Tuesday 12 December 2017

Gabon

(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)
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...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Six countries in central and western Africa have breathed life into long-running plans to allow visa-free movement of people among their nations. At a summit in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, the countries formally declared late Tuesday that the scheme had now been ratified by all members. The agreement gathers six francophone states -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo -- in a bloc called the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The association, set up in 2000, has a potential market of 30 million consumers, many of whom however, live in poverty.
(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...
(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)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria contracted by 1.6 percent in 2016, but is predicted to grow by 0.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent next year. The IMF said Nigeria was benefitting from "recovering oil production and ongoing strength in the agricultural sector", but the...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation. Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years. “The model of converting existing...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers and reports on agriculture, rural development, water and environment and recommendations and guidance on issues in the 2063 Africa Development Agenda, including agriculture, environment, climate change, and youth engagement. Among the points chosen for the discussions are the assessment of...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/17)
Wildlife guards funded by the WWF and other conservation groups have carried out systematic abuses against tribes in central Africa, an activist group claimed on Monday. Survival International, a British rights group, published a report containing more than 200 reported incidents against the Baka and Bayaka Pygmies in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic since 1989. It claimed some of the world's largest conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have illegally evicted the tribes from their ancestral homelands "in the name of conservation".
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the Global First Ladies Alliance (GFLA) and Facebook. Geingos credited the quota enacted by the ruling SWAPO party of her husband, President Hage Geingob. But she said a similar quota might be needed for Namibia’s private sector, where only 10 to...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...

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(APA 09/08/17)
Deprivation and marginalization, underpinned by weak governance, are primary forces driving young Africans into violent extremism, according to a comprehensive new study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the first study of its kind. Based on interviews with 495 voluntary recruits to extremist organizations such as Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, the new study also found that it is often perceived state violence or abuse of power that provides the final tipping point for the decision to join an extremist group. “Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment” presents the results of a two-year UNDP Africa study on recruitment in the most prominent extremist groups in Africa. The study reveals a picture of a...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/29/17)
Europe’s “big four” continental powers and three African states agreed a plan on Monday to tackle illegal human trafficking and support nations struggling to contain the flow of people across the desert and Mediterranean sea. The 28-nation European Union has long struggled to reach a coherent answer to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa, and the crisis is testing cooperation between member states. After hosting the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Chad, Niger and Libya, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was time for greater coordination. “We must all act together - from the source countries to Europe and passing by the transit countries, especially Libya - to be efficient,”...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/28/17)
Getting Europe’s migrant crisis under control will be in focus at a summit of Europe’s “big four” continental powers and three African nations in Paris on Monday, with French President Emmanuel Macron seeking concrete action. The 28-nation European Union has struggled to agree on a coherent answer to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa, and the crisis is testing cooperation between member states. Over the summer, Macron sought to take the initiative on managing the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya, mainly into Italy. He proposed hotspots in Africa to handle asylum requests. The viability of such centers was questioned by European and African allies and on Monday...
(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, but that’s still subject to...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(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 ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(Voice of America 07/05/17)
More than 7 million children in West and Central Africa are displaced every year, the United Nations children's agency said in a report released Wednesday. Lack of economic opportunities, wars and climate change are forcing more than 12 million people in West and Central Africa to migrate annually, the report said. "Children in West and Central Africa are moving in greater numbers than ever before, many in search of safety or a better life," UNICEF regional director Marie-Pierre Poirier said. Climate change is already a harsh reality in many parts of Africa, where rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall have disrupted food production, fueled widespread hunger and forced farmers to abandon their land. A half-million people have crossed the Mediterranean...
