Friday 23 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
The African Union has upped its goal to repatriate stranded migrants from Libya, saying in a statement that it aims to bring 20,000 Africans home in the next six weeks. Pressure has grown on the continental body and individual African states to get their citizens out of Libya after CNN broadcast a report showing black Africans being sold as slaves in the north African country. The African Union had earlier said it wanted to repatriate 15,000 migrants by the year's end, but increased its goal after a task force - including AU, European Union and United Nations officials -- met earlier this week.
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
From forced labour in Libya to a job as a founding member of an Italian fashion start-up, Bassirou has come a long way in two years, thanks to his skills with scissors. The 26-year-old Burkina Faso native is the star student of a novel project aimed at training asylum seekers in one of Italy's most emblematic crafts: making leather handbags And after a 15-month apprenticeship, Bassirou has just become the first employee of a small company set up with the aim of turning the project into a self-sustaining venture. "It is a great opportunity," he says of his new career move. "I had done a bit of cutting and sewing back home but that was with cloth, not leather. "It...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths in western and central Africa are running at 5.1 percent, more than twice the 2.1 percent in the rest of the continent. The region accounts for just six percent of the global population, but has at least 16 percent of...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end of 2016. That number does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year. Internal displacement has soared in a...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso on Monday began work to overhaul and expand a single-track rail line connecting Abidjan to the Burkinabe capital that is a vital link between the Sahel and Atlantic coast. Renovating the 1,260-kilometre (782-mile) track -- which had first been announced in 2015 with no work being started -- is expected to take eight years. All parties involved hope the project will improve traffic and trade between the two West African neighbours. "Investment for the work, totalling 396 million euros ($470 million)... is the responsibility of the operator," Ivorian Transport Minister Amadou Kone said at the launch ceremony, referring to the giant French transportation company Bollore.
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where all the residents, numbering several thousand, were "living in inhumane conditions" and were desperate to return home. "We have agreed, along with the EU and the UN, to set up a task force for repatriating at least 3,800 people," Moussa...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron will host talks in Paris on December 13 on "speeding up deployment" of a five-nation anti-terrorism force in the Sahel, aides said Thursday. Macron "will invite fellow leaders and key partners in the joint force, from the EU, UN, AU (African Union)" a source said, adding that the deployment of the so-called G5 Sahel force "is not moving ahead fast enough." The French leader believes that "the terrorists have scored a number of significant military victories, notably in Niger. It is urgent to reverse this trend," the source said. "It will be an acceleration of the timetable for support for the force... We want to make this force more powerful in terms of military manpower and...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
ACCRA (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron fears Islamist militants have scored military and symbolic victories in West Africa while a regional military force has struggled to get off the ground, a French presidential source said on Thursday. To help get the new G5 Sahel force operating effectively, he said, France has invited the United States to a summit with the five participating countries as well as the African Union and European Union in Paris next month. Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers, French troops and U.S. military trainers and drone operators have failed so far to stem a growing wave of jihadist violence, leading world powers to pin their hopes on the new G5 Sahel force. The G5 Sahel initiative -...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
DAKAR/LIBORE, Niger (Reuters) - Mabingue Ngom, the head of the U.N. Population Fund in West Africa, knows that if he wants to cut birth rates he can’t ignore religion. Population experts like Ngom are worried that if West Africa’s population continues to grow at its current pace - the region has the highest birth rate in the world - it will drive fiercer competition for scarce water and farmland, and fuel malnutrition, conflict and ever more economic refugees. West African governments, U.N. agencies and charities also want to cut maternal mortality rates, which are higher in West Africa than anywhere else in the world, according to U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) figures. But imams who follow the puritanical Wahhabist form of...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
Burkina Faso and France on Wednesday launched West Africa's biggest solar farm, a 33-megawatt facility designed to power tens of thousands of households and ease dependence on imported energy. The 55-hectare (135-acre) outside the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou, has an annual capacity equivalent to five percent of national production, according to the national power firm SONABEL. Its 47.5-million-euro ($56.7 million) cost is being met by 25 million euros in donations...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
President Emmanuel Macron kicked off his maiden African tour Tuesday by vowing to declassify secret French files on Burkina Faso's assassinated leader and announcing a billion-euro fund for African businesses. The terror threat has cast a shadow over Macron's swing through West Africa, with three civilians wounded in an attempted grenade attack on French troops in Ouagadougou, the Burkinabe capital, shortly before his arrival late Monday. "Two hooded individuals on a motorcycle threw a grenade towards a French army vehicle" as it made its way to a barracks housing French special forces...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron landed in Burkina Faso on Monday evening for the opening leg of a three-day Africa tour aimed at boosting France's regional influence and stemming the continent's migrant exodus. Macron's first African tour takes him to Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, two former French colonies that deposed strongmen leaders in recent years, as well as to Ghana. "This is a new stage for our relationship with your country and the whole continent," the 39-year-old French leader told reporters shortly after being greeted by his Burkinese counterpart Roch Marc Christian Kabore. He praised his host country for shaking off the 27-year authoritarian rule of former President Blaise Compaore in a 2014 popular uprising in which large numbers of...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
West Africa's biggest solar power plant goes onstream on Wednesday as Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorest countries, inaugurates a novel scheme to boost renewables and cut energy dependence on its neighbours. The 55-hectare (135-acre) plant at Zagtouli on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou will be able to churn out 33 megawatts -- enough to power tens of thousands of homes. Presiding over the opening ceremony will be Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and his visiting French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, whose country partially funded construction of the facility. "For the past six weeks the plant has been in a test phase with production of 14 MW, and will reach a peak of 33 MW during December, sufficient...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...

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