Sunday 18 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/15/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Giving poor families just $6 a month has significantly reduced child trafficking in parts of the West African country of Benin where there is a longstanding practice of exploiting children for labor in fields and mines, the World Bank said. At least 40,000 children a year are estimated to be victims of trafficking in Benin, according to the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, although the latest data is a decade old. The phenomenon is widespread and growing, with many parents selling their children into labor because they cannot support them...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
The African Union has upped its goal to repatriate stranded migrants from Libya, saying in a statement that it aims to bring 20,000 Africans home in the next six weeks. Pressure has grown on the continental body and individual African states to get their citizens out of Libya after CNN broadcast a report showing black Africans being sold as slaves in the north African country. The African Union had earlier said it wanted to repatriate 15,000 migrants by the year's end, but increased its goal after a task force - including AU, European Union and United Nations officials -- met earlier this week.
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths in western and central Africa are running at 5.1 percent, more than twice the 2.1 percent in the rest of the continent. The region accounts for just six percent of the global population, but has at least 16 percent of...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end of 2016. That number does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year. Internal displacement has soared in a...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron made a surprise announcement during his recent African tour, saying in Burkina Faso's capital that one of his priorities was to restore African cultural treasures. African cultural heritage "should be highlighted in Paris, but also in Dakar, Lagos, Cotonou", Macron told a crowd of students at a university in Ouagadougou. "This will be one of my priorities. In five years, I want the conditions to be met to return African heritage to Africa." Delivered at the end of his speech, this sentence resonated especially in Benin, which in July last year called for France to return treasures taken during French...
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where all the residents, numbering several thousand, were "living in inhumane conditions" and were desperate to return home. "We have agreed, along with the EU and the UN, to set up a task force for repatriating at least 3,800 people," Moussa...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
DAKAR/LIBORE, Niger (Reuters) - Mabingue Ngom, the head of the U.N. Population Fund in West Africa, knows that if he wants to cut birth rates he can’t ignore religion. Population experts like Ngom are worried that if West Africa’s population continues to grow at its current pace - the region has the highest birth rate in the world - it will drive fiercer competition for scarce water and farmland, and fuel malnutrition, conflict and ever more economic refugees. West African governments, U.N. agencies and charities also want to cut maternal mortality rates, which are higher in West Africa than anywhere else in the world, according to U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) figures. But imams who follow the puritanical Wahhabist form of...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(Jeune Afrique 11/27/17)
À Cotonou, les discussions se poursuivent autour de la facture de 200 millions d'euros que l'État réclame au principal opérateur téléphonique du pays au titre des redevances impayées de 2016 et 2017. Signe que la situation pourrait se débloquer, le ministère de l'Intérieur a décidé de surseoir à l'expulsion du directeur général de MTN. Alors que selon un arrêté émanant du ministère béninois de l’Intérieur, il devait quitter le pays au plus tard le 24 novembre, le directeur général de MTN a reçu le jour même notification d’une décision lui accordant un délai supplémentaire de quatorze jours. « La décision d’expulsion n’a pas été annulée. Nous l’avons juste différée », explique le ministre de l’Intérieur, Sacca Lafia qui a signé,...
(Agence Ecofin 11/27/17)
Benin’s government will build in the Sèmè-Kpodji municipality, South West of Cotonou, a commercial deep-water oil and ore port. To this end, it has signed with Pic Network Limited of the Petrolin Group a public-private partnership agreement. “The project will be fully funded by Pic Network Limited and Pic International SA,” reads the report of the latest ministers’ council. The project which is estimated to cost hundreds of billions of CFA francs, will be developed over an area of more than 1,000 hectares. It falls under the Dorsal Spine or Epine Dorsale project. In this regard, goals aimed through this project’s development include among others, “a more efficient response to needs for a global increase of goods transit capacities, and...
(Agence Ecofin 11/27/17)
The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) has auditioned, between November 15 and 18, in Niger, migrants evacuated from Libya. The process aimed at initiating the procedure to grant asylum to all those that need one after suffering human rights abuses, rape, torture, arbitrary detention in Libya… The audition in Niamey follows another that was conducted in Chad, last October. In Niger, a total of 72 migrants were auditioned. Among those, 47 were selected, in addition to 25 migrants from Sudan and Eritrea also evacuated from Libya (all following the release of the video report showing migrants being sold as slaves in the country). According to Pascal Brice, OFPRA’s director, the first migrants will be...
(Agence Ecofin 11/25/17)
Au Bénin, le gouvernement envisage de construire, en partenariat public-privé avec la compagnie Pic Network Limited du Groupe Petrolin, un port pétrolier-minéralier et commercial en eau profonde dans la commune de Sèmè-Kpodji, au Sud-Est de Cotonou. « Le projet sera entièrement financé par la société Pic Network Limited et sa filiale Pic International SA.», peut-on lire dans le relevé du dernier conseil des ministres. D’un coût global de plusieurs centaines de milliards de Francs CFA, la réalisation des infrastructures de ce port pétrolier-minéralier va s’étendre sur une superficie de plus de 1 000 hectares. Elle s’inscrit dans le cadre du projet « Epine dorsale ». Les objectifs définis à ce titre, sont « entre autres, de répondre plus efficacement aux...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
Forty people are facing prosecution after police raids in west and central Africa rescued nearly 500 victims of human trafficking, Interpol said on Thursday. Raids were carried out in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal as part of a German foreign ministry funded initiative targeting organised crime in the region. Of the nearly 500 people rescued, 236 were children, Interpol said in an emailed statement. The operation happened between November 6 and 10, it added later. Those arrested are accused of forcing their victims into begging and prostitution and face charges including human trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation.

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