| Africatime
Tuesday 21 February 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/16)
More than $1 billion in debt and financing commitments from U.S. agencies and private investors is set to be announced on Wednesday for U.S. President Barack Obama's signature Africa energy initiative, Power Africa, a top USAID official said. The latest deals were finalized around a U.S.-Africa business forum on the sidelines of annual U.N. meetings in New York this week, USAID chief Gayle Smith said in an interview with Reuters. Obama launched the initiative in 2013 with an initial investment of $7 billion, which aims to install 10,000 megawatts of new generation capacity, connect 20 million new customers, and improve electric reliability across the Sub-Saharan Africa. The program hoped to attract private capital into energy projects in a region where...
(AFP (eng) 09/20/16)
Burundi's government is behind systematic human rights violations, including executions and torture, UN investigators said Tuesday, warning of possible crimes against humanity and the looming risk of "genocide". "Gross human rights violations have and are taking place, committed primarily by state agents and those linked to them," the investigators concluded in a report, adding that "impunity is pervasive". The report said the experts could "not exclude that some instances of these gross human rights violations amount to crimes against humanity."
(AfricaNews 09/20/16)
The European Union (EU) has announced a €44 billion ($50 billion) investment proposal for Africa and the Mediterranean as part of the European investment plan aimed at helping fight migration. The plan according to the EU foreign affairs chief, Frederica Mogherini, is ‘‘an innovative new youth investment plan for Africa and the Mediterranean, mobilizing EU funds and we plan to mobilize up to 44 billion euros to have investments in Africa. ‘’(It) is the biggest investment plan ever proposed for Africa and the Mediterranean, something that only the European Union, with all economic and diplomatic power can put in place,’‘ she added. Speaking to journalists in New York, Ms Mogherini said the EU sees a great potential of growth and...
(Xinhuanet 09/19/16)
With no hope of returning to their country soon, Burundians who have spent more than a year living at Rwanda's largest refugee camp, Mahama, are offered to continue with education at Rwanda's higher learning institutions. Close to 260 Burundi students who fled their country after finishing high schools, and others who were at the university at the time, have already started English lessons to cope up with university and tertiary education in Rwanda, according to Jean Claude Ciza, president of the association of refugee students at Mahama refugee camp in Bugesera district, Eastern Province. "The government of Rwanda, in partnership with UNHCR, is supporting us to resume our education here in Rwanda. We want to continue with studies and, we...
(AfricaNews 09/19/16)
The agreement on African games signed in Cairo over the weekend between the African Union and the Association of National Olympic committees of Africa will be implemented after validation by the Africa Union commission. The two parties are expected to mobilise renowned African athletes and the best teams to help raise their level of performance. Sources say the African Union will continue to manage the African games while the Union of African Sports Confederations will take care of its technical coordination. The agreement has been concluded to improve the competitiveness, income and marketing of the African games. Organisers are looking forward to attaching more importance to the African games by ensuring that the games are used as qualifiers for the...
(Xinhuanet 09/17/16)
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has reiterated its commitment to continue supporting African countries to boost the number of tourist arrivals so as to spur economic growth and job creation on the continent. Elcia Grandcourt, UNWTO Programme Director for Africa, told Xinhua Friday at an ongoing three-day workshop in Addis Ababa that UNWTO is also committed to helping African countries address the challenges in tourism sector. "Today and yesterday, we talked about the issues of travel facilitation, for example, accessibility, visa facilitation, the right and appropriate infrastructure, the right policy framework-- these are all the challenges that are there," she said. "We work with our members to try and see how progressively we can have to address these issues."...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/16/16)
Major private equity firms have seen a number of top management departures in Africa, individuals familiar with the matter said, as the funds grapple with investments hurt by a weak economy. U.S. firm Carlyle (CG.O), Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and emerging market-focused Actis have all seen a change of top executives at their Africa funds, according to these six individuals. Once seen as a beacon of growth, private equity firms expanded their business in the region just before the financial crash. A weak economy and falling currencies have now taken the gloss off a decade of 'Africa rising' optimism. Some investments by these companies have struggled in the downturn. The changes at these groups, which pool the money of pension funds...
(BBC News Africa 09/15/16)
Swiss firms have been criticised in a report for their links to the African trade in diesel with toxin levels that are illegal in Europe. Campaign group Public Eye says retailers are exploiting weak regulatory standards. Vitol, Trafigura, Addax & Oryx and Lynx Energy have been named because they are shareholders of the fuel retailers. Trafigura and Vitol say the report is misconceived and retailers work within legal limits enforced in the countries. Three of the distribution companies mentioned in the report have responded by saying that they meet the regulatory requirements of the market and have no vested interest in keeping sulphur levels higher than they need to be. Although this is within the limits set by national governments,...
(Voice of America 09/13/16)
Representatives of 30 African countries have been working this week to map out ways to stop the continent’s mass rural exodus at the Forum on Rural Development in Yaounde. Emmanuel Afessi works on his desk top at Odja center in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, where he is training 30 youths on information technologies at the center he created when he returned from the United States a year ago. "Africa needs to produce its own knowledge, its own equipment and that is why we want to train people within the continent," he said. "ICTs help close the gap between the developed and the developing world much faster than any technology including the motor vehicles. It is a large contributor to most African...
(The East African 09/10/16)
The Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) is seeking to raise $200 million from partners over the next two years to fund the continent's audiovisual and cinema sector. The funds will be used to establish centres of excellence in the five regions - East Africa, North Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa -- and the locations will be decided by the African Council of Ministers of Culture. The money will be used to improve the quality and quantity of films, documentaries and other forms of audiovisual productions and create market channels for selling the films. The funding plan is one of the key planks of the Ambika Afrika Safari Film Festival (AASFF) to be held in Nairobi from...
