| Africatime
Thursday 27 April 2017
(Cnbc Africa 01/24/17)
While Brexit and the U.S. election dominated headlines in 2016, the African continent witnessed major changes of its own. Its two largest economies were destabilized, with Nigeria being driven into recession and the South African political elite grappling for power. Conflict continued to make news, with the continuation of people trafficking across the Mediterranean and violence in South Sudan bubbling over. Macroeconomic concerns Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa fell to 1.5 percent in 2016 according to the World Bank, which deemed this "the weakest pace in over two decades." The slowdown was chiefly blamed on low commodity prices. But, the organization forecasts growth of 2.9 percent in the region for 2017. Africa's two biggest economies have a lot to account for...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Burundi began Monday releasing a quarter of its jail population under a mass presidential pardon, but prisoners' rights groups voiced concern they were just making room for more political inmates. A first group of 300 were released from the Mpimba central prison in Bujumbura, but authorities aim to free some 2,500 of the total, which stood at 10,051 last month. The releases, which included 58 activists arrested in a police crackdown on demonstrators in April 2014, were aimed at "relieving prisons to allow those remaining to live in acceptable conditions," said Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana. "Every time political prisoners are released it's a good thing," Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa of the Aprodeh prisoners' defence group told AFP. "But we are calling...
(Xinhuanet 01/23/17)
The Rwandan Police said Monday they have intercepted 12 Burundian nationals on suspicion that they were being taken to Middle East countries in a human trafficking scheme. The Burundians were intercepted earlier this month at the Rwanda-Burundi border of Akanyaru on their way through Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, Police said. According to the Deputy Police Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Lynder Nkuranga, the Burundians including 11 women were destined to Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Police said three suspects including one Burundian and two Kenyans were arrested in connection with the scheme. Speaking from Rwanda Police headquarters on Monday, the victims claimed the suspects had promised them good jobs. Police said arrangements were underway to repatriate the victims. Last August the Rwandan...
(Xinhuanet 01/20/17)
Burundi and a UN agency on Thursday evening launched the country's 2017 humanitarian response plan (HRP) to address hunger affecting a quarter of the country's population. "The situation of hunger is due to natural disasters that are behind climate change, on the one hand, and to degrading relations between Burundi and some of its partners," Burundi's foreign minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe said at the launch of the plan. He also seized the opportunity to invite the international community to support vulnerable people through "tangible" assistance. Suzanne Ngo-Mandong, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Burundi, also call on the international community to support the HRP plan. "At least 3 million people are in need of assistance, but among them, 1...
(Voice of America 01/20/17)
By most measures, Africa is safer today than it has been in the modern era: Diseases are less deadly and wars are less frequent. But recent years have also been marked by a rise in radical extremism on the continent, and the terror threat could derail some of the world's fastest-growing economies. Dealing with the spread of radicalization has been a central focus of U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy during his time in office. Few areas have been spared over the past eight years, with much of the continent living in the shadow of a violent extremist group: al-Shabab in Somalia and East Africa, Islamic State (IS) in Libya, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, the Lord's...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/17)
Burundi said Thursday it would not follow through on its planned withdrawal of troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) after reaching an agreement over the payment of wages. The EU funds AMISOM salaries, which are disbursed by the AU, but Bujumbura has not received them for months as European diplomats seek to avoid sending money directly to a government against which the bloc imposed sanctions in response to a nearly two-year-long political crisis. "We have found a solution that safeguards our national sovereignty and therefore the issue of the withdrawal of our soldiers from AMISOM no longer arises," Gaston Sindimwo, Burundi's first
(AFP (eng) 01/19/17)
Young men belonging to Burundi's ruling party are growing increasingly powerful, often collaborating with national intelligence agents as they wage brutal attacks on perceived opponents, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The US-based rights group said the youths, known as Imbonerakure -- "those who see far" in the local Kirundi language -- had been involved in arresting and attacking opposition members since the start of a political crisis in the country in April 2015. In the past three months HRW investigations found the youths "used clubs to beat to death a 15-year-old, drove a knife into the eye of one victim ... and attacked others with knives, clubs and wooden poles. "Imbonerakure members have also set up unofficial roadblocks in multiple...
(Xinhuanet 01/18/17)
The Chinese government's decision to terminate ivory processing and trade by the end of 2017 marked a critical milestone in the journey toward eliminating poaching and other threats to Africa's elephant species, a conservationist group said on Wednesday. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) hailed China for taking bold measures to revitalize global efforts to save African elephants whose numbers had declined this decade due to poaching and climatic stresses. "The recent announcement by the central government of China to ban all domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017 offers a glimmer of real optimism in the fight against elephant poaching," Sebunya said in a statement issued in Nairobi The Chinese authority in December 2016 announced the...
(New Vision 01/17/17)
“I can tell you that rats destroy up to 60% of health equipment in Africa,” Ssali said. Ssali sought to highlight the dangers that exist when biomedical engineers are not consulted in the management of health equipment including x-rays and CT scans. For instance, he narrated, cables of a CT scan installed at one unnamed facility were eaten up by rats, costing the institution over $5,000 to replace. Biomedical engineers are professionals who maintain and repair machines for diagnosing medical problems. They design medical equipment and devices, artificial internal organs or synthetic body parts. In Africa, the profession is relatively new-just about 10 years old in Uganda, it has been in existence in the developed world for nearly half a...
