Friday 19 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
At the age of 39, Didier Drogba is in the twilight years of a glittering football career that has spanned two decades and six countries and brought him a harvest of trophies. Such moments are typically occasions of nostalgia, even sadness, for many ageing football greats. But, in an interview with AFP, Drogba showed he was brimming with passion -- launching a school project for Ivory Coast's disadvantaged young and fiery about the underperforming state of the national football team. "I say to young people who want to become Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o, Yaya Toure... education is very important, it's this which is going to allow you to have a good career," he said, referring...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/17)
A 27-year-old woman from the Ivory Coast has been arrested on the Thai island of Phuket after an airport X-ray found more than one kilogramme of cocaine in her stomach wrapped in scores of small packets. The woman was stopped by officials late Wednesday night at Phuket's international airport after landing on a flight from Doha. An X-ray revealed more than 60 small packages in her stomach, filled with 1.2 kilogrammes (2.6 pounds) of cocaine, according to Sirinya Sitdhichai, secretary-general of Thailand's Office of Narcotics Control Board.
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
A huge fire ripped through a paint factory in the Ivorian capital on Wednesday, causing multiple explosions, and witnesses said several people were badly burnt. There was no immediate word on the tally of people caught in the blaze, which sent a thick column of smoke high above Abidjan's industrial zone, an AFP correspondent said. But witnesses spoke of seeing several people with bad burns and of fears that workers were trapped inside the Drocolor paint factory. Police and rescuers...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
Security experts from West Africa, France and the United States gathered in Abidjan Tuesday for talks on beefing up anti-terrorism measures at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. The three-day seminar seeks to identify terrorism risks in the Gulf of Guinea -- the vast expanse of water stretching from Liberia to Gabon -- and any link with terrorists in the Sahel. The Gulf of Guinea is one of Africa's hotspots for crime, ranging from piracy, armed robbery and illegal fishing to oil theft and trafficking in stolen goods. Participants will discuss measures such as specialised counter-terrorism units...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso on Monday began work to overhaul and expand a single-track rail line connecting Abidjan to the Burkinabe capital that is a vital link between the Sahel and Atlantic coast. Renovating the 1,260-kilometre (782-mile) track -- which had first been announced in 2015 with no work being started -- is expected to take eight years. All parties involved hope the project will improve traffic and trade between the two West African neighbours. "Investment for the work, totalling 396 million euros ($470 million)... is the responsibility of the operator," Ivorian Transport Minister Amadou Kone said at the launch ceremony, referring to the giant French transportation company Bollore.
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
DAKAR/LIBORE, Niger (Reuters) - Mabingue Ngom, the head of the U.N. Population Fund in West Africa, knows that if he wants to cut birth rates he can’t ignore religion. Population experts like Ngom are worried that if West Africa’s population continues to grow at its current pace - the region has the highest birth rate in the world - it will drive fiercer competition for scarce water and farmland, and fuel malnutrition, conflict and ever more economic refugees. West African...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
Forty people are facing prosecution after police raids in west and central Africa rescued nearly 500 victims of human trafficking, Interpol said on Thursday. Raids were carried out in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal as part of a German foreign ministry funded initiative targeting organised crime in the region. Of the nearly 500 people rescued, 236 were children, Interpol said in an emailed statement. The operation happened between November 6 and 10, it added later. Those arrested are accused of forcing their victims into begging and prostitution and face charges including human trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation.
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Africa is making only faltering progress towards food and nutrition security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. "Multiple forms of malnutrition coexist, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition or anaemia as well as high rates of obesity," it says in a new report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, "progress towards the World Health Assembly global nutrition targets has been generally poor," the Rome-based agency says, referring to goals to...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
A four-year-old migrant boy who reached Spain from Ivory Coast was reunited Monday with his mother seven months after she arrived on a different boat, a women's charity said. Bahoumou Totopa, 33, arrived on Spain's southern coast on an inflatable dinghy in April while her son Abdurrahmane entered the country's North African enclave of Melilla the previous month with his aunt. Totopa was not allowed to contact her son, who was taken in by child protection services in Melilla, until she could prove she was his mother, legal NGO Women's Link said.
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have...

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