Wednesday 18 October 2017
(Reuters 08/06/13)
LAGOS/SYDNEY, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Nigeria is gradually opening up to Islamic finance, a move that could bring non-interest banking to over 80 million Muslims and develop one of Africa's fastest-growing consumer and corporate banking sectors. Home to the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is trying to establish itself as the African hub for Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling. In recent months, a string of regulatory initiatives have set the groundwork for products such as Islamic bonds (sukuk), insurance (takaful) and interbank lending products, although there is still only a small number of local market participants. "The potential is there but the market is negligible in Nigeria because we have...
(Tanzania Daily News 08/05/13)
A few weeks ago, when Tanzania was hosting the Ministerial Committee Organ (MCO) responsible for Defence and Security Cooperation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Bernard Member, confirmed that Tanzania is one of the top five countries of the SADC whose harbours and airports are used as conduits for drug trafficking. Speaking at this 15th MCO, which is faced with an uphill task of tackling this illicit trade, Minister Membe singled out other countries being South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola. The announcement just came a fortnight after two female artists from Tanzania were nabbed at the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg with 150 kg of drugs, crystal methamphetamine locally known...
(Reuters 08/05/13)
WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 5, 2013 (Reuters) - The United States extended embassy closures by a week in the Middle East and Africa as a precaution on Sunday after an al Qaeda threat that U.S. lawmakers said was the most serious in years. The State Department said 19 U.S. embassies and consulates would be closed through Saturday "out of an abundance of caution" and that a number of them would have been closed anyway for most of the week due to the Eid celebration at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The United States initially closed 21 U.S. diplomatic posts for the day on Sunday. Some of those will reopen on Monday, including Kabul, Baghdad and Algiers...
(CNN 08/05/13)
African Voices is a weekly show that highlights Africa's most engaging personalities, exploring the lives and passions of people who rarely open themselves up to the camera. Follow the team on Twitter. Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- Inside a brightly painted Mogadishu clinic, Salim (not her real name) sits alongside her seven-year-old son, waiting for a check up. Opposite them, a health professional listens to their nightmarish ordeal. Salim recounts how she was raped and then watched, helpless, as her young son was molested. Too afraid to seek assistance, she did what she thought would help. She washed her son's wounds with hot water and salt for four excruciating days, until they were brought here, the Sister Somalia center. "There are...
(CNN 08/03/13)
(CNN) -- The African Union on Friday applauded Zimbabwe for holding peaceful elections, and made no mention of rigging accusations by the main opposition candidate. However, its observers added that they noted several shortcomings. Problems included voters getting turned away, late publication of polling stations and media taking sides, the African Union observers said in a statement released Friday. Even so, the continent-wide body said, "The Mission observes generally, that from a historical perspective and in comparison to the 2008 elections, Zimbabwe has made an important transition in the conduct of its elections." Wednesday's vote pitted President Robert Mugabe against his prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe's party declared victory a day later even though the electoral commission has not released...
(African arguments 08/02/13)
UK Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, has stated that the government will not intervene directly in Barclays Bank's decision to withdraw banking services to Money Service Businesses (MSBs) including those that provide remittance services to Somalia, but said he hoped that a 'market-based solution' could be found. Simmonds stated in a letter dated 18th July to SOAS academic Laura Hammond (and shared with African Arguments) that "the government would not be able to intervene on behalf of a particular company or 'remittance corridor'". He was responding to a letter submitted by Hammond on behalf of 105 academics, researchers and practitioners calling on the UK government to intervene to prevent the collapse of remittance flows into poor and fragile states, particularly...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/02/13)
LONDON | Fri Aug 2, 2013 (Reuters) - The winning investment strategy of 2013 has been simple but extreme: return home to the safety of the biggest, most-traded markets, or venture to the riskiest frontiers from Ivory Coast to Pakistan. Those in the middle of the risk curve - the biggest emerging markets that now account for almost half of the top 20 world economies - have been the big losers. The contrasting fortunes may herald the start of a broader repricing of big emerging economies where a flood of cheap money from developed economies has distorted prices the most. Risk - which dominated global financial markets in the past few years - has played a smaller role in defining...