(RFI 01/14/17)
The 27th Africa-France Summit kicked off on Friday in the Malian capital Bamako with more than 30 African heads of state meeting French officials to discuss the threat of jihadists in the Sahel region and improve democracy in Africa. the meeting is also an opportunity for French president François Hollande to showcase his legacy. The choice to hold the 27th Africa-France summit in Mali is not insignificant. Bamako is where president François Hollande first revealed himself as an international statesman, when France's military launched Operation Serval in January 2013 as jihadists allied to Tuareg rebels took control of the north of the country. "I took the necessary steps and we intervened militarily, and what we did there in terms of...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
France's top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault struck a defiant tone at a summit on Friday with foreign ministers from across Africa as he urged them to show confidence and hope despite the deadly jihadist threat. With the battle against extremists, the struggle to improve governance and the migrant crisis high on the agenda, ministers from at least 30 nations met in Mali's capital Bamako ahead of heads of state due on Saturday. Mali called on France four years ago to help force jihadists out of key northern cities. To this day, 4,000 French troops remain in the country and across the Sahel region. "(Choosing) Bamako as the venue is an act of confidence after the intervention," Ayrault told journalists as the...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
Talks gathering some 30 African states and France begin in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday, with leaders expected to focus on Africa's battle against jihadists and bid to improve its democratic record. The summit, also due to take in the migrant crisis, will see foreign ministers gather first, with heads of state expected to follow Saturday, according to Malian and French conference organisers. Many of the nations taking part were once ruled by France, which in recent years has boosted its military involvement in the continent. Several English-speaking African countries will also be present. In a bid to help crush the growing jihadist threat, France has trained more than 20,000 African soldiers every year since a Paris summit in 2013,...
(Huffingtonpost 01/10/17)
And it’s ironic given the growing consensus that Beijing is the U.S. president-elect’s enemy number one. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden are the duo behind the China Africa Project and hosts of the popular China in Africa Podcast. We’re here to answer your most pressing, puzzling, even politically incorrect questions, about all things related to the Chinese in Africa and Africans in China. The election of Donald Trump has introduced a new era of uncertainty in global politics, especially in Africa where the president-elect has said little about his foreign policy agenda for the continent. Not surprisingly, Trump’s unpredictable, provocative style is sparking widespread concern across the continent as to whether the United States plans to remain engaged in...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results in brackets with W denoting a win, D a draw and L a loss): FAVOURITES Egypt (WWW) Back among the elite and in good form. After winning three consecutive Cup of Nations titles, they failed to qualify for the past...
(Agence Ecofin 01/06/17)
Indian firm Aaviskaar Venture Management Services (AVMS) has announced plans to raise between $100 million and $150 million for Africa investments. “We will start the fund-raising around the middle of 2017 and we expect to close it in 2018,” said Vineet Rai, founder of Intellecap-Aavishkaar group. The new African fund will focus on investing on African low-income groups, especially in the agriculture, finance and financial technology sectors. “We will use the sow-tend-reap strategy of multiple round investing and will be an early investor,” Rai told local Indian media Regions targeted are West and East Africa, especially Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana. Investments will range from half a million to $5 million. The investment firm’s expansion strategy in Africa...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
Italy vowed Wednesday to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests have been rejected, after a riot in a reception centre sparked by the death of a young woman. The country, which has been on the frontline of migrants arriving across the Mediterranean from North Africa, is pushing for an agreement with Niger and a renewed deal with Tunisia to facilitate returns. "We have saved many lives but we cannot accept rule-breaking. We need to speed up deportations," Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the country's former interior minister, said in an interview with La Stampa daily. He was "working to tie up agreements which will reduce arrivals and prevent departures" from the coast of North Africa, he said after a record...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/17)
Burundi authorities have banned the country's oldest human rights organisation, which had continued reporting abuses despite being suspended when political turmoil broke out nearly two years ago. A ministerial order made public Tuesday accused the Iteka League of "continuing to tarnish the image of the country and sowing hatred and division among the population." The rights group, established in 1991, took part in a two-year investigation with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) which resulted in a report released in November documenting state-sponsored violence and warning of the risk of genocide.
(BBC News Africa 01/03/17)
An electricity grid for the whole village Problem: A total of 1.3 billion people worldwide currently don't have electricity, according to Yale Environment 360. Getting people in rural areas on to the national grid is proving too difficult and traditional solar panels generate meagre amounts of energy. Solution: Steamaco makes solar and battery micro-grids which can work for a whole village. They are small electricity generation and distribution systems that operate independently of larger grids. How it works: Micro-grids are nothing new. The new part is that Steamaco's technology automates the regulation of electricity. So, if the system detects there will be a surge in demand for electricity, for example on a Saturday night when people want to start playing...
(AFP (eng) 01/01/17)
Burundi's environment minister was shot dead in the capital Bujumbura early Sunday, police said, the first killing of its kind since the country was plunged into political turmoil two years ago. Emmanuel Niyonkuru, 54, the country's water, environment and planning minister, was killed shortly after midnight, according to a tweet sent by police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye. The murder, the first of a serving government minister since Burundi sank into turmoil over President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial bid for a third term in 2015, comes after months of relative calm.
(Voice of America 12/30/16)
2016 was predicted to be a tough year for African economies, and it delivered. Traditional economic leaders faltered this year amid a storm of falling commodity prices, unpredictable and destructive weather like droughts and floods across large swaths of the the continent. Slow economic growth in China, a major investor and trading partner, only added to their challenges. “This year, you’ve seen the two Africas: the commodity exporters going through tough times, while the non-commodity exporters being more resilient,” Nigerian economist Nonso Obikili, who researches Nigerian and sub-Saharan economic trends for Economic Research Southern Africa, told VOA. He says 2016 has been hard on African commodity giants as oil prices fell to lows not seen since the global financial crisis...

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