(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 to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(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 so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(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 Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
For several months, electric fences have been put up in Gabon as part of a new programme to stop the country's 40,000 forest elephants from destroying crops. So far three electric barriers have been built but dozens more are required, Professor Lee White, the British-born director of Gabon’s national parks agency (ANPN), told AFP. "I want 500 barriers," said White to emphasise that others methods had failed to stop the huge animals from trampling over villagers' fields in the west African country. "We have already tried putting up chilli and even bee hives (to protect farming areas) but all these methods did not work," said White, who has been compared to Tarzan by the magazine National Geographic due to his...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
A newsreader for Gabon state television has been taken off the air after mistakenly announcing the death of President Ali Bongo, the channel said on Saturday. Journalist Wivine Ovandong made the error during a Gabon Television news bulletin on Thursday when she read from notes saying that Bongo had died in Barcelona. In fact, Thursday was the eighth anniversary of the death of Bongo's father and predecessor, Omar, who did die in Barcelona on June 8, 2009, after more than four decades in power. Current president Ali Bongo is alive and well. Gabon Television director general Mathieu Koumba
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...

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(Bloomberg 08/24/17)
Every African nation that’s sold dollar debt now has at least one junk rating, but it would be hard to tell by looking at the bond market. The average yield on sovereign Eurobonds in Africa has hovered near the lowest level in two years this month, according to a Standard Bank Group Ltd. index, even after Moody’s Investors Service cut Namibia to below investment grade on Aug. 11. The world’s biggest producer of marine diamonds had been the continent’s only dollar-bond issuer without a junk rating. A low interest rate environment in the developed world has encouraged investors to look past the problems plaguing African economies, including low commodity prices, dollar shortages in some of them and rising political tension...
(AfricaNews 08/23/17)
Despite a projected debt level of 62% of its Gross Domestic Product in 2017, Gabon has succeeded in seducing the international capital market with an issue of international bonds worth $ 200 million. The operation set and seen through by Deutsche Bank received an interest rate of 7% at the opening of tenders, before the latter fell back to 6.85%. Subscriptions reached an overall amount of 600 million, although the Gabonese Republic kept to its initial needs. This performance of the Gabonese sovereign loan is however, surprising. Beyond its debt level, investors targeting Africa were closely following Kenya’s presidential high-risk election and President Zuma’s vote of confidence in South Africa. Gabon appears to have benefited from several positive elements. The...
(Xinhuanet 08/22/17)
African officials on Monday called for urgent infrastructural development and regional integration to boost the continent's economy. At the Infrastructure Africa 2017 in Johannesburg, Zambian Minister of Finance Felix Mutati encouraged Africans to speedily address infrastructural deficit. "We have to inject some sense of urgency in ourselves. If we remain captured by business as usual, we are headed for disaster," said Mutati at the opening ceremony of the two-day event. "Competitiveness in Africa is being constrained by infrastructure deficit. We need about 93 billion U.S. dollars every year to address the infrastructure gap in the continent. We need to urgently implement projects," he said. Mutati said Africa has to narrow focus to innovative financing and design, better use of existing...
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “Smaller towers can run...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal of establishing a true partnership for the future", Lighthizer said. "By lowering barriers and tackling other constraints that impede trade and investment, we are poised to see U.S.-Africa trade flourish", he said, underscoring that "much more work needs to be...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(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 in 2015. The British broadcaster said the bribery was revealed by a former employee, Paul Hopkins. At the time, BAT said “we do not tolerate corruption in our business, no matter where it takes place.” The SFO investigation adds to...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15 percent, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent as it shifts its focus back to Britain and the United States. The losses from the sale of unwanted assets including the Africa business showed the costs...
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with Jean David Mihamle.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(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 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(Bloomberg 07/11/17)
Gabon, Africa’s second-biggest manganese producer, wants to partner with private companies to process most its minerals locally before exporting them, Mining Minister Christian Magnagna said. Local processing will boost the mining industry’s contribution to gross domestic product from the current 2.1 percent to at least 4 percent as the central African nation seeks to make its economy less dependent on oil, Magnagna said in an interview in the capital, Libreville. The country’s main manganese mine in Moanda in the southeast processes about 6 percent of its total output, which stood at 3.8 million metric tons last year.
