Monday 26 June 2017
(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)
Following a string of mutinies, plummeting cocoa prices, depressed growth and social unrest, Ivory Coast's economic "miracle" has taken a battering and runs the risk of turning into a mirage. Crippled by a decade-long conflict that began in 2002, the world's top cocoa producer has made a spectacular comeback since President Alassane Ouattara took office in 2011. Despite being reelected two years ago, Ouattara faces mounting woes that are threatening his authority, his credibility -- and his efforts to lockdown the nation's economic recovery. - A weakened president - Ouattara has on several occasions admitted to being "hurt" by a string of mutinies by disgruntled troops since January. And after the latest four-day protest, he is once again in a...
(Graphic Online 05/19/17)
History of gold mining in large quantities in Ghana began in the 15th Century when Portuguese traders encountered gold in the country’s soil along the coast. The country derives its name, Gold Coast, from the abundance of gold in the land. Until 1981, known gold deposits in the country were limited to the southern belt. In 1981, the discovery of gold in the country from the coastal parts right to the northern sectors dramatically changed the landscape of Ghana’s gold deposits. The following article written by this writer and published in the International affairs page of January 16, 1981, edition of The Mirror, gives details of Ghana’s miracle gold discovery. Titled Ghana’s Miracle Gold Discovery, the article reads in parts:...
(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...
(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...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Soldiers in Ivory Coast said they halted their protest after the government agreed to pay them bonuses, ending a four-day mutiny that paralyzed several cities and left two people dead. The government will pay each soldier 5 million CFA francs ($8,374) before the end of the week and another 2 million francs at a later date, soldier Tahirou Diarrrassouba said by phone on Tuesday from the second-biggest city and center of the mutiny, Bouake. Troops in other cities that joined the mutiny have also agreed to end the standoff, said Fousseni Cisse, another soldier in Bouake. “We’ve found an agreement with the government, the corridors are open again,” Cisse said. “I think it’s going to be fine this time. We’ve...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
Rebel troops in Ivory Coast on Tuesday said they were ending a four-day mutiny after coming to an agreement with the government over a pay dispute. "We have found a basis for agreement. We are returning to barracks," Sergeant Cisse Fousseni told AFP as others said all their demands had been met. The government offered an immediate payment of five million CFA francs (7,500 euros) and an extra two million to be paid next month, source among the mutineers said. Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi announced late Monday that an agreement had been struck with the mutineers
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
Heavy gunfire rang out Monday in Ivory Coast's two biggest cities as a four-day mutiny by disgruntled soldiers spread nationwide but the government claimed a deal to end the crisis had been reached. Banks, offices and department stores closed in the heart of the economic capital, Abidjan, as shots were fired in San Pedro, the second biggest port in the world's top cocoa-producing nation. Border posts closed, halting road traffic to Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, while Ivory Coast's second biggest city, Bouake, was under the control of mutinous soldiers. The mutiny is the latest in a series of armed protests since January in the West African country, with troops angered by a wage dispute with President Alassane Ouattara's government...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/16/17)
Renegade soldiers in Ivory Coast on Monday rejected a proposed deal to end their mutiny over unpaid bonuses just minutes after the defense minister announced on state-owned television that an agreement had been reached. President Alassane Ouattara's government has been trying to restore order for four days after 8,400 mutineers took control of the second-biggest city, Bouake, and spread their revolt to cities and towns across the country. Heavy gunfire on Monday paralyzed much of Abidjan, the commercial capital, and the western port city of San Pedro, echoing another mutiny earlier in the year and further threatening Ivory Coast's emergence from a 2011 civil war as one of the world's fastest growing economies. Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
Cocoa rose, extending last week’s surge in prices, following a failure of talks between army commanders and mutinous soldiers over the weekend in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer. The beans jumped as much as 4.4 percent in London and also gained in New York trading after Ivory Coast’s military was said to have given soldiers an ultimatum on Sunday to drop their pay demands and end a revolt. Special forces will take action against the soldiers should the talks fail, a person familiar with the matter said. There were reports of shooting early Monday at the main army barracks in Abidjan, the commercial capital, and the country’s second-biggest city of Bouake. "There has been a slight pick-up in the...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
Ivory Coast’s government announced it reached an agreement with soldiers to end a four-day mutiny over pay that disrupted cities across the nation, even though some troops said they were unaware of a deal and would continue with their revolt. Military staff and rebel soldiers made a pact after two days of talks, Defense Minister Alain Donwahi said Monday in a broadcast on state television, RTI, without elaborating on details of the agreement. “We call on all soldiers to free the corridors, to return to the barracks and to ensure the safety of the population,” Donwahi said. “We invite people to remain calm. We assure them that everything is being done for a quick return to a peaceful situation.” The...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 05/15/17)
Heavy gunfire rang out Monday in Abidjan and Bouake, Ivory Coast's two biggest cities, witnesses said, as a mutiny by disgruntled soldiers demanding bonuses entered its fourth day. It was the latest in a series of armed protests which have gripped the country since January, with troops angered by an unresolved dispute over wages and demanding the government of President Alassane Ouattara pay up. "This is not a coup. We want our bonuses. The president signed a paper saying he agreed with our bonuses. When he pays up, we'll go home," said a spokesman for troops...