(This Day Live 08/02/13)
Against the backdrop of the three-day investment roundtable in Cape Town, South Africa, John Iwori, who attended the event, writes that African countries are forging a common front in the shipping and energy sectors of the continent's economy. Working against One Another That most African countries are working at cross purposes is an understatement. In spite of their proximity, they prefer to work against their common interests. They hardly see each other as partners in progress. In fact, they see themselves as enemies. They work against one another for the benefit of the people on other continents, especially those who ruled over them during the colonial era. The undue rivalry among African countries has often robbed the people on the...
(This Day Live 08/01/13)
The World Bank Group committed a record $14.7 billion in fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 to June 2013) to support economic growth and better development prospects in Africa, despite uncertain economic conditions in the rest of the global economy. “The region has shown remarkable resilience in the face of a global recession and continues to grow strongly,” said World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Makhtar Diop. “Africa is at the centre of the World Bank Group 2030 goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, in an environmentally, socially, and fiscally sustainable manner.” The World Bank Group, according to a release from its Nigeria office in Abuja, continued its strong commitment to Africa approving $8.25 billion in...
(Voice of America 07/31/13)
The West African nation of Burkina Faso has seen a resumption of large-scale protests this month over high living costs and the controversial creation of a new Senate. Analysts say the protests point to a tense political environment in the run-up to elections in 2015, regardless of who is on the ballot. Thousands of opposition supporters gathered this past weekend for a march and rally in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, to protest the selection of senators. The new Senate, approved by lawmakers in May, has been derided by the opposition as a tool for President Blaise Compaore to extend his hold on power. Compaore has been president for 26 years, but a rule on term limits would prohibit him from...
(Voice of America 07/31/13)
JOHANNESBURG — The United Nations’ AIDS agency is hailing what officials describe as significant progress in the fight against the epidemic in eastern and southern Africa. The report says AIDS-related deaths have declined dramatically and that the number of new infections has decreased - a direct result of more available treatment. But, they warned, challenges remain. Top health and aid officials praised the gains in the fight against AIDS in southern and eastern Africa - among them, a nearly 40 percent drop in AIDS-related deaths since 2005, and a 50 percent drop in new infections among children since 2001. The cause, they said was simple: The number of people receiving anti-retroviral treatment has increased tenfold, from 625,000 in 2005 to...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/31/13)
LAGOS, July 31 | Wed Jul 31, 2013 (Reuters) - The chairman of African lender Ecobank Transnational (ETI) has repaid a set of loans he took from the bank and no company rules were broken by the transactions, Chief Executive Thierry Tanoh said on Wednesday. South African sovereign fund manager PIC, a 20 percent shareholder in the African bank, has said they would wait for the board of directors to investigate and draw conclusions over the allegations around debt taken out by chairman Kolapo Lawson on August 5. The lender itself has said previously that the loans, which the Financial Times reported were the subject of a boardroom battle, were performing. Tanoh said on Wednesday they were contracted two years...
(CNN 07/31/13)
(CNN) -- A decade after Angola emerged from devastating civil war, the sea front road that winds around the bay of its capital, Luanda, is now dotted with multi-million dollar condominiums, exclusive clubs, and boutique stores catering for the country's elite. Most of Luanda's population, however, live in the nearby slums, where health facilities are non-existent and children must work, not study, to survive. Africa's natural resource wealth has certainly fueled a decade of rapid growth, but most Africans have still not seen the benefits. More urgently, rapid population growth combined with deepening inequality could one day prove explosive. It does not have to be this way, of course. Botswana successfully used its diamond wealth to develop quickly, growing from...