(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, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(Business in Cameroon 07/07/17)
(Business in Cameroon) - Agro-industrial member companies of the Association of Cameroonian oilseed refiners of Cameroon (Association des Raffineurs des Oléagineux du Cameroun - ASROC), have imported 2,000 tons of crude palm oil from Gabon, between May and June 2017, we learn from internal sources of this professional grouping. According to our sources within ASROC, the sale price of this Gabonese raw material is much cheaper than that of Malaysian imports, which generally allow Cameroon to bridge the structural deficit in production estimated at 100,000 tons for years now, but which has officially attained 130,000 tons in the last two years. This price advantage, explained by the proximity between Cameroon and Gabon (the region of South Cameroon borders Wolou Ntem...
(Agence Ecofin 07/04/17)
To insure food security in Gabon, boosting access to land is a must. This was one of the main recommendations that emerged from the conference on agriculture held from June 28 to July 1, in Libreville. It was in this framework that the government decided to identify all agricultural lands in order to secure and later make them accessible to farmers. However, prior to that, a law to restructure the land and agricultural legislation must be adopted, skills in the soil sciences sector must be strengthened, and the agricultural development agency will be created, amongst others. Challenges related to land access are recurring especially under the Graine programme where, according to members of cooperatives, ancestral beliefs are preventing farms’ expansion...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(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...

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(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results in brackets with W denoting a win, D a draw and L a loss): FAVOURITES Egypt (WWW) Back among the elite and in good form. After winning three consecutive Cup of Nations titles, they failed to qualify for the past...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/17)
Lost luggage left Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang under-dressed at African football's glitzy annual award ceremony, organisers said on Friday. Aubameyang jetted in to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, as the reigning Confederation of African Football (CAF) footballer of the year. But while his peers and dignitaries were dressed formally, the 27-year-old Gabon forward was forced to attend the ceremony in casual clothing, including a T-shirt and baseball cap. "Aubameyang only arrived at the Hilton Hotel in Abuja an hour before the event without his bags, as they were missing in transit. That was why he dressed that way," said CAF spokesman Junior Biyam. The Gabon skipper himself took to social media to explain why he did not dress up for...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/17)
With just days to go before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Gabon begin their quest to win the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil, the mood in the host nation remains gloomy. While the final touches are being put on the four stadiums due to host matches in the January 14-February 5 tournament, the small central African state remains in the midst of a social and political crisis. On the streets of the capital Libreville, decorated with banners advertising the upcoming continental tournament, workmen have been busy applying a final lick of white paint to the edges of pavements. In the other host cities of Oyem in the north, Franceville in the south-east and Port-Gentil, the country's oil capital, final adjustments are...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
Borussia Dortmund dismissed as "hypothetical" reports Wednesday that star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be heading to big-spending Chinese outfit Shanghai SIPG for a record 150 million euros. "Borussia Dortmund has no information on this and we do not concern ourselves with hypothetical things," spokesman Sascha Fligge told German news agency DPA. Earlier Wednesday, a journalist with Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport tweeted: "Boom! Aubameyang receives an offer of 41 million euros a year from Shanghai and 150 million euros for Borussia Dortmund. The two would be world records."
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina head Gabon's Africa Cup of Nations squad unveiled Tuesday by the hosts' manager Jose Antonio Camacho. Also figuring in the 23-player list for the Jan 14-Feb 5 continental showpiece is Bruno Ecuele Manga, a defender with English Championship side Cardiff City, China-based striker Malick Evouna and Didier Ndong with Premier League strugglers Sunderland. Gabon co-hosted the 2012 Nations Cup with Equatorial Guinea, making it into the quarter-finals. The Panthers are drawn in Group A with Guinea-Bissau, four-time winners Cameroon and Burkina Faso, runners-up to Nigeria in 2013. Gabon captain Aubameyang could lead his team as African Player of the Year should he retain his crown. The 27-year-old French-born forward is...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/16)
Ghana's Daniel Amartey struck late to salvage a draw for Premier League champions Leicester, and African Footballer of the Year Pierre Emerick Aubameyang's 16th Bundesliga goal rescued a point for Bayern Munich. ENGLAND DANIEL AMARTEY (Leicester) The Ghana midfielder capped a thrilling Leicester fightback with the late equaliser that rescued a 2-2 draw at Stoke on Saturday. Amartey had gone 19 games without a goal as he struggled to make an impact with the Premier League champions following his pre-season move from FC Copenhagen. But the 21-year-old is gradually adapting to his new surroundings and he showed his class with a well-timed run to meet Christian Fuchs' cross with a bullet header in the 88th minute at the Britannia Stadium...
