Tuesday 12 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Thousands of people took to the streets of Benin's commercial capital Cotonou on Friday to protest against President Patrice Talon's economic reforms and the high cost of living. One of the organisers said "more than 10,000" people turned out for the march to the trades union congress building. No official figure was immediately available. The head of the main workers' union in Benin, Nagnini Kassa Mampo, told the crowd: "Public hospitals will soon be privatised, repeated strikes in the education and many other sectors don't seem to concern President Talon." He complained that the cost of living had risen but salaries had remained the same while taxation was high. Another union leader, Noel Chadare, said there was an "urgent need"...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(APA 10/12/17)
APA-Accra (Ghana) - The President of Benin, Mr. Patrice Guillaume Talon, on Wednesday paid a one-day visit to Ghana to help deepen the ties between the two countries. President Talon, who was received on arrival in Accra by Ghanaian leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, inspected a guard of honour and later proceeded to the seat of government, where they held a closed door meeting. The Ghanaian Times reported on Thursday that the bilateral meeting proposed a closer collaboration between the two countries in the West African sub-region to find lasting solutions to the growing threat of terrorism. President Akufo-Addo expressed the belief that terrorism can be completely dealt with if the organs of intelligence in the various countries work together...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/12/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - West Africa is most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said on Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives. A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses - Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo - spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic. The world’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak ravaged Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016, killing about 11,300 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The viruses, which are often transmitted by rodents and bats, can cause fever, vomiting and bleeding, are often fatal. By mapping high risk areas, African nations can better...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
From his chair in the middle of a pile of pineapples, Jean-Xavier Satola supervises cutting and packaging, as Benin -- Africa's fourth-biggest exporter of the fruit -- starts trading again after an eight-month self-imposed absence. The fields of Allada in southern Benin are a hive of activity as about 20 men, in trousers to protect them from the spiky leaves, pick the pineapples while women load them in baskets and carry them away on their heads. The smooth, fat, yellow Cayenne variety of pineapples are washed, packed into cardboard boxes and put on a lorry. Eight hundred boxes will leave on a plane for Europe that evening. Satola has been in the pineapple business for 30 years and as soon...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Three senators from Haiti pause in reflection in front of a statue of their country's independence hero Toussaint Louverture in Allada, southern Benin, where he had his roots. The West African and Caribbean countries, separated by thousands of kilometres (miles) and ocean, share the same history but also the same religion -- voodoo. Jean Renel Senatus, Jean-Marie Junior Salomon and Ronald Lareche came to Benin late last month on a research trip as part of Haiti's reforms of its 19th-century penal code. Part of the process is taking advice from countries where their ancestors lived before they were shipped abroad as slaves. Historically and culturally, "Haiti and Benin are two sides of the same coin," Senatus, a lawyer and president...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria contracted by 1.6 percent in 2016, but is predicted to grow by 0.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent next year. The IMF said Nigeria was benefitting from "recovering oil production and ongoing strength in the agricultural sector", but the...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation. Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years. “The model of converting existing...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers and reports on agriculture, rural development, water and environment and recommendations and guidance on issues in the 2063 Africa Development Agenda, including agriculture, environment, climate change, and youth engagement. Among the points chosen for the discussions are the assessment of...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
Benin's top court has rejected a bid by French group Bollore to recover control of a rail project to link Cotonou with Abidjan, a lawyer for a local firm told AFP. The Supreme Court on Friday "rejected the suit filed by Bollore (Africa Logistics) and the Beninese state in their appeal," said Cyrille Djikui, lawyer for Beninese businessman Samuel Dossou Aworet, who is competing with Bollore. Late Monday, Djikui told AFP that the so-called Echine Dorsale ("Backbone") project to build a line between the port cities in Benin and Ivory Coast was "imagined, conceived and put in place" by Dossou...
(APA 09/29/17)
A delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after a two-week stay in Cotonou, has informed President Patrice Talon of its satisfaction with the way the Benin government has met its commitments made April to international financial institutions. “The program approved for Benin is firmly on track and all criteria agreed with the government have been respected,” the head of the IMF delegation Norbert Toé said meeting with the President on Wednesday. The government of Benin has embarked on very ambitious reforms and the IMF has decided to accompany implementing them, he said before urging the Benin authorities to stay on track of improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable strata of the country. On April, the IMF’s Executive...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the Global First Ladies Alliance (GFLA) and Facebook. Geingos credited the quota enacted by the ruling SWAPO party of her husband, President Hage Geingob. But she said a similar quota might be needed for Namibia’s private sector, where only 10 to...
(AFP (eng) 09/23/17)
Getting around most towns and cities in West Africa often means an uncomfortable ride on public transport or haggling hard with a taxi driver. Benin's economic capital, Cotonou, is no different and is famous for its thousands of "zemidjans", the cheap motorbike-taxis that throng the city's roads at rush hour. But that is changing with the arrival of clean, comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles that can be ordered by a mobile phone app, WhatsApp or a freephone number. Ivory Coast's Africab and Soft Taxis Benin are both already operating in the city and were recently joined by Benin-Taxi, a public-private venture backed by the country's government. The project was launched in July with a fleet of 50 brand new small 4x4 vehicles...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...

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