Sunday 10 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(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...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Botswanan Softball Association (BSA) President Tirelo Mukokomani was Monday elected Vice President in the softball division board of directors of the World Baseball/Softball Confederation (WBSC). Botswana continued on their quest to host high profile sports events as the three-day meeting concluded here on Sunday. Over 300 delegates from the 130 member countries of WBSC attended the second conference since the merger of baseball and softball governing bodies in 2015. The elective conference started with meetings of several committees of the WBSC on Thursday culminating into the main assembly where elections were held for several portfolios within the confederation's different divisions. Speaking to the media at the end of the assembly, Mukokomani said hosting the assembly in Africa for the first...
(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-Gaborone (Botswana) - The Botswana government has warned that a heat wave is expected to hit most of the country from Monday until the weekend, with the northern and central parts expected to be hardest affected. Principal meteorologist in the Department of Meteorological Services, Radithupa Radithupa said on Monday that the prevailing extremely high temperatures over the northern half of Botswana are expected to last until Saturday. Radithupa told APA that temperatures of between 38°C and 41°C are expected in the northern and central parts of the country, with a 30 percent chance of thundershowers on Friday. He explained that the extremely high temperatures are due to the persistence of the hot northerly continental air mass or wind flow. The...
(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...
(AFP 10/13/17)
APA-Gaborone-(Botswana) - Botswana has become the latest target of international drug syndicates whose activities are threatening a drug abuse crisis in the southern African country, the police said on Friday. Director of crime intelligence in the Botswana Police Service (BPS), Nunu Lesetedi told APA that international drug dealers had descended on the country and were working with locals to distribute their merchandise. Lesetedi said this has prompted the BPS to launch a crackdown on the syndicates and their local partners. He said investigations have shown that the drug dealers are mostly from South Africa ...
(APA 10/11/17)
APA-Gaborone (Botswana) - Botswana and Ethiopia are set to sign a considerable number of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among them an extradition treaty agreement, APA learnt on Wednesday. Botswana foreign ministry spokesperson Emanuel Pheko said this was revealed on Wednesday during the inaugural Botswana/Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission held in Gaborone and attended by International Affairs and Cooperation Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and visiting Ethiopian State Minister for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hirut Zemene Kassa. “The two ministers urged senior officials to accelerate conclusion of the pending draft agreements and memoranda of understanding, namely the Draft Extradition Treaty...
(APA 10/11/17)
APA-Gaborone (Botswana) - Authorities in Botswana warned on Wednesday that scores of carcasses of dead hippos suspected to have succumbed to an outbreak in neighbouring Namibia are posing a health hazard in areas along the Okavango River after floating into the country through the river. The river, which flows in the northern part of the country, is shared between Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism spokesperson Daniel Moatshe said in an interview that veterinarians have confirmed the cause of death...
(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...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Gaborone (Botswana) - Botswana’s level of foreign exchange reserves has slightly declined to US$740 million in June compared to US$780 million the previous month. According to Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo, the fall in the country’s level of foreign exchange reserves was mainly due to an increase in demand for foreign exchange to pay for imported electricity. In December 2016, foreign exchange reserves declined by 9.5 percent year-on-year from the US$840 million recorded in 2015. The minister revealed that the Government Investment Account (GIA) accounted for US$30 million of the total reserves in June. Matambo said although the stock of foreign reserves remains comfortably high...
(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) 10/04/17)
GABARONE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Botswana transgender man has won a 10-year battle to be legally recognized as male in a landmark ruling that could boost minority rights in the conservative nation. Botswana High Court last week ordered the government to change the gender marker on the man’s identity card from female to male to respect his constitutional rights. “This is an immense relief,” the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in a statement. “I am hopeful that other persons who find themselves in a similar situation will be dealt with in a more respectful manner when they apply for new identity cards.” Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa said in his judgment that the government had violated the...
(APA 10/04/17)
APA-Gaborone (Botswana) - Botswana has listed the defence and security sector as among the five priority spending areas for the 2018-19 national budget, getting P66.9 billion (about $670 million). This information has emerged at a time when Botswana intends to buy 8 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden worth more than $1.6 billion, and Korea Aerospace Industries’ FA-50s, whose price tag is yet to be disclosed, according to local media. Finance and Economic Development Minister Kenneth Matambo has said the security sector will receive more resources to fund the upgrading of equipment to enhance national security. This was contained in an expenditure estimate presented at a pre-budget seminar that examined government spending priorities for the 2018/2019 financial year beginning in March...

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