(AfricaNews 12/05/16)
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses failed to use home advantage and revenge in the final of the Women African Cup of Nations (AWCON 2016) losing by a goal to Nigeria’s Super Falcons. The Super Falcons thus successfully defended the title they won in 2014 by defeating Cameroon in Namibia. The hosts entered the final aiming to win their first title and avenge two previous defeats by Nigeria. But a late goal by Oparanozie Desire dashed hopes and sent disappointment through the teeming home fans. Desire slotted in from close range after a beautiful lob from team mate Ngozi Okobi hit a Cameroonian defender and fell on her path with six minutes to the end of the game. The remaining duration and three...
(AFP (eng) 12/02/16)
Former Real Madrid and China boss Jose Antonio Camacho was named as the new coach of Gabon on Thursday, tasked with leading the host country to success at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. The 61-year-old former Spanish international defender takes over from Portugal's Jorge Costa and has signed a two-year deal, a statement from the office of president Ali Bongo Ondimba said. Gabon kick off the Cup of Nations against Guinea Bissau in Libreville on January 14. According to media reports, Camacho will be paid 800,000 euros a year which will be shared amongst his assistants.
(AFP (eng) 11/22/16)
Borussia Dortmund's Gabonese goal king Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains in the running to defend his African Player of the Year crown after making the final shortlist of five players on Tuesday. But the 27-year-old faces competition from Leicester's Algerians Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, Senegal's Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah who also made the final cut for the African Football Confederation's annual award. The winner will be announced on January 5 in Abuja, Nigeria after votes by a panel of ten experts and 54 national team coaches. Aubameyang was voted German Bundesliga player of the year last season and would appear favourite to retain the African title he clinched after a four-year spell of Manchester City's Yaya...
(AFP (eng) 11/10/16)
Gabon midfielder Didier Ndong was kicked out of his country's World Cup squad on Wednesday and sent back to his English Premier League club Sunderland after failing to turn up for international duty. The 22-year-old was accused of not letting the Gabon federation know the reasons why he had failed to show up for training ahead of Saturday's qualifier against Mali in Bamako even though he had been in Libreville since Monday. "As a consequence, the Gabon football federation (Fegafoot) decided to send the player back to Sunderland," said a statement. "He has not explained why he has not joined with the squad and all attempts to contact him have proved to be in vain." Gabon are currently second in...
(AFP (eng) 11/10/16)
All CAF competitions will offer increased prize money from 2017, the Cairo-based African football body said Wednesday. The announcement came months after French oil-gas company Total signed an eight-year sponsorship deal with CAF reportedly worth more than one billion dollars (915 million euros). Winners of the biennial Africa Cup of Nations will receive $4 million, up from the $1.5 million pocketed by 2015 champions the Ivory Coast. CAF Champions League title-holders are going to collect $2.5 million -- $1 million more than South African club Mamelodi Sundowns received last month. There is an even bigger percentage increase for winners of the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup with first prize increasing from $660,000 to $1.25 million. Both the Champions League and Confederation...
(AFP (eng) 11/07/16)
African Footballer of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put a mini-suspension behind him to strike four Bundesliga goals for Borussia Dortmund at the weekend. The Gabon striker was banned by his coach for one match last week after he flew to Italy with friends ahead of a Champions League fixture. Other African goal poachers in top form included Egyptian Mohamed Salah in Italy and Ivorian Salomon Kalou in Germany, who scored hat-tricks. ENGLAND SADIO MANE (Liverpool) The Senegalese international continues to shine for the rampant Reds, breaking the deadlock with a stunning header. He stooped low at an angle to beat Watford 'keeper Heurelho Gomes with some force. Sane added a second, a simple tap-in, in the second half for his...
