Tuesday 22 August 2017
(AfricaNews 07/20/17)
The United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has appealed for emergency aid to support people in the Republic of Congo’s restive Pool Region. A U.N. statement said, OCHA along with the Congolese government and other humanitarian partners needed $23.7 million to aid persons caught in the insecure region. The requested funding – which was made by national authorities, the U.N. along with 16 aid partners – would provide emergency humanitarian aid to 138,000 people for the next six months. The Pool region is located in an area south of the capital, Brazzaville, according to the U.N. ‘fighting and insecurity has displaced one out of every three people,’ there. They also reported that up to 20% of...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(AFP (eng) 07/19/17)
Congo and several UN agencies have launched a joint appeal for $23.7 million (20.6 million euros) to help 138,000 people hit by fighting and insecurity in the southern region of Pool. "The most pressing humanitarian needs are related to food security, nutrition, living conditions and access to basic health services,” said OCHA, the UN agency that coordinates humanitarian work. They were vulnerable to attacks, threats, sexual violence, loss or family separation, said the statement, issued Tuesday. Deadly violence broke out in the Pool region, which adjoins the capital Brazzaville...
(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 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(AfricaNews 07/18/17)
The first round of legislative and local area elections held in the Republic of Congo ‘went well’ according to the head of the country’s electoral body. ‘‘On the whole, Congolese exercised their civic duty in the polls,’‘ Henri Bouka, head of the Independent National Elections Commission is quoted to have said. He did not give any further details of voter turn out or preliminary results. He was also silent on when the second and final round will be held. The polls were largely peaceful countrywide amid a social shutdown with restricted vehicular movement and with all shops closed. Eight out of fourteen constituencies in the restive Pool region could not vote due to security reasons. The region, located in the...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(AFP (eng) 07/17/17)
Voters went to the polls in legislative elections in the oil-rich Republic of Congo on Sunday, the first since a violence-marred presidential poll last year which returned Denis Sassou Nguesso to power. The first round of polling to elect National Assembly members as well as local councils went ahead despite the opposition calling foul, accusing the ruling Congolese Labour Party (PCT) of giving its candidates an unfair advantage. Electoral officials said voting passed off calmly although some polling stations opened more than a hour late because of a delay in receiving voting materials. Polls closed at 6:00 pm (1700 GMT). However, an incident was reported in the northern town of Kelle where opposition protesters briefly took away the ballot boxes,...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/17/17)
PARIS (Reuters) - French oil and gas company Total said on Monday that crude exports from its Djeno terminal in Congo Republic was ongoing and unaffected following a strike last week and the sinking of a loading buoy in an unrelated accident. Traders said on Friday that the company had declared a force majeure on exports of Djeno crude following the incident. A spokeswoman for Total said: "exports from Djeno remain unaffected and safely continue with the second available loading buoy," adding that the tanker that was loading at the time of the buoy incident was safely disconnected. She added that the strike at the terminal ended on Friday, while an investigation into the buoy accident was ongoing.
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
French judges probing the ruling elite in three African countries over suspected misuse of public funds have charged Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso's nephew and former sister-in-law, sources close to the case said Thursday. Edgar Nguesso and his mother Catherine Ignanga appeared before an investigating judge on Tuesday and were charged with money laundering and misusing public funds, according to the sources. It is the latest development in a wide-ranging probe into the ruling elite in three oil-rich African countries: Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Since 2010, French investigators have been trying to establish if the lavish properties and luxury cars owned in France by members of these families were bought with plundered public funds. To date, five members of...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(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 ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(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, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(AFP (eng) 07/08/17)
The leaders of the oil-rich African nations of Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo will sue Transparency International over a case in France involving allegedly ill-gotten properties worth hundreds of millions, President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea has said. French human rights lawyer William Bourdon instigated the investigation in 2007 by making a formal complaint on behalf of the pressure group Transparency International France (TIF). Obiang's son, Vice President Teodorin Obiang, is currently on trial in absentia in France for embezzlement. French prosecutors are seeking a three-year jail term and a 30-million-euro ($34-million) fine. Prosecutors also asked a court in the capital to seize the six-storey mansion on Avenue Foch, Paris's poshest street, which is valued at 107 million euros, and...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(Voice of America 07/05/17)
More than 7 million children in West and Central Africa are displaced every year, the United Nations children's agency said in a report released Wednesday. Lack of economic opportunities, wars and climate change are forcing more than 12 million people in West and Central Africa to migrate annually, the report said. "Children in West and Central Africa are moving in greater numbers than ever before, many in search of safety or a better life," UNICEF regional director Marie-Pierre Poirier said. Climate change is already a harsh reality in many parts of Africa, where rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall have disrupted food production, fueled widespread hunger and forced farmers to abandon their land. A half-million people have crossed the Mediterranean...
(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 to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(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 so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(RFI(EN) 06/30/17)
Investigators have widened a corruption probe into the French assets of three African ruling families, charging the daughter and son-in-law of Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Julienne Sassou Nguesso, 50, and her 53-year-old husband Guy Johnson were placed under investigation this week for "money laundering and misuse of public funds", the sources said. Investigators are trying to determine how the couple in 2006 were able to purchase a mansion valued at 3 million euros in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine just north of the welathy 16th arrondissement. The tentacles of the case also reach out to ruling families in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Julienne Sassou Nguesso is an insurance agent by profession and her husband is a lawyer. Between 2007...

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