Wednesday 24 May 2017
(Voice of America 04/27/17)
Ten trucks carrying much-needed food for Burundi are back in Rwanda's capital after authorities denied entry at the border, citing security concerns. The World Food Program in Burundi says the trucks, carrying 300 tons of beans to feed Congolese refugees and other WFP recipients, were stopped at the border last Friday and returned Tuesday to the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye defended the decision to deny entry, saying Rwanda has been the source of crime and "insecurity" for Burundi since 2015. "If today, there are objects or people coming from the same area
(Business Day Ghana 04/27/17)
There are currently 960 million mobile subscriptions across Africa – an 80 percent penetration rate among the continent’s population. Internet penetration is at 18 percent with 216 million internet users, according to the latest Jumia mobile trend report for Africa. The 2017 edition of the African Mobile Trends Paper is the third white paper presentation from Jumia delving into mobile trends across Africa and specifically Nigeria. The study takes a look at the how the market has democratised mobile internet use, the consumer behaviours driving increased smartphone adoption and the role of mobile brands, mobile operators and m-commerce in creating a synergy of an enhanced customer experience. This year’s Mobile Africa Study was carried out in 15 African countries which...
(Bloomberg 04/26/17)
Burundi’s political crisis, which has left at least 720 people dead over the past two years, is easing with the number of arrests declining, according to the country’s state-run human-rights agency. While as many as 60 people were being detained daily at the height of the crisis in 2015, the number has dropped to between 10 to 15, Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza, president of the Independent National Commission for Human Rights, told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Bujumbura. “The situation is that tension is coming down slowly,” Baribonekeza said. Landlocked Burundi has been roiled by violence since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term in office, a move that contravened the landlocked nation’s laws, according to...
(Iwacu 04/26/17)
Burundi Government accepts the proposal by the UN Secretary General (UNSG) to replace Jamal Benomar, his special advisor on the Burundian conflict, by Michel Kafando. Alain Diomède Nzeyimana, Deputy Spokesman for Burundi President, says the Presidential Office has received a letter from the UN Secretary General nominating Michel Kafando, the former chairman of interim government in Burkina Faso, to replace Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the resolution of Burundi conflict. "However, we have not yet received a letter confirming his appointment," Nzeyimana says. He says the government of Burundi has given the green light. "The government could not oppose the appointment of that person. He is a veteran in diplomacy and international relations. We hope that...
(Xinhuanet 04/26/17)
The Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative is a golden opportunity to bring about regional integration and sustainable economic growth for Africa, said Berhane Gebre-Christos, special envoy of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, on Tuesday. The special envoy made the remarks at the opening of a seminar organized on the B&R Initiative in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Welcoming the initiative, the special envoy said he is looking forward to the expected effects of the initiative. "The B&R is a project that will affect millions of people, and it will be one of the most important issues of the 21st century," he said, adding that the comprehensive approach of China means that the aspirations and development strategies of all countries involved will be...
(AFP (eng) 04/25/17)
Two years after Burundi's president plunged the central African country into turmoil, the regime shows no signs of easing up on a crackdown that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee. The UN estimates that at least 500 people have been killed since President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a third term in April 2015. Aid groups say as many as 2,000 people have died. Nkurunziza's re-election move violated the two-term limit set by the constitution and a 2006 peace deal that ended a dozen years of civil war. The head of state claims that his first term doesn't count because he was appointed after the war, and not directly elected. He has also suggested a possible change to Burundi's constitution that...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa. The vaccine should be used alongside other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, repellants and anti-malarial drugs, the WHO...
(Xinhuanet 04/21/17)
Over ten armed bandits operating on the border between Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) have been arrested, the Burundian police spokesman said Friday. Burundian Police Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said the armed bandits, who stole belongings in Burundi and crossed the border to the DR Congo, were arrested at various border points. According to him, those bandits are responsible for theft cases and abductions of people who help them carry stolen things. Nkurikiye added that some were arrested while others surrendered to the police. "With the collaboration of Congolese security forces, we will dismantle all those armed bandits operation on the border between the two countries. We seized their arms and those bandits are held in...