(AFP (eng) 11/05/16)
Africa Cup of Nations hosts Gabon have sacked coach Jorge Costa little more than two months before the start of the 2017 tournament, the country's federation announced on Friday. The Fegafoot first cancelled a Costa press conference scheduled for Friday morning before announcing the departure of the 45-year-old former Portugal defender. He has been replaced on an interim basis by compatriot Jose Garrido, who had been working for the federation as a technical director and previously worked as a coach in the Middle East.
(AFP (eng) 11/03/16)
Borussia Dortmund booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday despite suspending striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. With two games still to play, Dortmund are guaranteed at least a top-two place in Group F. They now lead the group, two points ahead of defending champions Real Madrid, who drew 3-3 at Warsaw Legia on Wednesday. But despite the home win, coach Thomas Tuchel was far from pleased. "We had no self-confidence in any phase of our game," he fumed.
(AFP (eng) 11/03/16)
African champions Mamelodi Sundowns won for the first time in the South African Premiership this season Wednesday and climbed off the bottom of the table. The Pretoria club triumphed 2-0 at Polokwane City thanks to goals from Percy Tau and Zimbabwean Khama Billiat, two stars of the 2016 CAF Champions League triumph. Sundowns became African champions for the first time 11 days ago by defeating Zamalek of Egypt 3-1 on aggregate in the final. But a domestic fixture backlog meant they had little time to celebrate only the second South African success in the premier African club competition. They defeated Polokwane in a League Cup tie last Thursday only to lose at home against Cape Town City in their second...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/16)
Gabon president Ali Bongo has insisted that that the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) will go ahead in his crisis-ridden country. The CAN is due to take place from January 14 to February 5 next year but was thrown into doubt after violence broke out following Bongo's controversial re-election in August. "As we speak, there is no reason for this Cup not to take place here," said Bongo in an interview with state TV channel Gabon Television, which was reproduced on Monday by Union newspaper. "The stadiums are ready and we'll have some great matches." Bongo was speaking following Saturday's decision by Gabon's constitutional court to validate the disputed election results. Gabon's opposition claimed Bongo's victory on August 27...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/16)
Reigning African Footballer of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrated his 100th Bundesliga appearance at the weekend with a goal for Borussia Dortmund. The 27-year-old Gabon striker got the first in a 3-1 victory over Freiburg and his fifth of the season, making him co-leading league scorer with Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski. Senegalese goal poacher Sadio Mane was another African on target in Europe, scoring the third for Liverpool in a 5-1 English Premier League romp against 10-man Hull. ENGLAND SADIO MANE (Liverpool) The Senegal star was on target as Liverpool beat Hull 5-1, scoring the Reds' third goal with a low shot past David Marshall for his third goal of the season. Mane also saw a deflected shot hit...
(AfricaNews 09/19/16)
The agreement on African games signed in Cairo over the weekend between the African Union and the Association of National Olympic committees of Africa will be implemented after validation by the Africa Union commission. The two parties are expected to mobilise renowned African athletes and the best teams to help raise their level of performance. Sources say the African Union will continue to manage the African games while the Union of African Sports Confederations will take care of its technical coordination. The agreement has been concluded to improve the competitiveness, income and marketing of the African games. Organisers are looking forward to attaching more importance to the African games by ensuring that the games are used as qualifiers for the...
(AFP (eng) 07/26/16)
Borussia Dortmund have dismissed reports Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are poised to offer at least £58 million (70m euros, $77m) for star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. According to British media, City are in advanced talks with the Gabon international, who scored 39 goals for Dortmund in all competitions last season as they finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in Germany's top flight. "All these rumours have already followed us this summer," Dortmund team manager Michael Zorc told German daily Bild. "We can only repeat, as always, that he has a contract with us until 2020
(AFP (eng) 07/22/16)
French petroleum giant Total signed an eight-year deal to become the new sponsor of African football and its showpiece event, the Africa Cup of Nations, on Thursday. The sponsorship of the tournament will start at its next edition in Gabon from Jan 14 to Feb 5, 2017. "This partnership is a major milestone in our ongoing search for additional resources to accelerate African football’s development, bring its governance up to date, upgrade its sports infrastructure and advance its performance globally," said Issa Hayatou, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). "As a leading multinational in its field, with strong ties to Africa, Total will make a significant contribution to CAF’s initiatives to foster personal and professional growth for...

