Wednesday 16 August 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(AFP (eng) 05/19/17)
Cameroon will have to "swallow" their disappointment and will take their bronze-medal match at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku "like a final", promised coach Emmanuel Maboang Kessack. Oman edged out the Indomitable Lions 5-3 on penalties after a 0-0 stalemate to face hosts Azerbaijan in the final of the football tournament, leaving Cameroon with only a bronze-medal playoff against Algeria to save face. "This defeat is difficult to swallow. We had the chances, we had the ball but we couldn't score. It's frustrating," explained coach Maboang Kessack after the game. "We are disappointed as we really wanted to win for Cameroon. But we are still a young team and we have one more game to go." Central defender...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(IRIN 05/18/17)
It’s a Monday evening in Bamenda, the main city in troubled English-speaking Cameroon. The gates of the Vatican Express bus depot are shut, just like five other coach companies in town. Any other day and there would be at least five long-distance buses ready to leave for the rest of the majority French-speaking country. But once a week there’s a near-complete shutdown of businesses and public services. Mondays are now “ghost town” days throughout Cameroon’s two anglophone regions: Northwest and Southwest. The boycott action has been called by a civil society coalition protesting English speakers’ “oppression, marginalisation
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(IRIN 05/16/17)
Bamenda — It's a Monday evening in Bamenda, the main city in troubled English-speaking Cameroon. The gates of the Vatican Express bus depot are shut, just like five other coach companies in town. Any other day and there would be at least five long-distance buses ready to leave for the rest of the majority French-speaking country. But once a week there's a near-complete shutdown of businesses and public services. Mondays are now "ghost town" days throughout Cameroon's two anglophone regions: Northwest and Southwest. The boycott action has been called by a civil society coalition protesting English speakers' "oppression, marginalisation, and deprivation". They are demanding the return to a pre-1972 federal constitution, when the entire western part of the country was...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/16/17)
With its sunset-like colors, Charnelle Lumière's painting would seem warm and happy, were it not for the limp body of a young girl hanging from a tree, suspended by a rope around her neck. "This was me," the 27-year-old says in a voice barely louder than a whisper, staring at the painting, oblivious to the rumble of traffic outside the window in Cameroon's capital Yaounde. Having been raped at the age of six by a 23-year-old friend of her brother, Lumière recalls how she kept crying, blood trickling down her legs, as her mother recoiled in shock. Seven years later, Lumière finally mustered up the courage
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(Bloomberg 05/12/17)
Cameroon is fast becoming a battleground for international cement makers drawn by an abundance of major infrastructure projects and the end of a monopoly long held by LafargeHolcim Ltd. Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s largest producer of the building material, and Morocco’s Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha SA have both announced an expansion of production capacity in the central African country this year, challenging Cimenteries du Cameroun, a unit of the world’s biggest cement maker, LafargeHolcim. Demand for cement is estimated to grow 8 percent a year by 2020 from 3 percent now, according to Trade Minister Luc-Magloire Mbarga Atangana. “Not only is the essential building material now sufficiently available even in the remotest
(AFP (eng) 05/12/17)
Cameroon football head coach Richard Towa was taken to a Baku hospital after fainting on Thursday during the match against Morocco in the Islamic Solidarity Games, said team doctor Tamo Moktamo. The Indomitable Lions coach was seen celebrating Frantz Pangop Tchidjui's 31st-minute goal before fainting and "being taken into the stadium's infirmary where he had to be reanimated and was then taken to the hospital in Baku", explained Dr Moktamo. "He was admitted around 6:00 PM local time and was treated at the cardiology department. He's stabilised now and is doing fairly well," he added. The fainting was "most likely" due to a "hypertensive crisis" which caused an violent headache as well as brain disruptions. "It's difficult to say, at...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
Some of Cameroon's brightest prospects at the Islamic Solidarity Games say they are determined to do the country proud by getting their hands on as many medals as possible in Baku. "I want to give the best possible account of myself and try to win the maximum number of medals," pledged Joëlle Sandrine Mbumi, who will be competing in the long jump and triple jump competitions. The 30-year-old is quietly confident about Cameroon's chances. "We've had a very good preparation for these Islamic Solidarity Games," she said. Mbumi secured silver medals in both of her disciplines at the 2016 African Championships, and also represented Cameroon in the triple jump at the 2016 Olympic Games. Her personal bests of 14.16 metres...
(Bloomberg 05/09/17)
Cameroon’s plans to more than double the nation’s production of cocoa beans by 2020 will not be achieved as falling prices are dissuading farmers from planting new crops, according to the state’s support company for growers. Producers in the world’s fifth-biggest cocoa producer have seen farmgate prices slump by more than a third in the past year as London future contracts declined on forecasts of an oversupply. Cameroon, which produced 269,495 metric tons in the year through July, is in the third year of a strategy to increase annual output to more than 600,000 tons by 2020. “The falling prices are seriously discouraging farmers,” Jerome Mvondo, director-general of the Cameroon Cocoa Development Corporation
(APA 05/08/17)
Cameroon and the United Nations (UN) launched Monday a fund-raising campaign seeking 434 million dollars aimed at meeting the humanitarian needs of refugees settled in northern and eastern regions, APA learned from a government source. This amount is part of the 600 million dollars which the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) (2018-2020) for Cameroon is seeking, as the Central African country is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis on its border with Nigeria, due to the exactions of the Islamist sect Boko Haram in the far north and north of the country, which forced many people to flee. According to the UN, the reduction of extreme poverty, the strengthening of the link between humanitarian aid and development, with the priority...
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
Hosts Azerbaijan held Cameroon to a 0-0 draw on the opening day of the football tournament as the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games got underway in Baku. The result leaves defending champions Morocco, Cameroon's next opponents, at the top of the group table after they defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in an earlier match. The Indomitable Lions, who received a phone call from legend Roger Milla to show his support, fielded a strong team with brothers Frank Bagnack (Real Zaragoza) and Michel Vaillant (FK Mladost) manning the squad at both ends of the pitch. While defender Frank, who rose through the ranks of the reputed Barcelona academy, was the most recognized name, it was his younger brother who grabbed the spotlight. The...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
Sports Minister Bidoung Mkpatt has called on Cameroon's athletes to come away with as many medals as possible at the Islamic Solidarity Games which take place in Baku from May 12-22. Mkpatt made the comments at a farewell ceremony for the team in Yaounde. The west African country is sending 62 athletes to the Azerbaijan capital and they will compete in six sports -- athletics, football, weightlifting, handball, wrestling and judo. Four years ago, Cameroon took part in the third edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games in Palembang, Indonesia in 2013, but could only come away with one bronze medal
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...

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