(AFP (eng) 05/15/17)
Gunfire was heard early Monday in the Ivory Coast cities of Abidjan and Bouake, in the grip of a mutiny by ex-rebel soldiers, AFP journalists and witnesses said. In the economic capital of Abidjan, shots were fired at two military camps in Akouedo in the east of the city, which together form the country's largest military barracks, a nearby resident said. Sustained gunfire was also heard in the second-largest city of Bouake, where one person died on Sunday from bullet wounds sustained in clashes between the former rebels, some of whom have now been integrated into the army, and those who have disarmed but are not integrated. The mutineers often fire in the air to express their anger over the...
(Bloomberg 05/15/17)
Gunfire erupted at a key military camp in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan, and its second-biggest city of Bouake as a rebellion over unpaid bonuses entered a fourth day. The West African nation, which wants to issue a Eurobond next month, saw yields on its existing securities jump. Several explosions and sporadic shooting rocked Bouake, a transit hub that links Ivory Coast to its landlocked northern neighbors, from about 2:00 a.m., resident Siriki Koné said by phone Monday. In Abidjan, gunfire began at about 5:40 a.m. near the military barracks in Akouedo, according to Joseph Kouadio, who lives in the area. “We’re still hearing shooting,” Kouadio said by phone. “My son’s school just sent me an SMS to say: school...
(AFP (eng) 05/14/17)
One person died Sunday after mutinous soldiers took to the streets in Ivory Coast's central second city Bouake as fresh tensions gripped the world's top cocoa grower. The victim was among five men and a mother-of-three who were hospitalised after being struck by warning shots fired to keep residents inside their homes, an AFP photographer saw. About 15 others were treated for minor injuries. "(He), Issouf Diawara, finally died from his bullet wounds," his brother Souleymane Diawara told AFP. "I am a distraught man." Diawara was hit on Saturday amid clashes between former rebels, some of whom have now been integrated into the army, and those who have disarmed but not integrated. The two groups are clashing over government payments...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
Defiant soldiers blocked access to Ivory Coast's second-largest city on Saturday after firing guns into the air throughout the night, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. Rebellious soldiers had already taken to the streets Friday in Bouake, the economic capital of Abidjan and another city demanding pay increases. The city of Bouake was the epicentre of a mutiny in January by former rebel soldiers who had been integrated into the army, which triggered months of unrest. "We want our money," a soldier wearing a facemask said Saturday, refusing to give his name. The soldiers forced the police who normally control the four main access points to Bouake to flee, before taking up positions and blocking all traffic into...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Disgruntled soldiers blocked access to Ivory Coast's second largest city Bouake and gunfire rang out in other towns on Saturday as protests over a pay dispute extended into a second day despite government warnings of harsh punishments. The revolt began in Bouake early on Friday before spreading quickly, following a pattern similar to a mutiny in January by the same group that paralyzed parts of the West African state and marred its image as a post-war success story. In the commercial capital Abidjan on Friday, mutineers seized control of the national military headquarters and defense ministry on Friday. They went a step further in Bouake on Saturday, blocking roads north and south out of the city. "We do not want...
(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...

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