Tuesday 23 January 2018
(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 all the kit they need to put theory into practice, thanks to a mobile science lab that tours selected state schools. "It's an exciting experience. We were being taught only the theoretical aspect of science subjects," Amadu, who wants to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
A Dutch-Ethiopian accused of war crimes committed during Ethiopia's bloody purges in the late 1970s told a Dutch court Thursday that he apologised for atrocities by the regime but had no personal involvement in them. "I would apologise on my knees to all these victims and through them to all of the people of Ethiopia," Eshetu Alemu told The Hague District Court. "But I do not recognise the role that has been assigned to me personally," Alemu said after listening to testimony from victims who told of torture, murder and bodies dumped in a mass grave. Alemu, a long-time Dutch resident, is alleged to have been a henchman for former Marxist dictator Mengistu...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
The Ethiopia Federal High Court fourth criminal bench on Monday granted bail for deputy chairman of opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Bekele Gerba, who has been in prison for nearly two years. OFC is the main opposition party to the ruling coalition Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in the restive central Oromia regional state. The court approved a 1,110 U.S. dollar bail for Gerba, who is facing terrorism charges, with the charges to be heard with him being outside prison provided he meet the bail requirements. Oromia, Ethiopia's largest regional state, has seen large anti-government protests by ethnic Oromos since the end of 2015, leaving hundreds of dead. A martial law declared in October 2016 was lifted in...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/30/17)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - An Ethiopian opposition leader was due to be released on bail almost two years after he was detained during mass protests over land rights, a member of his party said on Monday. Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress, was arrested in December 2015 as activists stepped up demonstrations accusing the government of seizing their land and passing it on to firms and developers. Violence went on to spread across the Oromiya province that surrounds the capital Addis Ababa and is home to many foreign-owned businesses, drawn in by the government’s industrialisation push. Bekele would walk free late Monday or early Tuesday after the high court granted him 30,000 birr ($1,110) bail, the party’s...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Ethiopia and Rwanda will meet during November to fill the place at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) vacated by Egypt, the organisers confirmed Monday. Egypt withdrew after clubs refused to release players as the tournament for home-based footballers is not staged during a FIFA international window. The Egyptians were eliminated in the qualifying competition by Morocco, who then replaced unready Kenya as hosts, creating a vacancy in the 16-team field. Egypt were reinstated only to pull out, leaving Ethiopia and Rwanda to play each other on November 5 and 12 for a finals place.
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
A Dutch-Ethiopian national Monday denied any involvement in war crimes during bloody purges in Ethiopia in the late 1970s, known as the "Red Terror," in a rare case before a Dutch court. Prosecutors "have the wrong person," Eshetu Alemu said as his trial opened in The Hague. "I was really shocked when I heard what prosecutors are accusing me of doing, that I could behave like that as a human being," he added. "I deny the charges against me," the 63-year-old told the four judges. Alemu is alleged by prosecutors to have been a henchman for Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in northwestern Gojjam province in the 1970s. The hearings in The Hague involve "a grim series of events involving...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Human rights organisations and a group of London MPs appealed to the UK government on Thursday to intervene in the case of a British citizen on death row in Ethiopia. US-based Human Rights Watch and London's Reprieve were among five organisations to write to Foreign Minister Boris Johnson over the case of Andy Tsege, who has been imprisoned in Ethiopia since 2014. "Andy's life is in danger as long as he continues to be arbitrarily detained in Ethiopia," they wrote. "The only way to ensure Mr. Tsege's safety and wellbeing is for the UK to urgently seek Mr Tsege's return home to London. We urge you to reconsider your priorities in Mr Tsege's case, and to negotiate his return to...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
At least two people were killed during a protest over the transportation of sugar in a restive Ethiopian town, a government spokesman said on Thursday. An Ambo resident told AFP protesters blocked the town's main road after a rumour spread that trucks passing through were carrying scarce sugar on orders of the government. Ambo was at the centre of a wave of anti-government protests that started in late 2015 and were temporarily quelled by the imposition of a 10-month state of emergency in October 2016. Hostility to the government runs deep in Ambo, a university town 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of the capital...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/27/17)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - At Kinfe Abera’s garage in Addis Ababa, cranky, 50-year-old Volkswagen Beetles enjoy a kind of life after death; their parts are never discarded but re-used to keep the city’s remaining Beetles on the road. The Beetle was born in the 1930s out of dictator Adolf Hitler’s desire to produce a cheap “people’s car” for the German family. After World War Two it sold in the tens of millions around the globe and in the 1960s even starred in a Disney movie as Herbie the “Love Bug”. Production of the original version of the curvy little vehicles ended in 2003, and authentic spare parts can be hard to come by. So Ethiopian mechanics have to “slaughter” some...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Yetnebersh Nigussie's first battle for disability rights was in law school, when she successfully pushed university administrators to provide Braille textbooks for blind students such as herself. Not long after, Yetnebersh, 35, left the legal profession to pursue a different type of advocacy as a full-time fighter for the rights and opportunities of Ethiopia's millions of disabled people. Last month her life's work was recognised with a Right Livelihood Award, often called the "Alternative Nobel Prize". But her work is not yet complete. "There are still... millions of persons with disabilities who are living in a very destitute manner in a very undignified way," Yetnebersh told AFP. "We really need to show people that people with disabilities have one disability,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley arrived in Ethiopia on Monday, one of the first senior members of President Donald Trump’s administration to visit Africa, on a trip diplomats hope will shed light on his plans to engage with the continent. Africa is traditionally overshadowed by more urgent issues, and the Trump administration has so far been hands-off. After meetings on Monday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and a senior African Union official, Haley told reporters she hoped this was the beginning of “a stronger relationship with the AU and our African partners.” “The United States very much sees Africa as a very important part of the world. We see great opportunities in...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/24/17)
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch citizen will go on trial in the Netherlands next Monday on charges he committed war crimes in Ethiopia in the 1970s. The 63-year-old Dutchman, who was born in Ethiopia, is accused of the incarceration, torture and murder of opponents of former Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam in the late ‘70s. As Mengistu’s representative in the Ethiopian province of Gojjam, the man is accused of ordering the killing of 75 young prisoners in 1978 and of being responsible for the incarceration and inhumane treatment of more than 200 people. An Ethiopian court has sentenced the man to death, in absentia, for his role in what was called the “red terror”, which the communist military junta of...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Zekarias Mesfin spent months making a movie about his dangerous illegal migration from Ethiopia -- and when he arrived at the film's premiere, he was in a coffin carried by six white-gloved pallbearers. Not that Zekarias, 33, was dead. But he chose the dramatic entrance to show how close to death he came 12 years ago when he left his home in Ethiopia to journey across the deserts of Sudan and Egypt to try to get to Israel. "I was almost dead," Zekarias told AFP, following the Ethiopian premiere of the film last week at the national theatre in the capital Addis Ababa. "At the Israel border, I lost many, many friends, sisters, brothers." Zekarias could not have predicted where...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley will be the highest-ranking administration official to visit Africa next week when she travels to South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia. Haley will meet with officials from the African Union in Addis Ababa on Monday before traveling on to Juba and Kinshasa for talks with leaders and to meet with UN peacekeepers, said a US statement. Haley "will witness firsthand the UN operations working to address conflict and devastation in these countries, including visits with UN peacekeeping missions and sites of other UN agencies providing life-saving humanitarian aid," said the statement on Friday. President Donald Trump announced Haley's visit to Africa last month during a meeting with African leaders on the sidelines of...

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