| Africatime
Sunday 26 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/08/16)
World economic leaders gathered in Washington this week to defend globalization, delivering a single message in unison: Protectionism will not save you. But this glosses over the plight of Africa, which is sinking further into poverty despite years of free trade. According to the International Monetary Fund, which held its annual meetings this week with the World Bank, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is in free-fall this year, with a growth rate of 1.4 percent, down from 3.4 percent in 2015, its lowest in a quarter century. The regional economy will therefore grow more slowly than the population, at the risk of deepening poverty in a region already home to more than half of the 766 million people on earth who...
(AFP (eng) 10/07/16)
Investment into Africa may buck the global downward trend and stage a rebound this year despite low prices hitting the oil and gas sector, a UN agency said Thursday. While foreign direct investment, a key driver of trade and economic growth, is set to drop by 10 to 15 percent this year globally, in Africa it may increase by 6 percent to $55 to 60 billion, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Developments (UNCTAD) said in a report. "This bounce-back is already becoming visible in announced greenfield projects in Africa. In the first quarter of 2016, their value was $29 billion, 25 percent higher than the same period in 2015," said the agency. While north African countries such as...
(Xinhuanet 10/06/16)
Zhou Ping had not seen his father for five years when in primary school. Despite the biting solitude, Zhou always displayed his pride for his father -- he was from a glorious "foreign aid family," and his father was building the Tazara Railway in Africa. Standing on the windy East African plateau, Zhou picked up this childhood sentiment. More than 40 years have passed, and 53-year-old Zhou is now a construction worker for another historic railway connecting the African countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti. The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, which officially opened service on Wednesday, is another Chinese-built trans-national rail in Africa following Tazara, which links Tanzania's Dar es Salaam with Zambia's Kapiri Mposhi. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang hailed it as...
(CNN 10/05/16)
Terrorism, human trafficking, and corruption are creating a more dangerous continent, which in turn is preventing better governance, a new report revealed. The results of the 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, show that two thirds of Africans live in a country where safety and rule of law has deteriorated over the past decade, greatly impacting overall governance in Africa. 15 countries have declined 'quite substantially,' and almost half the countries on the continent recorded their worst score ever within the last three years. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance, the report provides an annual assessment of governance in Africa and is most comprehensive collection of data on governance in the region. The 2016...
(AFP (eng) 10/04/16)
The global conference that governs wildlife trade voted Monday against strengthening the ban on ivory sales, exposing bitter divisions among African countries and experts over elephant conservation. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected a proposal to include all African elephants in its highest category of protection, which bans trade in species facing extinction. A coalition of 29 African countries -- led by Kenya and Benin -- had pressed for African elephants to be put in the CITES "Appendix I" category. But South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe rejected the proposal, saying they should continue to be excluded from Appendix I as they have stable or growing elephant populations. "This is a tragedy for elephants," said Kelvin Alie,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/03/16)
Governance across Africa has improved very little over the past decade as deteriorating safety and rule of law have held back progress made in other areas such as human rights or economic opportunities, a survey said on Monday. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) - the most comprehensive survey of its kind on the continent - rates 54 African nations against criteria such as security, human rights, economic stability, just laws, free elections, corruption, infrastructure, poverty, health and education. Mauritius held onto its top spot, followed by Botswana, Cape Verde, the Seychelles and Namibia while South Africa - the continent's most industrialised country - was in sixth place. While overall the index has improved by just one point over...