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(AFP (eng) 02/21/15)
Timbuktu, which won seven Cesar awards -- France's version of the Oscars -- on Friday tells the story of northern Mali under the control of jihadists, in a foreshadowing of the rise of the Islamic State group. Among its haul, it scooped the coveted best film and best director gongs for Mauritania's Abderrahmane Sissako. The ancient caravan town of the title, often a by-word for otherworldly remoteness, was seized by armed Islamists who cut a swathe through the west African nation's vast desert for most of 2012. It was liberated in a military intervention led by former colonial power France, but sporadic violence remains a problem and it is still potentially one of the most dangerous parts of the region...
(Ventures-Africa 12/23/14)
VENTURES AFRICA – Tourism, the fastest growing economic sector within Africa, serves as one of the core investment opportunities on the continent. But beyond the safari experience, innovative companies offer a look into Africa which is capable of penetrating this global culture. “There is no reason the world shouldn’t experience the environments that breed such dynamic people,” said Cherae Robinson, Founder and CEO of Rare Customs. Cherae is the brilliant mind behind “Tastemakers Africa”, a mobile app and website that allows travellers secure exquisite, adventurous and curated trips across Africa.
(Leadership 12/16/14)
Top music acts from across the African continent will dazzle guests, VIPs and members of the football community at the forth-coming 2014 Glo-CAF Awards scheduled to hold in Lagos on January 8, 2015. The top acts expected to do their stuff at the high octane continental event are Congo DRC’s multiple award-winning song writer, singer and guitarist, Fally Ipupa; global Jazz icon, Hugh Masekela from South Africa and Egyptian folk singer and the first person from an Arab country to perform at a Nobel Prize ceremony, Hakim. Other acts billed to perform at the show, which will be watched live all over the world, include the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa, sensational singing group, Uhuru; pan African group, Cirque...
(Leadership 11/20/14)
It was another night of glamour and panache as this year’s edition of the prestigious Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, came to a glittering end Saturday in Calabar, the Cross River State capital. The grand finale of the festival, which kicked off amid gaiety on Sunday, November 9, held at the Cultural Centre, Calabar, with top Nollywood stars, producers, directors and stakeholders from Africa, Europe, America and other parts of the world in attendance. Leading Nollywood stars at the event were Genevieve Nnaji, and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and they dazzled the red carpet with everything they had to showcase. Others include Kate Henshaw, Rita Dominic, Segun Arinze, Ramsey Nouah, Kalu Ikeagwu, Fred Amata, and Uru Eke, who was co-anchor with Gideon...
(The Guardian 10/28/14)
Magnus Taylor picks his favourites from the upcoming Film Africa festival in London – from a pro-democracy struggle to a city battling religious extremists. In the dunes not far from Timbuktu, recently captured by militant jihadists, Kidane lives peacefully with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and shepherd, Issan. Residents in the culturally rich city are suffering: music, laughter, cigarettes and football have been banned and women are being chastised for not wearing the veil. Back in the dunes, an incident brings Kidane into the heart of the historic city and its new brutal regime.
(AFP (eng) 10/16/14)
Despite sparse resources and limited institutional support, the world will soon wake up to Africa's ingenious new artists, according to some of the continent's leading exponents taking part in London's Contemporary African Art Fair. The four-day event -- the largest such fair outside Africa -- opens on Thursday and showcases the work of over 120 artists in the grand setting of Somerset House in the heart of the British capital in a bid to reach a global market. Some 27 galleries from around the world are represented at "1:54" -- named after the number of countries in Africa -- and the event has doubled in size since it debuted last year. "What is exciting about 1:54 is showing that Africa...