(AFP (eng) 07/28/13)
PARIS, July 28, 2013 (AFP) - Disappointment over the lack of democratic progress in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya is understandable, but the so-called Arab Spring of 2011 will take time to mature, analysts say, warning that the process will be chaotic. "We have to stop using seasonal metaphors. We are in a revolutionary process that will take at least a decade," says Karim Emile Bitar, an expert on Arab affairs at the Paris-based Institute of International and Strategic Relations. "And 'revolutionary process' means revolution, counter-revolution, efforts to fix the revolution, and that's exactly what is happening," he added. In Egypt, the army ousted democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood; Tunisia has seen sometimes violent demonstrations against the...
(Huffingtonpost 07/27/13)
South Africa's failure to successfully engage some of Africa's most troublesome conflict zones has undermined the country's credibility and cast doubt about whether South Africa should be perceived as the continent's regional military and political leader. Ineffectual leadership is at the heart of the matter. President Zuma has made some dubious decisions regarding South Africa's regional foreign policy, and his inability to meaningfully address the plethora of domestic problems facing the country raises question about its suitability as Africa's de facto leader. Attempts to promote human rights -- a trademark of South Africa's foreign policy for the past 20 years -- have resulted in the adoption of some erratic policy decisions. For example, the South African government has numerous times...
( 07/26/13)
Successful elections in Zimbabwe are crucial both for that country's own socio-economic development and for improved security in the southern African region, says South African Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim. Speaking to journalists in Pretoria on Thursday, Ebrahim said the South African government welcomed the fact that the overall atmosphere in Zimbabwe remained calm ahead of next week's elections, with no major instances of violence or intimidation having been reported so far. Ebrahim added that South Africa hoped there wouldn't be a repeat of Zimbabwe's previous election in 2008, when the announcement of the results had been delayed, stoking concerns about poll rigging. Over six-million Zimbabweans who have registered to vote will go to the polls next Wednesday to...
(Business Daily 07/26/13)
Global food prices fell by 2 per cent in the latest four-month period, marking the third straight period of declines, as declining imports in the Middle East and North Africa, and lower demand pushed prices down 12 per cent from their August 2012 peak, the World Bank said on Thursday. The World Bank's Food Price Index showed international prices of wheat fell by 2 per cent, sugar by 6 per cent, soybean oil by 11 per cent, and maize, or corn, by 1 per cent during the four-month period between February and June. The index, which weighs export prices of food, fats and oils, grains, and other foods in nominal U.S. dollars, fell by 2 per cent. Improved weather conditions...
(This Day Live 07/25/13)
African countries and their communities have been told they can effectively end ‘land grabs,’ grow significantly more food across the region, and transform their development prospects if they can modernise the complex governance procedures that govern land ownership and management over the next decade. This was revealed in a new World Bank report titled Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity released on Monday in Washington, US, which also noted that Africa has the highest poverty rate in the world with 47.5 per cent of the population living below $1.25 a day. The detailed report noted that sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly half of the world’s usable, uncultivated land but so far the continent has not been able to develop...
(Voice of America 07/25/13)
CAPITOL HILL — Prospective U.S. diplomats to Africa say President Barack Obama’s recent trip to the continent underscored persistent challenges and vast opportunities that cry out for robust and sustained American engagement. Administration nominees for the State Department’s top Africa post, as well as numerous ambassadorships, testified Wednesday at their Senate confirmation hearing. During his three-nation trip to Africa earlier this month, Obama unveiled initiatives to boost electric service on the continent, increase trade and commercial ties, and help groom Africa’s next generation of leaders. But more must be done, according to Democratic Senator Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa. “President Obama’s recent trip was a positive demonstration of U.S. commitment, and the president’s initiatives...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
Malaria infections, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 newborns and 10,000 new mothers each year. The parasitic illness can also cause miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the risk of death. There are low cost, lifesaving interventions to prevent infection, yet, according to a new study, there are significant barriers to implementing them. For the past 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that pregnant women in areas with high rates of malaria receive insecticide-treated bed nets and periodic doses of a cheap drug to prevent the disease. Yet, despite relatively high attendance at clinics for expectant mothers and their newborns throughout sub-Saharan Africa, statistics show that just a little over 21 percent...

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