(The Wall Street Journal 10/01/16)
Startups and global corporations alike plumb Africa for scarce software development skills A shortage of software developers in the U.S. has prompted some companies to seek talent in Africa, home to a young and increasingly-tech savvy workforce. International Business Machines Corp. has engaged young software developers in Lagos, Nigeria, to help build a data analytics business the technology giant is trying to ramp up quickly. The combination of an educated population and the proliferation of mobile technology on the continent makes Africa a good incubator of technology talent, said Leon Katsnelson, chief technology officer and director for IBM’s analytic platform emerging technologies group. IBM is building “Big Data University” to train technology professionals in its analytics tools through online training...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/30/16)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to slip to 1.6 percent this year, its lowest level in two decades, due to continuing woes in the continent's largest economies of South Africa and Nigeria, a World Bank report said Thursday. Africa has been one of the world's fastest-growing region's over the past decade, but a commodities slump has hit its oil and mineral exporters hard, bringing growth down to 3 percent in 2015. However, other countries — including Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania — have continued to record GDP growth above 6 percent, according to "Africa's Pulse," the Bank's twice-yearly analysis of economic trends. The report, which was unveiled in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan, also singled out Ivory Coast and...
(Voice of America 09/29/16)
Eritrean journalist Seyoum Tsehaye has been missing for 15 years. Human Rights Watch would like to see that he is not forgotten. As part of its Free Them campaign to highlight political prisoners around the globe, the rights group is focusing attention on Seyoum, the former head of Eritrean state television, who was taken from his Asmara home by government agents on September 21, 2001, and has not been seen or heard from since. Seyoum was part of a group of Eritrean journalists rounded up in a crackdown on independent media. Using the hashtag #FreeThem, Human Rights Watch is encouraging people to share Seyoum's story, hold events and tweet to world leaders asking for his release. Seyoum's advocates believe he...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/16)
In a bustling market in Abidjan, women browse through a bewildering array of intricately patterned wax-print fabrics, each of which has a unique and sometimes quirky name. "Eye of my rival" is one which has an eye-like motif, while another is known as "capable husband". Another bale of this brightly coloured fabric is labelled "jealousy". Each print has a name and comes in different colours, so you could have a "capable husband" in red, green or a white and the same for “Eye of my rival". Others have longer, more conversational names: "If you leave, so will I" or "If you divorce, I won't eat sand". Known as a "pagne", this strip of printed cotton cloth can be worn in...
(AFP (eng) 09/28/16)
When farmer Isaac Tondo fell on lean times in Liberia's long rainy season, his brother in the capital sent 8,000 Liberian dollars (US$87) to his Lonestar mobile money account, ensuring his children's school fees would still be paid. Across Africa more and more people -- from urban start-ups to hard-up villagers -- are now spending, saving and planning for the future through banking services offered by mobile phone companies. And experts believe growth and poverty reduction will follow, if certain key risks are managed. Tondo's brother used to entrust cash with contacts passing through their home village in Grand Gedeh county, but the roads are so bad they can no longer access it. "The only means of receiving money from...
(AFP (eng) 09/27/16)
Yemeni authorities on Monday deported at least 220 African illegal immigrants, mainly Ethiopians, from the southern port city of Aden, security officials said. The migrants had been rounded up over the past two weeks and were put on a ship bound for Somalia, from where they apparently came, an official in Aden said. The boat left from the port at Aden's refinery. Hundreds of illegal migrants have arrived in south Yemen over the past few weeks despite the ongoing war that has ravaged the country. In Shabwa province, east of Aden, authorities have arrested more than 500 African migrants over the past two weeks, security chief Awad al-Dahboul said. Officials in south Yemen have claimed that some migrants are being...
(Voice of America 09/26/16)
Huge orange flames and plumes of smoke filled the air at Nairobi National Park in April, a sobering image as 105 tons of elephant ivory and 1.35 tons of rhino horn were destroyed. Kenya conducted the event to demonstrate that ivory has no value to anyone except elephants. President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged his country's support for a complete ban of the ivory trade at the conference for the global conservation body known as CITES, which opens Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, is expected to make a determination on whether countries in Africa should destroy seized ivory or be allowed to sell it to fund conservation efforts. The question has sparked heated...
