Tuesday 22 August 2017
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment...
(RFI(EN) 08/17/17)
The first hearing of the appeal of RFI Cameroon correspondent Ahmed Abba has been postponed without explanation, his lawyers have revealed. An appeal against Abba's 10-year prison sentence was supposed to start on Thursday 17 August but his lawyers were shocked to find his name had been taken off the military tribunal's list of hearings on Wednesday evening. "I think Ahmed Abba's name has been taken off the roll, I don't know why," his lawyer Clément Nakong told RFI, pointing out that the appeal was lodged three months ago. "International agreements that Cameroon has signed, Cameroon's constitution and the penal code all specify one should have one's case heard within a reasonable period of time." Abba, who was Cameroon correspondent...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Voice of America 08/01/17)
The African Union Peace and Security Council has urged Cameroon to ensure the repatriation of Nigerian refugees fleeing Boko Haram is done on a voluntary basis. Hundreds of refugees, most of them children, complain they are thirsty and hungry as they leave Cameroon on their way back to Nigeria. They are escorted by troops from the multinational joint task force fighting the Boko Haram insurgency. Cameroon Red Cross official Joseph Guisso is among the humanitarian staff accompanying the refugees. He...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands...
(Voice of America 07/27/17)
Thirty-two people, most of them soldiers with Cameroon’s elite Rapid Intervention Battalion, remain unaccounted for after their ship capsized off the coast of the Bakassi Peninsula over a week ago. Relatives of the missing are demanding answers. Dozens come every evening to comfort the residents of a house in the Yaounde-Nkoabang neighborhood of the capital. It is the home of Alex Alega, one of the 32 soldiers still missing after a Cameroonian military vessel went down off the Atlantic coast July 16. His brother, Theophile, is anxious for news. He says it is unacceptable that, to date, the military has not explained
(Voice of America 07/27/17)
As the world's AIDS experts meet at a conference this week in Paris, health workers in Cameroon still struggle to identify and treat HIV-positive mothers and babies. Myriam Anang lost her husband and three-month-old baby two years ago to HIV. Now, Anang works as a peer educator in a government-initiated program to help others become better informed. She was among the speakers in northern Cameroon at a gathering addressing AIDS and HIV. Anang said that when she tries to persuade...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in...
(The Associated Press 07/20/17)
More than 100 people have been tortured by Cameroon security forces and held incommunicado in the past four years on suspicion of involvement with the Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, according to a report released Thursday by Amnesty International. Such treatment has become routine and is practiced with impunity, and it violates both national and international law, the group said. In the majority of cases, people were held on little or no evidence. People are usually caught up in...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30...
(Voice of America 07/12/17)
Three years ago, at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigerian soldiers stopped all fishing activities in the country's section of Lake Chad. Militants had infiltrated the ranks of the fishermen, the army said, and were using the guise to fund arms purchases and launch surprise attacks on innocent people. The local fishermen's union said it understood the army's actions but pushed for an easing of the ban, because its members had no other way to earn a living...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa,...
(La Croix 07/07/17)
The conclusions of the Interpol doctors shed new, contradictory light, on the death of Bishop Jean-Marie-Benoît Bala, who disappeared on the night of May 30 - 31. Did Bishop Jean-Marie-Benoît Bala of Bafia, Cameroon die by his own hand - or was he murdered? This question was revived on July 4 when the Attorney General released a statement at Cameroon’s Central Appeal Court asserting that “drowning is the most probable cause of death of the bishop". According to the Cameroon...
(Voice of America 07/06/17)
Suicide bombings continue to climb in northern Cameroon with deadly attacks in the communities of Fomeka, Mora and Kerawa near Cameroon's border with Nigeria reported since Saturday. Cameroonian military officials and the governor of the Far North region tell VOA the attacks killed at least 20 people, including nine suicide bombers. Mabuwah Isaac, who heads the self-defense group in the village of Kerawa, told VOA at least 100 residents have fled since the attack there on Saturday. He said members...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable...
(Voice of America 06/27/17)
MORA, CAMEROON — Cameroon has dispatched its defense minister to its northern border with Nigeria following a recent series of suicide bomb attacks that has left dozens dead. Militant group Boko Haram is believed to be behind the carnage. The central African state says the bombers have infiltrated markets and mosques as end of Ramadan feast draws near. Medical staff at the Mora hospital on Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria have attended to at least 50 people injured in six...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including...

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