(News Day 10/10/14)
IT was a night of fun and of course lots of glitz and glamour at The Big Brother Africa (BBA) Hotshots launch on October 5 at The Whippet in Linden, Johannesburg, South Africa. After the unexpected burning down of the former BBA house also located in Johannesburg, viewers and audiences were naturally eager to see how this new venue would turn out and with no doubt Big Brother did not disappoint. The usual presenter, Ik Osakioduwa, popularly known as Ik, introduced audiences to this year’s edition with a stunning cabaret performance of the official Big Brother theme song. It was splendid, well curated and off course something audiences never expected. During the launch show for the first time ever, all...
(AFP 09/22/14)
Two grandiose elephant tusks guard the doors of a palace built to celebrate the cultural heritage of Africa's Bantu tribes, which gradually settled across much of the continent, but beyond them the huge building is a ruin. "Welcome to the Ciciba!" a young boy in rags hailed visitors outside, using the French acronym for the International Centre of the Bantu Civilisations, built in Gabon's capital Libreville three decades ago. Once inside, the crumbling premises proved to be full of poor families, rather than the cultural artefacts of Africa's Bantus, who number almost 150 million. Squatters know their way round the labyrinthine centre, built on several floors to the north of the city on the Atlantic coast on the initiative of...
(The Guardian 12/30/13)
Figures compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists show that 29 journalists were killed in Syria, 10 in Iraq and six in Egypt. At least 70 journalists were killed around the world in 2013, including 29 who died covering the civil war in Syria and 10 in Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The dead in Syria included a number of citizen journalists working to document combat in their home cities, broadcasters who worked with media outlets affiliated with either the government or the opposition, and a handful of correspondents for the foreign press, including an al-Jazeera reporter, Mohamed al-Mesalma, who was shot by a sniper. Six journalists died in Egypt. Half of those reporters were killed while...
( 12/17/13)
BBnZ Live turned the entire Accra metropolis upside-down with the maiden edition of the Afro-Beats Festival held at the Independence Square in Accra over the weekend. An ecstatic crowd made up of over 60,000 Ghanaian music fans from all walks of life including students from all Ghanaian second cycle and tertiary institutions thronged the venue to partake in the event. The three-day Afro-Beats Festival was an all night affair which provided non-stop entertainment till the break of dawn. It kicked off on Friday on a promising note and lived up to maximum expectation, shaking the capital with scintillating performances from some of Ghana’s finest artistes. A number of event organizers who sneaked in to watch the show commended BBnZ Live...
(AFP 11/09/13)
LAGOS, November 9, 2013 (AFP) - The Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) opens in Nigeria on Sunday and although it is still in its infancy, organisers hope that with time it can become the continent's Cannes. Seventy films from across the continent will be screened in a series of venues over seven days in the southern coastal city of Calabar, which Nigeria has tried to promote as an emerging cultural hub. "For an African film to come out in Cannes or at (the) Toronto (International Film Festival) it has got to be pretty exceptional," said festival spokesman Julian Nwagboniwe. "But on our platform, we can increase exposure" for artists who may struggle for recognition in Europe or North America, he...
(CNN 09/20/13)
London (CNN) -- The girls strutting down the runway in The Savoy Hotel share many features - all are long-limbed, fine-boned and have glowing complexions. A silent army marching to the heavy music, past the front row A-listers peering out from behind their dark glasses. But one girl is different: the only one with black skin in a battalion of white faces. Nadja is one of the few black models lucky enough to make this year's cut for London Fashion Week. The lack of racial diversity in the fashion industry is a serious issue that needs to be tackled, according to supermodels Naomi Campbell and Iman, who this month launched a campaign to raise awareness of racism in the industry...

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(RFI 07/04/17)
A French judge will investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed in Gabon during post-election violence last year. Violence continued for several days after President Ali Bongo was declared reelected at the end of August. Clashes broke out shortly after the announcement that Bongo had beaten opposition leader Jean Ping and the opposition said more than 50 people were killed by the security forces. The investigation in France started in April 2017, following a legal complaint by a French-Gabonese citizen in September 2016. He was arrested on the night...
