| Africatime
Thursday 23 March 2017
(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...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(African Review 12/28/16)
Striking Cameroon teachers Tuesday stormed out of the negotiations with the government in the Northwestern town of Bamenda. They vowed to continue with the strike that has paralysed school operations in the region since November 21. Thousands of teachers and lawyers in English-speaking regions of Cameroon have resorted to work boycott, accusing the government of imposing the French language on their schools and courts. Much sympathy Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/27/16)
Sitting in a circle with several other young men in a charity's offices in Cameroon's capital, Fleur listens intently to the speaker talk about gay sex before slowly raising his hand. "Can we catch AIDS by swallowing sperm?" he asks, prompting laughter from his peers at the group discussion held by Alcondoms, an organization promoting the rights and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Yet HIV and homosexuality are no laughing matter for men like Fleur in a country where being gay is illegal and LGBT activists face rising hostility and violence. Cameroon has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in West and Central Africa, after Nigeria, and men who have sex with men are hit the...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/27/16)
A suicide bomber in the northern Cameroon town of Mora killed a young student and a woman in an attack on a market full of Christmas shoppers, an aide to the governor of Far North region said on Sunday. Suicide bombers suspected of belonging to the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have launched attacks in Mora, about 30 km (20 miles) from the Nigerian border, several times before. The bomb also killed the attacker and wounded five other people, said the aide to Governor Midjiyawa Bakary. "The suicide bomber was pretending to be a beggar and was walking towards the market which was full because of Christmas. Members of a vigilance committee spotted him before he could penetrate the market,"...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/16)
A suicide bomber apparently targeting a religious site on Christmas day killed two civilians in northern Cameroon, a region often hit by Boko Haram jihadists from Nigeria, the local governor said Sunday. "The suicide bomber was certainly targeting a religious site, but we cannot say exactly which one. It's Christmas day and there are prayers" being said everywhere, Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the Far North region of Cameroon, told AFP. ""We have two deaths reported at the site, the suicide bomber and a member of a security committee, and a third person died at hospital," he said, referring to a 19-year-old student. The governor added that there were also five others wounded and hospitalised but their condition was not life-threatening...
(AfricaNews 12/24/16)
Leaders of the six countries that make up the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) have agreed they will not devalue the CFA Franc following an extraordinary session in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde on Friday. Although the agenda of the meeting was not clear, reports confirmed that the CFA Franc will not be devalued contrary to rumors from various media reports. The leaders also pledged to enhance more fiscal discipline in the bloc which is currently facing an economic crisis. There has been a growing debate on the use of the currency – which is pegged to the French Franc – and which analysts say needs to be devalued to encourage growth in the region. The CFA Franc was created...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/24/16)
A record 5,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea this year, following two shipwrecks on Thursday in which some 100 people, mainly West Africans, were feared dead, aid agencies said on Friday. Two overcrowded inflatable dinghies capsized in the Strait of Sicily after leaving Libya for Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. "Those two incidents together appear to be the numbers that would bring this year's total up to over to 5,000 (deaths), which is a new high that we have reported during this crisis," IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva briefing. The Italian coast guard rescued survivors and had recovered eight bodies so far, he said...
(AFP (eng) 12/23/16)
IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Friday joined a Cameroon summit of central African leaders aimed at tackling economic woes brought on by weak oil prices. "Our foreign exchange reserves have dropped substantially," Cameroon's President Paul Biya said in his opening address. "We need to act and fast, we should act together." Lagarde's presence had not been announced previously, nor had that of French Finance Minister Michel Sapin who also joined the meeting. Some of the foreign exchange reserves of central African nations using the CFA franc are held by the French treasury. Historically, the currency used in much of central and west Africa was pegged to the French franc. It is now fixed to the euro. Cameroon's leader, who has...
(The Globe and Mail 12/23/16)
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope, opening new frontiers in our understanding of the universe. But the builders have to contend with an unforgiving climate and other formidable challenges first, In the desolate rocky plains of the Great Karoo, the dangers are endless. Scorpions and puff adders are underfoot. The harsh sun beats down, interrupted only by occasional lightning storms. Temperatures range from stifling heat to freezing cold. But at night, in the vast empty darkness, the stars are impossibly bright and clear. And it is the stars that have lured a Canadian-backed project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope, with the potential to unlock the deepest secrets of the universe. For...
