Angola’s government forced 530 Congolese to return to Congo between Feb. 25 and 27, UNHCR said in a statement on Tuesday. Of those sent back, 480 were unregistered refugees staying at the Cacanda center managed by aid agencies in the frontier town of Dundo, the statement said. “Continuing instability poses a grave risk to civilian safety, including for several hundred refugees recently returned there from Angola,” it said.
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Heavy rains, filthy conditions, medicine shortages and endemic corruption have combined to make a lethal malarial cocktail for Angola. Since the start of the year more than 300,000 cases of the disease have been reported across the country, leading to at least a thousand deaths. The toll, say experts, is a clear sign of the poverty and failings of governance in a country which, paradoxically, is one of Africa's top oil producers. "The number is frightening," said Jose Antonio, the...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Rail traffic between the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbour Angola has resumed after a 34-year break, providing a vital boost for DRC's mining exports, officials said. "The first train left DRC on Monday hauling 50 containers and arrived at Luau station in Moxico province" in eastern Angola, the Congolese presidency said on Tuesday. The train, which left from the border town of Dilolo in southeastern DRC, is heading for the Angolan port of Lobito, on the Atlantic coast,...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Angolan prosecutors appeared to waver on Monday in their pursuit of prominent human rights activist and journalist Rafael Marques de Morais who faces charges of subversion, defence sources said. The charges relate to a story Marques, 46, wrote in 2016 about the country's former attorney general's purchase of rural land designated for urban development. A court in Luanda postponed the case indefinitely, De Morais's lawyer Horacio Junjuvili told AFP by telephone. De Morais was charged with insulting public authority after...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/18)
Angolan prosecutors opened an investigation on Friday into possible corruption at the country's state oil giant when it was run by former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos' daughter Isabel. Investigators will probe "irregular financial transfers" reported by Sonangol's new management, prosecutors said in a statement. Sonangol's new chief executive Carlos Saturnino angrily criticised the financial management of his predecessor Isabel during a results briefing on Wednesday. "We started in our roles on November 16, 2017, and tonight we note that...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/09/18)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Poor rains and crop infestations in southern Africa are threatening deeper hunger across the region, with millions of people, particularly children, at risk, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday. “Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El Nino-induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow,” Brian Bogart, WFP’s regional program advisor, said in a statement. Large swathes of land across the region, from South Africa to Zambia,...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron,...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Angolan President Joao Lourenco was elected five months ago promising an "economic miracle". But the path to transforming the oil-dependent country's economy will be long and difficult -- as was highlighted by anger over the de facto de-valuation of the local currency. Since January, new central bank governor Jose de Lima Massano has been presiding over something of a fiscal revolution, weaning the local kwanza currency off its artificial peg to the dollar, and phasing in a floating exchange rate...

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