(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 to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(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 so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(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 Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(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 followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(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...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(Bloomberg 05/02/17)
Saudi Aramco is seeking to boost its fuel-trading volume by more than a third as the world’s biggest crude exporter expands its capacity to refine oil to grab a bigger share of growing markets in Asia and Africa. Aramco, as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is known, is building refineries in the kingdom and in Asia to help it increase sales and purchases of gasoline, diesel and other products to more than 2 million barrels a day, said Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco’s trading unit, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co. Owning refineries gives the unit, known as Aramco Trading Co., options for buying and selling fuel that some of its competitors don’t have. “The key is that you...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating PPH. The London School...
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
WorldRemit Ltd., a British money-transfer operator, sees revenue from transactions involving Africans doubling by 2020 as more people on the continent access mobile-payment platforms and expatriates send cash home. The seven-year-old company, in which Facebook Inc.-backer Accel Partners LP invested $40 million in 2014, will this year open a regional office in South Africa, its largest market on the continent in terms of money-transfer value, founder and Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed said in an interview. Another site will start operating in Kenya, where the London-based business sees Africa’s highest number of individual transactions. “In the next two years we should be doubling our volume every year,” Ahmed said in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The continent accounted for half the company’s...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that all the information people give them before they start their journey are wrong," said Nantcha. The group’s leader Sylvie Nantcha was born in Cameroon. She has lived in the German town of Freiburg for 25 years. She arrived as a...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but stay within their own country. African Union Commission head of humanitarian affairs, refugees and displaced people Olabisi Dare says the situation of IDPs in Africa is very critical, dire and worsening. "...The issues that are generating internal displacement [are] multiplying...
(Financial Times 04/04/17)
Countries should develop policies to attract labour-intensive production leaving China. China’s initial wave of investments in Africa focused on natural resource extraction. Their demand for metals and energy was so large that it actually boosted global commodity prices overall, which in turn accelerated growth across the African continent. These times of China propping up global commodity prices are now over, as it has built up excess capacity in many sectors and now faces slow investment growth. This lower demand has contributed to the overall slump in global commodity prices since 2014, making it unlikely that China will again fulfil the role of driving commodity prices. Rather, its position has now shifted to becoming the largest exporter of capital. This provides...
(Voice of America 03/28/17)
The World Health Organization and U.N. children's fund are spearheading a massive immunization campaign across Africa to rid the continent of the last vestiges of polio. Tens of thousands of health workers will fan out across 13 central and western African countries to vaccinate more than 116 million children under age five against the crippling disease. The U.N. agencies report more than 190,000 volunteers, traveling on foot or bicycle, will go house to house across all cities, towns, and villages in 13 countries to vaccinate every child under age five against polio. The synchronized vaccination campaign, one of the largest ever conducted in Africa, will run from March 25-28. Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization Michel Zaffran...
(Voice of America 03/18/17)
Each year, the University of Southern California hosts the African Global Economic and Development Summit, bringing delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. During her prior three summits, Mary Flowers saw a high percentage of her attendees unable to attain visas. "Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come," said Flowers, chair of the African Global Economic and Development Summit. "This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened." Flowers estimated that she...
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
One of the enduring legacies of the Barack Obama presidency will be the relationship built between the United States and young Africans. As part of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), each year 1,000 young people from sub-Saharan Africa travel to the United States to spend six weeks at a U.S. college or university. The program will continue this summer. But building enduring relationships is a two-way street, and many in Africa want to see Americans coming to their continent as well. That’s what 26 Americans selected to participate in a Reciprocal Exchange program, a new component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, are now planning to do. The U.S. Department of State partnered with IREX, a...
(The Wall Street Journal 03/15/17)
Ndalo Media founder Khanyi Dhlomo and Mara Group founder Ashish Thakkar on where the potential is and what’s blocking it How is innovation in Africa different from innovation in Silicon Valley? And how can innovation in Africa be encouraged? Dan Keeler, frontier-markets editor of The Wall Street Journal, discussed those questions with Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and chief executive of Ndalo Media, a publisher based in South Africa, and Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group, a pan-African investment group with operations in banking, real estate, infrastructure and technology. Edited excerpts follow. MR. KEELER: What about innovation in Africa? Khanyi, what sort of things are you seeing that are inspiring you? MS. DHLOMO:There’s a lot of innovation happening in Africa. But it’s...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...

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