(Voice of America 12/22/16)
Cameroon says it has intercepted more than 670 kilograms of African pangolin that authorities say were being smuggled from the Central African country to Malaysia. The pangolin is the world’s most trafficked mammal, and conservationist groups are calling for severe sanctions on the three traffickers who have been arrested. Cameroon customs lieutenant, Wara Wara Francois Noel, of the Yaounde-Nsimalen international airport told VOA the recovered pangolin scales were found in several meat packets. He said the three smugglers had bribed their way into the airport, but authorities were mobilized after getting a tip from
(Reuters (Eng) 12/22/16)
The humanitarian catastrophe in Lake Chad basin, where conflict has left over 8 million people destitute with many "teetering on the brink of famine", was the most neglected crisis in 2016, according to a survey of aid agencies. Following Lake Chad in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of 19 leading aid groups were Yemen, where children are starving, and South Sudan where U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon fears genocide is about to start. Overshadowed by the wars in Syria and Iraq and the global refugee and migrant crisis, Lake Chad barely made the headlines this year, but aid organizations said the crisis was "on an epic scale" with "terrifying rates of child malnutrition". "Syria broke my heart, but for out and...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/16)
Selma saunters on her stilt-like legs, batting thick lashes as she extends a blackish tongue -- as long as an arm -- to grab pellets offered by an awed tourist. The giraffe is after all, eating for two. Her pregnancy is good news for one of the rarest giraffe species, protected at the Giraffe Centre in the Kenyan capital, but experts warn the outlook for the rest of the world's tallest land mammals is far gloomier. While it is hoped the shocking news that the gentle giants of the African savannah are facing extinction will spur action, conservationists largely have their hands tied as many giraffe live in Africa's most conflict-torn regions. Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/21/16)
Seven Cameroon players have said they do not want to go to the African Nations Cup finals, setting them on a collision course with the country's football federation and a possible ban from playing for their clubs while the tournament is on. Joel Matip of Liverpool is one of the seven who told coach Hugo Broos they are not interested in being selected for the tournament in Gabon, which starts on January 14. "These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulations," said Broos in a statement on Tuesday. The other six are Andre Onana (Ajax Amsterdam), Guy Roland Ndy...
(The Citizen 12/21/16)
Tanzania is among some African countries which may see a drop in development aid as the US is likely to expand fiscal stance and cut spending during Donald Trump's presidency, a new report shows. The move by the world's largest economy will affect dependent countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and DRC according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) latest report released in London yesterday. In its Economic Insight: Africa Q4 2016, the accountancy and finance body points out that signs of an expansionary fiscal stance under the Trump administration coupled with spending cuts to accommodate increased infrastructure expenditure are likely to lead to the decrease in aid. "Aid is one of the main...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/16)
When Rose Kariuki first felt a lump on her left breast, the spectre of cancer -- a disease she had only heard of on television -- was the last thing on her mind. "To me, cancer was nowhere near us. It was shocking, I feared death, I feared so many things," the 46-year-old Kenyan school teacher told AFP. Rose is one of a growing number of Africans suffering from cancer, one of the lifestyle diseases -- along with diabetes and heart problems -- proving increasing deadly on the continent. A World Health Organisation (WHO) survey released Tuesday showed that most Africans had at least one risk factor for developing one of these diseases, such as smoking, a lack of exercise,...
(Voice of America 12/16/16)
Cameroon is deploying more troops to protect the Lobeke National Park on its border with the Central African Republic (CAR) after a deadly attack earlier this month by armed poachers. The attackers fled back across the border into the CAR leaving behind carcasses of protected animals and tusks from at least 20 elephants. Forest ranger Forgui Kabsia said armed poachers opened fire on him and other rangers as they patrolled the Lobeke National Park in southeastern Cameroon. He said the park is being invaded by armed men from the neighboring CAR.
(Voice of America 12/16/16)
The border between Nigeria and Cameroon has been completely reopened for the first time in three years. It’s a key sign of progress in the war against Boko Haram. Officials from the two countries met this week in Yaounde to review security issues. They were welcomed by a military band before sitting down to discuss Boko Haram. Officials here say the threat of terrorist attacks has been greatly reduced due to joint cross-border military raids targeting the Islamist militant group. They say that the border between Cameroon and Nigeria is now completely reopened, a process that began last month. "Only a secured environment can provide avenue for meaningful trade and commercial activities as well as unimpeded exchange of goods and...

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