Wednesday 23 August 2017
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(AFP (eng) 07/11/17)
As West Africa declares war on the market for expired and counterfeit medicines, start-ups are putting quality control in the hands of patients to stop them risking their lives trying to get well. Not only can such drugs fail to treat the diseases they are bought to combat, experts say, but they may encourage resistance to antibiotics and even cause death as diseases continue to course unchecked through the body. At an April meeting in Liberia, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced a region-wide investigation into the trafficking of expired and counterfeit drugs, and a public awareness campaign. Traffickers in bad medicine prey on some of the world's poorest and most in need, who also face...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(Xinhua 07/07/17)
Benin students at the Confucius Institute of the Abomey-Calavi University learned how to make traditional Chinese kites at a workshop here on Saturday. At least 60 Benin students participated in the workshop. Guo Hongli, a kite specialist from China's kite city of Weifang in east China's Shandong Province, came to Benin to join the workshop and teach Benin children how to make a traditional Chinese kite which has been registered as a world intangible heritage since 2000. Guo said he was very pleased to be in Cotonou to share with the children of Benin the fabrication techniques of kites so that they can make kites by themselves and fly kites during their spare time. According to Guo, there are three...
(Agence Ecofin 07/06/17)
In Benin, telecom services users, regrouped in the “Voix des consommateurs” (Consumers’ voice) association, are angry at mobile operators MTN, Moov and Glo, for the poor services the firms provide. In effect, the users carried out a protest march on July 5, 2017, passing by the various head offices of the operators. The users denounce poor quality of calls, disappearing of credit and internet bundles, says Robin Accrombessi (photo), president of the protestors association, according to beninmondeinfos. He also noted that in addition to providing service of poor quality, the operators constantly pester users with SMS, which are often promotional. It should be noted that the users’ manifestation comes a day after MTN and Glo got sanctionned and Moov received...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(Voice of America 07/05/17)
More than 7 million children in West and Central Africa are displaced every year, the United Nations children's agency said in a report released Wednesday. Lack of economic opportunities, wars and climate change are forcing more than 12 million people in West and Central Africa to migrate annually, the report said. "Children in West and Central Africa are moving in greater numbers than ever before, many in search of safety or a better life," UNICEF regional director Marie-Pierre Poirier said. Climate change is already a harsh reality in many parts of Africa, where rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall have disrupted food production, fueled widespread hunger and forced farmers to abandon their land. A half-million people have crossed the Mediterranean...
(AFP (eng) 07/04/17)
President Patrice Talon of Benin has returned from a medical checkup in Paris following two operations in France, according to a member of his entourage. The 59-year-old head of state, who left for the French capital last week, returned to the country's economic hub of Cotonou on Tuesday evening. The post-operative checkup was "reassuring", the source said on condition of anonymity, as an official announcement about the return had yet to be made. Benin's presidency announced on June 19 that Talon had undergone two operations on his prostate and digestive system during an almost month-long stay in Paris. His prolonged absence had caused controversy and forced the government to deny rumours about his health. Talon's transparency about his health is...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(AFP (eng) 07/02/17)
Sadiatou used to be a well-off trader of traditional cloth at the market in Benin's economic hub of Cotonou but now sells school equipment from the doorstep of her home. In 2010 she sank more than five million CFA francs ($8,700, 7,600 euros) into an investment scheme that promised a quick profit. "It's a deposit I should never have made," she told AFP. "My business took a hit and my health as well. I've been depressed for a long time. "I was counting on the savings I'd make to expand my business. But it was useless. All my money has gone." Seven years after what was described as the biggest financial scandal in Benin's history was revealed, 20 people this...
(Xinhua 06/30/17)
Beninese President Patrice Talon has cleared Nicoué Peace Delaly, an 11-year-old student, to sit this year's baccalaureate exams after his bid for entry was blocked by examination authorities citing his tender age. Since the Baccalaureate office rejected Nicoué’s part in the exams for reasons related to his young age, parents of the naturally endowed boy had pleaded with the Beninese leader as a last resort. The examination takes place in a few days. “If the child is gifted, he has the right like the others once he has fulfilled the conditions to be sitting for the exam,” President Talon said during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting. From there, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research was instructed to deal with Nicoué’s...
(AFP (eng) 06/29/17)
Benin President Patrice Talon has returned to Paris for a "routine" health check after having two operations in France earlier this month, the presidency said on Thursday. The 59-year-old head of state left Wednesday evening from Cotonou after chairing a cabinet meeting. "He announced at the cabinet meeting that he was returning to France because he had an appointment with doctors for a routine check following his operation," presidency spokesman Wilfried Houngbedji told AFP. A source at the airport in Cotonou confirmed Talon's departure. Houngbedji did not specify when Talon is expected to return, but did say the president...
(AFP (eng) 06/29/17)
A long-awaited trial opened in the West African country of Benin on Thursday into an alleged Ponzi scheme described as the biggest financial scandal in the country's history. Twenty people are facing charges at the court in the country's economic capital of Cotonou for conspiracy, defrauding the public and practising illegal banking. The case first emerged in 2010 when the firm ICC Services (Investment Consultancy and Computing Services) and others were accused...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(Xinhuanet 06/27/17)
Benin students at the Confucius Institute of the Abomey-Calavi University learned how to make traditional Chinese kites at a workshop here on Saturday. At least 60 Benin students participated in the workshop. Guo Hongli, a kite specialist from China's kite city of Weifang in east China's Shandong Province, came to Benin to join the workshop and teach Benin children how to make a traditional Chinese kite which has been registered as a world intangible heritage since 2000. Guo said he was very pleased to be in Cotonou to share with the children of Benin the fabrication techniques of kites so that they can make kites by themselves and fly kites during their spare time. According to Guo, there are three...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/17)
Over a thousand people took to the streets of Benin's economic capital of Cotonou on Thursday to protest against President Patrice Talon amid growing unease with his government's economic reforms. A coalition of opposition parties and civil activists led the rally, which coincided with trade unions launching a two-day strike against the government's move to privatise port management. "We wanted to say to President Talon that the people are hungry and that the poor governance that characterises their management enrages the people," said Cecil Adjevi, secretary general of an opposition party and a leader of the march. "A large part of the people" are unhappy with Talon, said Alimatou Dramane, a trader in a Cotonou market. "The president must take...

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