Friday 24 November 2017
(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...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Moves to sell off state assets by Benin's businessman-turned-president Patrice Talon are causing widespread anger, with critics accusing him of "uncontrolled privatisation". The 59-year-old known as "the cotton king" was elected in March last year on a promise to kick-start the economy, which is largely based on farming. But his liberal reforms have met opposition in the tiny West African nation, which borders giant neighbours Nigeria to the east and Niger to the north. The latest dispute is the government's decision to hand over the running of the port in the country's economic hub, Cotonou, to a private company. Talon's office said the move "aims at positioning the Port of Cotonou as a reference model in the sub-region, which entails...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
Benin President Patrice Talon underwenttwo surgeries during a prolonged stay in Paris, one procedure due to doctors finding a lesion in his prostate, his office said Monday. The admission comes weeks after Talon's absence, which lasted nearly a month, had been a hot topic in the tiny West African nation, prompting the government to deny rumours that he was ill. "During his last health check, a lesion was found at an early stage in his prostate," the president's office said in a statement, but the operation allowed him to recover "without the use of chemotherapy or radiation". The statement made no mention of the word cancer. The 59-year-old president returned to Benin on Sunday with his office releasing the statement...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
Benin's foreign minister on Wednesday worked to reassure the nation that President Patrice Talon was healthy, despite mounting speculation about the cause of his week-long stay in France. "He is staying in Paris and he is taking advantage of his stay to do a health check," Aurelien Agbenonci told AFP. Talon's absence has been a hot topic in the tiny West African nation for several days. On Tuesday, Agbenonci denied that 59-year-old Talon was ill. "The president of the republic did not leave Cotonou hastily, he is not ill and is well," Agbenonci said. According to other sources speaking on condition of anonymity, Talon should return to Benin "before the end of the week". Talon did not appear at the...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(AFP (eng) 06/05/17)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday joined West African leaders at a summit in Liberia, where they hailed peacekeeping efforts in the region but warned about threats to stability. Netanyahu, who had visited east Africa in July 2016, vowed that they had "no better partner" than his country after he was received by Liberian President and outgoing head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. "Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel. I believe in Africa. I believe in its potential, present and future. It is a continent on the rise," said the Israeli leader. "Africans are seizing the future. Israel wants to seize this future with you...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/02/17)
Benin is hiring scores of extra park rangers and bringing in conservation scientists to rehabilitate a part of West Africa's largest wildlife reserve, which contains big cats and thousands of elephants that have largely died out elsewhere in the region. The W-Arli-Pendjari (WAP) complex is the region's biggest remaining expanse of savannah, covering more than 30,000 sq km of Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso. The tiny nation has partnered with NGO African Parks for the 10-year project centred on the 4,800 sq km Pendjari National Park, part of WAP and seen as the most viable tourist hub for the area, officials involved told Reuters on Thursday. The complex contains by far the largest elephant population in the region, several thousand,...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(AFP (eng) 05/31/17)
Benin on Wednesday announced a 10-year plan to rehabilitate Pendjari National Park, one of the last viable wildlife reserves in west Africa. Like other west African countries, Benin is struggling to preserve its natural ecosystems in the face of rapid population growth, poaching and resource extraction, including mining and logging. Pendjari -- in Benin's far northwest on the border with Burkina Faso -- is one of only a handful of parks in the region that still boasts elephants, lions, buffalo, cheetah and antelope. The goal is to double the park's wildlife populations within a decade, Benin's government said in a statement. "The action plan for the park aims to develop responsible tourism and to ensure the economic and social development...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...

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