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
WorldRemit Ltd., a British money-transfer operator, sees revenue from transactions involving Africans doubling by 2020 as more people on the continent access mobile-payment platforms and expatriates send cash home. The seven-year-old company, in which Facebook Inc.-backer Accel Partners LP invested $40 million in 2014, will this year open a regional office in South Africa, its largest market on the continent in terms of money-transfer value, founder and Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed said in an interview. Another site will start operating in Kenya, where the London-based business sees Africa’s highest number of individual transactions. “In the next two years we should be doubling our volume every year,” Ahmed said in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The continent accounted for half the company’s...
(Voice of America 04/19/17)
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says he is alarmed by a growing, widespread campaign of terror in Burundi being waged by government-backed militia against opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s party. The U.N. human rights office says a chilling video circulating on social media has laid bare the horrifying and alarming nature of the campaign of terror. Rupert Colville, spokesman for High Commissioner Zeid Ra-ad al-Hussein, says the video shows more than 100 members of the Imbonerakure, the government’s youth wing, inciting violence.
(Xinhuanet 04/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will convene Wedesday the first UN-AU Annual Conference. The two leaders will look into how to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations to face common challenges and opportunities in the continent, on issues of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, said Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, at a daily briefing. "They will also sign the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security," said Dujarric. It will be the first conference Mahamat will address with the United Nation since he was elected as chairperson of the African Union Commission. Although he had brief talks with Guterres in Addis...
(AFP (eng) 04/18/17)
The UN rights chief on Tuesday condemned the feared youth wing of Burundi's ruling party for repeatedly calling for the rape and murder of opposition supporters. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the calls for violence -- which often took the form of songs or chants -- by members of the Imbonerakure youth wing of the CNND-FDD party amounted to a "campaign of terror." "The grotesque rape chants by the young men of the Imbonerakure across several provinces in various parts of Burundi are deeply alarming -- particularly because they confirm what we have been hearing from those who have fled Burundi about a campaign of fear and terror by this organised militia," Zeid said in a statement. The youth wing,...
(Xinhuanet 04/18/17)
Burundi reiterated on Monday the government's call for the repatriation of Burundian refugees who fled the country's 2015 crisis. "The campaign of sensitizing Burundian citizens living in refugee camps in neighboring countries has continued during the past three months and results are satisfactory," said Home Affairs and Civic Education Minister Pascal Barandagiye while presenting the three-month activity report. "We are convincing them to return home and come to build their nation," said the minister. According to him, many among those refugees were just "scared or fled rumors."
(AFP (eng) 04/18/17)
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday forecast 2.6 percent growth in sub-Saharan Africa this year, aided by a modest recovery in large economies South Africa, Nigeria and Angola. "Growth is projected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2017 and 3.5 percent in 2018, largely driven by specific factors in the largest economies, which faced challenging macroeconomic conditions in 2016," the IMF said its latest World Economic Outlook report. A slump in commodity price in 2016 and devastating drought had affected growth in several countries in the region, resulting in 1.4 percent growth of gross domestic product (GDP). Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation and a leading oil producer, was expected to return to growth in 2017 after a challenging 2016...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that all the information people give them before they start their journey are wrong," said Nantcha. The group’s leader Sylvie Nantcha was born in Cameroon. She has lived in the German town of Freiburg for 25 years. She arrived as a...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes - it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, said the head of one of the continent's biggest solar companies. Azuri Technologies' entry level solar system - for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis - provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri. "This...
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
Burundi's ruling party sought Wednesday to distance itself from a viral video showing members of its feared youth wing threatening to impregnate opposition women. Hundreds of the youths known as Imbonerakure -- "those who see from afar" in the local Kirundi language -- are shown in military-like formation singing "impregnate the opposition so that they give birth to Imbonerakure". The ruling CNND-FDD initially said the video which began circulating three days ago had been faked by the opposition, but was on Wednesday forced to admit its authenticity after it sparked outrage on social media networks.
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
Across Burundi, citizens complain they are being extorted by authorities to pay "contributions" to finance monuments glorifying the ruling party or development projects. Members of the opposition, civil society and ordinary citizens contacted by AFP have denounced a system of forced dues in the country which has been mired in crisis for two years since President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a disputed third term in office. Many of the contributions go towards building offices for Nkurunziza's ruling CNDD-FDD, or a string of new monuments inscribed with slogans glorifying the party such as: "We made sacrifices to lead this country, we won't give it up." In the northwestern province of Cibitoke, several residents told AFP they have been forced to pay...

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