Thursday 17 August 2017
(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 next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all,...
(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 his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. "I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons." Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity...
(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 07/25/17)
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...
(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...
(Bloomberg 07/17/17)
A group of mutinous soldiers in the Ivory Coast clashed with security forces in the northern city of Korhogo, a day after after talks with military commanders over bonuses deadlocked. The conflict on Saturday was preceded by shots fired into the air by members of the army group called 2600 in barracks at the capital Abidjan and Korhogo to protest military leaders telling them they won’t be paid bonuses due to unavailability of funds. The situation is “under control and...
(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,...
(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 06/21/17)
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...
(BBC News Africa 06/19/17)
The funeral of Ivorian star Cheick Tiote was held in Abidjan on Sunday following his sudden death in China earlier this month. Tiote died aged 30 after collapsing during training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises. The former Newcastle United midfielder was honoured with a military funeral with a host of dignitaries and players in attendance. His body was flown back home to Ivory Coast from China earlier this week. We're all here to show him love and to show...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
Festus Ogbonnah used to supplement his teacher’s salary by working as a part-time farmer in southeastern Nigeria until an armed band of herders moved their cattle through his field two years ago and destroyed his crops. He decided to quit working the land. “I had borrowed money to grow corn and cassava, and I lost everything,” Ogbonnah, 40, said by phone from the town of Opanda. “The herdsmen were armed with assault rifles and we couldn’t do anything about it.”...
(Bloomberg 06/01/17)
If you thought Ivory Coast’s record cocoa crop was enough to keep the bear run going, you may need to rethink. Cocoa futures almost halved from July to April on expectations that a bumper crop in top producer Ivory Coast would add to a global glut. But prices have since rebounded 15 percent, with the July contract surging by a record on Tuesday. And there are other signs the recovery may continue. With processing margins at the highest in more...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has...
(Bloomberg 05/30/17)
A series of mutinies by soldiers in Ivory Coast demanding payments for supporting President Alassane Ouattara humiliated the West African nation, according to National Assembly Speaker Guillaume Soro, who once commanded the troops as a former rebel leader. “I can only note that we are despised,” Soro, 45, said in an interview Sunday at his residence in Abidjan, the commercial capital. “It’s a humiliation for us -- the state, the president, myself and the institutions.” The mutinies were led by...
(Bloomberg 05/24/17)
Three ex-rebels in Ivory Coast were killed Tuesday when police broke up a road blockade to end a protest by the former fighters over bonus payments. As many as 19 people, including five police personnel and gendarmes, were injured in the fighting in Bouake, the second-biggest city, Interior and Security Minister Hamed Bakayoko said in an emailed statement. The assault came after the protesters rejected talks to end their blockade of the southern access road to the town, Bakayoko said. The three people died when protesters “pulled the pin out of an offensive grenade which exploded,” he said in the statement.
(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...
(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...
(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...

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