(Voice of America 09/09/16)
The organizers of this week's Africa Green Revolution Forum in Kenya say the continent is well on its way to an agricultural renaissance. The forum is wrapping up with a significant boost toward that goal: a pledge of $30 billion during the next 10 years to support smallholder farmers and local African agribusinesses. The donors include African governments, businesses and development partners, many of whom have been present for the Nairobi forum. But significant challenges remain for the continent, and experts have many theories about what it will take to make Africa’s green revolution a reality. Country manager James Craske of Yara, a leading fertilizer manufacturing company in Africa, said quality seeds and fertilizer would make a difference. “I think...
(AFP (eng) 09/04/16)
As Gabon is rocked by violence following the contested re-election of President Ali Bongo, experts says electoral fraud in Africa is becoming harder, thanks to civil society vigilance and spread of mobile technology. Opposition leader Jean Ping on Friday declared himself the rightful president of Gabon and called for a recount, following Bongo’s claim of victory with a razor-thin margin of just under 6,000 votes in the August 27 election. But recent elections in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin and Burkina Faso have all been held largely without dispute, overseen by engaged citizens who assured careful monitoring of the process, said Mathias Hounkpe...
(AFP (eng) 08/31/16)
"Before, at this time of year, we imported beans from Burundi but now they say they don't want to sell their crops to 'the enemy'," said Evariste Ndikumana, a trader on the Rwandan side of the border. Worsening relations between Burundi and Rwanda mean the once-bustling border town of Akanyaru is suffering, hitting the economies of both countries. Always awkward neighbours, Rwanda and Burundi have fallen out since a domestic political crisis enveloped Burundi in April last year, while spiteful policy-making in Bujumbura has made a bad situation worse.
(AFP (eng) 08/27/16)
Japan will pour $30 billion (27 billion euros) in investment in Africa by 2018, including $10 billion in infrastructure development, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday at a summit in Nairobi. "When combined with the investment from the private sector I expect the total real amount to be $30 billion," Abe said at the opening of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). "This is an investment that has faith in Africa's future," he said. Abe will use the conference to meet dozens of leaders from across Africa, among them Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa's Jacob Zuma. It is the first time that the TICAD conference is being held in Africa, with all five previous events...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/25/16)
Burundi could scrap presidential term limits from its constitution after a commission set up to hear public views on governance said most citizens wanted no curbs on the number of times the head of state may seek re-election. The central African nation has been gripped by violence for more than a year, triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term. Opponents said the decision, taken in April 2015, violated the constitution, which currently limits presidential tenure to two five-year terms. Justin Nzoyisaba, chairman of CNDI, a commission set up by Nkurunziza last year to canvas public opinion on Burundi's political system, said late on Wednesday that most Burundians wanted term limits abolished. The majority of the people...
(AFP 08/19/16)
Maps, road signs, sat navs, Google maps -- it all makes travelling so easy. But how do you get around in a city with few street names, where buildings have no numbers? "Cross 'Death Junction' then after about 500 metres on the left, you'll see a curtain seller. Go up the path until you see a black building -- that's where I live," says Judith Koumis, giving directions to her home in Yaounde, the Cameroon capital. "It's easy," she says, forgetting, like everyone else, that "Death Junction" has an official name -- Friendship Junction. In this west African country, like many other places on the continent, getting around town can be something of a puzzle without a firm grasp of...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/12/16)
Torture is on the rise against government critics detained in Burundi and security forces are using sexual violence against women during protests and searches, United Nations human rights experts said on Friday. The U.N. Committee against Torture voiced concern at the use of "genocidal rhetoric" by senior officials and at the ethnic nature of the year-long conflict in the central African country. "We have reports and information that indicates that the violence, the torture, is politically-motivated. And whether it also has an ethnic component, there are also indications for that," Jens Modvic, panel chairman, told a news briefing. "You could consider that systematic torture directed toward certain political and ethnic groups would be an early warning sign of a process...
(Voice of America 08/09/16)
The U.N. Committee against Torture is expressing "grave concern" about reports that four Burundi lawyers are facing disbarment as retribution for giving information to the group. A statement by the committee Monday urged the Burundian government to provide "urgent reassurances" that no lawyers or activists would face reprisals for cooperating with the committee. It said the four lawyers — Armel Niyongere, Lambert Nigarura, Dieudonne Bashirahishize and Vital Nshimirimana — contributed to a report by Burundian nongovernmental organizations for the U.N. committee about alleged torture.
(AFP (eng) 08/09/16)
Fish are becoming more scarce in Africa's oldest and deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika, because of climate warming, not just overfishing, US researchers said this week. The study on Lake Tanganyika, which covers parts of Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, relied on sediment samples drilled from the lake bed and going back 1,500 years to analyze the changing biodiversity. Researchers found that the lake has been warming since the 1800s, leading to a decline in lake algae which fish feed on, and decreasing numbers of fish. Large-scale commercial fishing began on Lake Tanganyika in the 1950s, and some have raised concern that overfishing may be threatening the lake's fish. The lake provides 60 percent of the animal protein...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/09/16)
Four Burundian lawyers who gave information to the United Nations about alleged torture in their central African country face disbarment as retribution for their testimony, U.N. human rights experts said on Monday. The U.N. Committee against Torture (CAT) urged the Burundian government to provide "urgent reassurances" that no lawyer or activist would be punished for taking part in a special session of the panel in Geneva last month. The committee of 10 independent experts examined Burundi's record, voicing concern at allegations of killings and torture of opposition figures by the ruling CNDD-FDD party's youth wing Imbonerakure. The four lawyers - Armel Niyongere, Lambert Nigarura, Dieudonné Bashirahishize and Vital Nshimirimana - contributed to a report by Burundian NGOs for the July...

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