| Africatime
Tuesday 28 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
An African road movie about four women wowed its audience Sunday as it kicked off the Panafrican cinema and television festival (Fespaco), a showcase for the continent's burgeoning film industry. "Borders" ("Frontieres") directed by Apolline Traore, a Fespaco laureate in 2013, sweeps across Africa as its protagonists journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin on their way to Nigeria. Along the way the women -- Ivorian, Senegalese, Burkinabe and Nigerian actresses -- are spared nothing as they are beset by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/25/17)
The United Nations has called on political parties in Burundi to commit fully to peace talks to resolve a two-year old political crisis in the east African nation. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza's government said earlier this month it would not attend the talks led by the East African Community (EAC) aimed at ending the crisis sparked by his decision to run for a third term in office. "I urge all Burundian stakeholders to place their country's interests above their own and to commit in good faith and without preconditions to a truly inclusive and credible EAC-led dialogue," U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the U.N. Security Council. The government, which has repeatedly accused the U.N. of...
(Xinhuanet 02/24/17)
East African Community (EAC) member states are fast tracking a comprehensive review of the Common External Tariff (CET) in order to protect infant industries, officials said on Friday. Kenya's Ministry of EAC Affairs, Labour and Social Protection Permanent Secretary Betty Maina said the EAC will review the criteria used in classifying goods that enter the EAC. "The intention of the review is to make the rules of trade facility as well as attract investments into the region," Maina said during the third EAC manufacturers' network meeting. "The review will also include reforms of duty remissions and exemptions schemes in order to create a fair play ground for manufacturers in the EAC partner states," she added. The two-day event brought together...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
The mediator in Burundi's nearly two-year political crisis on Sunday asked regional leaders to call an urgent summit as deep discord and a government boycott hamper peace talks. Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa wrapped up four days of talks with some 30 Burundian representatives who agreed on the basic problems, but not how to resolve them. He was tasked with ending problems that erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in April 2015, sparking unrest which killed hundreds and left 400,000 displaced. The biggest hitch is Burundi's fierce opposition to the process as long as it includes exiled main opposition...
(AFP (eng) 02/18/17)
Burundi's government on Friday asked Tanzania to arrest several leaders of the main opposition attending peace talks in Arusha in a bid to resolve a nearly two-year political crisis. The talks are the latest effort by former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa to mediate the crisis in neighbouring Burundi which erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in office in April 2015. But the government has once again refused to attend the talks and negotiate with the main umbrella opposition movement, the National Council for the Restoration of Arusha Agreement and Rule of Law (CNARED) -- which is exiled in Brussels. Bujumbura considers the party a "terrorist organisation" and accuses it of leading a coup plot...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/17)
The government of Burundi has said it will not attend peace talks scheduled to resume in Tanzania on Thursday, although the main opposition alliance has confirmed its participation. The talks are meant to find an end to a violent political crisis that began in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term - a move opponents said violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended an ethnically charged civil war. "The government of Burundi finds some irregularities in the organization of this present session," a government statement said on Wednesday. Spokesman Phillipe Nzobonariba said the government objected to the presence of senior U.N. adviser Benomar Jamal, but did not say why. The government has repeatedly...
(Xinhuanet 02/16/17)
The Burundian government has decided to boycott talks due in Arusha, Tanzania on Feb. 16-18, aimed at settling the east African country's 2015 crisis, the Burundian government said Wednesday night in a statement. "The Burundian government will not send delegates to the Arusha talks due on Feb. 16-18 this year. Burundian citizens need international solidarity, but they have the right to be respected during their choice in the dialogue process," Burundian Government Spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba said in the statement. According to him, invitations of participants to the talks to be held under the auspices of former Tanzanian President and facilitator in the inter-Burundi talks Benjamin Mkapa were characterized by irregularities. "There are irregularities on the organization of the session notably...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Burundi's government affirmed Tuesday it will shun peace talks with opposition figures planned for later this week in Tanzania, dragging out a political crisis that has stretched for over a year. The talks are intended to resolve deadly political violence that has rocked the tiny central Africa nation for over a year, killing at least 500 people. Violence erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in office in April 2015. At least 300,000 people have fled the country. Mediator Benjamin Mkapa, a former Tanzanian president, has invited "a group of 33 key figures" comprising on one side the government and its allies, and on the other side, their opponents, an African diplomat told AFP on...
(Xinhuanet 02/15/17)
The Burundian government has started a regional campaign to ask the country's refugees to voluntarily return home despite tension in the east African country. Government officials on Tuesday started their campaign in Uganda, the host for over 45,000 Burundian refugees who have fled violence at home since May 2015. "The government has made efforts to restore peace and deal with development now. We want the refugees to return home to contribute to our country's development," Pascal Barandagiye, Burundian home affairs and civic education minister, told reporters after meeting Ugandan government officials. Hillary Onek, Uganda's minister for disaster preparedness, refugees and relief, said the campaign should be supported. "We are sure the situation in Burundi is improving. We encourage the refugees...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(Xinhuanet 02/14/17)
The Burundian National Media Council (CNC) has warned journalists tarnishing the east African country's image, the CNC vice-chairman said Monday at the celebration of the World Radio Day. "Media freedom is real in Burundi. This is a warning against journalists using internet to tarnish Burundi's image, who claim that there's no media freedom here (in Burundi). There are over 33 media companies including more than 24 radio stations, six television stations and three government owned media houses," CNC Vice-Chairman Gabriel Bihumugani told a press conference. According to him, there is "good collaboration" between the CNC and media in Burundi. The world radio day is however celebrated in the east African nation at a time when three radio stations have been...
(Xinhuanet 02/14/17)
Burundi will in August host the 2017 East African Community (EAC) military games and culture events, a senior Burundian army official said Monday at the launch of the first meeting to prepare those games. "This preliminary meeting has brought together delegates from the EAC armies. We are preparing EAC military games and culture events that take every year in one of the EAC member states," Brigadier General Marius Ngendabanka, a senior Burundian army official said. According to him, the EAC military games and culture events are taking place in Burundi for the second time. Burundi hosted the games for the first time in 2011 after its admission to the bloc in July 2007, with Rwanda, joining Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda...

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