Monday 11 December 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Thousands of people have fled Cameroon's violence-hit anglophone regions into neighbouring Nigeria in recent weeks, the UN said Tuesday, adding it was preparing to help 40,000 refugees from the unrest. The UN refugee agency and Nigerian authorities have so far registered some 2,000 Cameroonians who have fled into southeastern Nigeria since October 1, while another 3,000 were awaiting registration. Even more people are believed to be trapped in forests on the Cameroonian side. "We are preparing to help up to 40,0000," UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told AFP, stressing though that the number of people fleeing into Nigeria could easily surpass that figure.
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Five children were killed Tuesday night and two others wounded by a suicide bomber described as a "young girl" in a northern region of Cameroon plagued by Boko Haram attacks, sources said Wednesday. "A suicide bomber blew herself up (on Tuesday) at around 7.45 pm (1845 GMT)" in the village of Zamga, two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the Nigerian border, said a security officer responsible for the zone, reached from the capital Yaounde. "Five children were killed and two others wounded," he said on condition of anonymity, adding that the suicide bomber was also killed in the blast. The attack and the death toll were confirmed to AFP by another security source. A group of children was playing when "a...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Six countries in central and western Africa have breathed life into long-running plans to allow visa-free movement of people among their nations. At a summit in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, the countries formally declared late Tuesday that the scheme had now been ratified by all members. The agreement gathers six francophone states -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo -- in a bloc called the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The association, set up in 2000, has a potential market of 30 million consumers, many of whom however, live in poverty.
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
At least 20 people were killed in a series of attacks in Cameroon and Nigeria on Monday, in the latest violence blamed on Boko Haram Islamists. A civilian militia member said 11 people had been "slaughtered" overnight Sunday-Monday in the village of Gouderi, in the Kolofata region of Cameroon's Far North. "Boko Haram's incursion in Gouderi was an act of revenge," said the militia member, who asked not to be identified for security reasons. "The jihadists acted after the arrest in the area of some of their colleagues," he added. Civilians were also the target of a suicide bomber at a mosque in Ajiri Yala, 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria. The...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Suspected Boko Haram militants killed at least 10 villagers in northern Cameroon on Sunday night in what army and local officials said was revenge for attacks by Cameroon’s army. Cameroon’s semi-arid Far North region has been a target of Boko Haram suicide bombings and raids for eight years as the Islamist insurgency spilled over the border from Nigeria, killing 20,000 and uprooting nearly 3 million in the Lake Chad region. Cameroon forces have tried to beat back insurgents but have struggled to stop unpredictable attacks that have been the hallmark of Boko Haram’s bid to carve out an Islamic state. A senior army source said the attackers came to the village of Gouderi at 11 p.m. on...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Boko Haram fighters killed 11 civilians in Cameroon's far north overnight, targetting a village where several members of the Islamist group were recently arrested, officials told AFP Monday. The Boko Haram attack in the village of Gouderi was "an act of reprisal. The jihadists acted after the arrest of a number of their comrades there," a local self-defence group official told AFP. "Boko Haram slaughtered 11 people," added the official who requested anonymity. The attack and the death toll were confirmed by a security services source.
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
UN chief Antonio Guterres said he would meet President Paul Biya of Cameroon late Friday to discuss the troubles in the country's anglophone regions. "We are going to be able to assess the recent evolution of (the situation of) the anglophone community," Guterres told AFP on Thursday in Bangui, capital of Central African Republic (CAR). Guterres is to leave CAR at 1615 GMT on Friday after a four-day visit to the country. He will make a four-hour stopover in Yaounde where he is to take a commercial flight to Paris. He will use this time to talk with Biya. "It's a meeting that I deeply appreciate," Guterres said, adding that it reflected Cameroon's "great interest" in working "positively" in the...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
The Nigerian military on Wednesday said it was investigating reports that a recent bombing raid killed one of the wives of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Fighter jets attacked what was said to be "a large gathering of Boko Haram terrorists" at the Durwawa settlement, near Urga in the Konduga area of Borno state on October 19. The bombing killed jihadists on the ground and triggered a fire, air force spokesman Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya said in an emailed statement. "Efforts are ongoing to confirm the reported killing of Shekau's wife, alongside other BHTs (Boko Haram terrorists)," he added.
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Cameroon on Wednesday blasted the International Crisis Group (ICG) as an "agency of destabilisation" after the thinktank warned an armed insurgency could erupt in the country's restive anglophone regions. In a statement, government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary hit out at reports published by the ICG on August 2 and October 19 that criticised a crackdown in the two English-speaking regions. The October 19 report notably called on Cameroon to rethink a policy of "murderous repression" that, it warned, could lead to an "armed uprising". Tchiroma described the ICG as "a veritable agency of destabilisation (of Cameroon), in the pay of the secessionist movements and shadowy interests whose only dream is to sow chaos in our country". The ICG's claims of...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
A secessionist revolt is gaining ground in the English-speaking west of Cameroon, but for lack of charismatic local leaders, the impetus is coming from the diaspora, analysts say. On October 1, secessionist militants proclaimed the independence of Ambazonia, the name they give to the two Anglophone regions, provoking a crackdown by President Paul Biya's security forces that left dozens dead and many injured. The upheaval, which broke out at the end of 2016 and threatens to become an "armed insurrection" according to the International Crisis Group (ICG), was at first motivated by the Cameroon...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Cameroon must urgently rethink a policy of "murderous repression" in its restive English-speaking regions or risk the crisis spiralling into an armed uprising, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned Thursday. In a report on the political crisis in the west African nation, the NGO said the government's crackdown on the anglophone minority had failed and had only served to fuel a clamour for independence. French-speaking Cameroon has a large anglophone minority which comprises around a fifth of its population of 22 million. Gathered mainly in two regions, many English-speakers say the suffer inequality and discrimination.
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...

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