(AFP (eng) 09/24/16)
Gabon's disputed election, which culminated Saturday with the constitutional court's confirmation of President Ali Bongo's victory, is the latest in a long list of violence-tinged ballots in Africa: - Ivory Coast - After a five-month-standoff, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo was detained on April 11, 2011 by forces backing rival Alassane Ouattara, who was recognised internationally as the winner of Ivory Coast's October 2010 presidential election. Gbagbo had refused to stand down and some 3,000 people died in the post-election unrest. He is currently on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in relation to the clashes. - Kenya - Violence sparked by disputed results in Kenya's December 27, 2007 presidential poll won by Mwai Kibaki claimed some...
(AFP (eng) 09/23/16)
A century after the project was conceived in the throes of racial segregation, and a few months before the first black US president leaves office, the African American Museum in Washington opens Saturday. Here are key facts about the first national museum devoted entirely to showcasing African Americans' life, history and culture. - 1915: A project 101 years old The effort to open, in the US capital, a museum dedicated to the history of the black community "began more than 100 years ago," said the Smithsonian Institution, a public-private complex that runs most of the museums in Washington. The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be the Smithsonian's 19th and newest museum. Former African American soldiers, civil-war...
(AFP (eng) 09/22/16)
An Eritrean man who says he was mistakenly arrested on suspicion of heading a major people smuggling network is to stand trial in Sicily, according to Italian media reports. A judge in Palermo ruled Wednesday that the man, extradited from Sudan to Italy in June and held in custody ever since, will face trial with the first hearing on November 16, the Repubblica and other dailies said. Authorities have identified the man as Medhanie Yehdego Mered, alleged to be a 35-year-old trafficking kingpin known as "the general" accused of sending thousands of migrants to Europe and hundreds to their deaths at sea. But people claiming to be family and friends of the arrested man have come forward to say that...
(AFP (eng) 09/22/16)
Global conservationists and policymakers meet in South Africa from Saturday to chart a way forward in the fight against escalating wildlife trafficking that could drive some species to extinction. The plight of Africa's rhino and elephants, targeted for their horns and tusks, is expected to dominate 12 days of talks in Johannesburg on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Illegal wildlife trade is valued at around $20 billion a year, according to CITES, and is ranked the fourth largest illicit business in the world after arms, counterfeit goods and human trafficking. The gathering is expected to assess whether to toughen or loosen trade restrictions on some 500 species of animals and plants. "Much of the international attention...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/16)
More than $1 billion in debt and financing commitments from U.S. agencies and private investors is set to be announced on Wednesday for U.S. President Barack Obama's signature Africa energy initiative, Power Africa, a top USAID official said. The latest deals were finalized around a U.S.-Africa business forum on the sidelines of annual U.N. meetings in New York this week, USAID chief Gayle Smith said in an interview with Reuters. Obama launched the initiative in 2013 with an initial investment of $7 billion, which aims to install 10,000 megawatts of new generation capacity, connect 20 million new customers, and improve electric reliability across the Sub-Saharan Africa. The program hoped to attract private capital into energy projects in a region where...
(AfricaNews 09/20/16)
The European Union (EU) has announced a €44 billion ($50 billion) investment proposal for Africa and the Mediterranean as part of the European investment plan aimed at helping fight migration. The plan according to the EU foreign affairs chief, Frederica Mogherini, is ‘‘an innovative new youth investment plan for Africa and the Mediterranean, mobilizing EU funds and we plan to mobilize up to 44 billion euros to have investments in Africa. ‘’(It) is the biggest investment plan ever proposed for Africa and the Mediterranean, something that only the European Union, with all economic and diplomatic power can put in place,’‘ she added. Speaking to journalists in New York, Ms Mogherini said the EU sees a great potential of growth and...
(Voice of America 09/19/16)
Ciham Ali Abdu of Eritrea was 15 years old when she was arrested as she tried to cross the border into Sudan. Born in Los Angeles, California, she is the only American citizen imprisoned in Eritrea. Her family, friends and the representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Asmara have had no news about her whereabouts or her health for the nearly four years she has been in prison. Ciham is also a unique case. She is the daughter of Ali Abdu, the former minister of information of Eritrea who was one of the closest advisors to the country’s president, Isaias Afwerki.

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