Wednesday 18 April 2018

Gabon

(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) 06/12/17)
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...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
The West African country of Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, severed ties with Qatar on Tuesday over allegations it "supports terrorists", the state news agency reported, and OPEC member Gabon also condemned the small Gulf Arab state. The Arab world's biggest powers, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar vehemently denies the claims. "The state of Qatar has linked its policies ... in support of terrorist organizations and the propagation of extremist ideas," the Mauritanian ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement published in Arabic by the Mauritanian Information Agency.
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(Xinhuanet 05/24/17)
China and Gabon have pledged to deepen exchanges and cooperation of their legislative bodies. The commitment was made as senior Chinese legislator Ji Bingxuan visited Gabon on May 21-23, where he met President of the Republic of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba, National Assembly President Richard Auguste Onouviet and Senate Speaker Lucie Milebou. Ji, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, hailed the deep-rooted friendship and fruitful cooperation in multiple areas between China and Gabon. He said the two countries have faced new opportunities since Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Bongo in December last year decided
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(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) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...

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(Xinhuanet 07/28/16)
Cooperation among China, the United States and Africa can effectively fight maritime piracy in Africa, a UN senior official said here on Wednesday. UN General Secretary special representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas made the remarks on the sidelines of the two-day meeting which kicked off on Wednesday. About thirty diplomats and experts from Africa, China and the United States discussed collective strategies to address maritime security, protect the blue economy in the Gulf of Guinea and promote peace in the Sahel region. The first day of trilateral consultation among Africa, China and the United States has laid the ground for further cooperation on fight against maritime piracy in Africa, he said. "China and U.S., two world powers and members of the...
(Business Day 07/27/16)
The rapid uptake of digital services across the continent requires that the region’s governments urgently release more spectrum for mobile broadband services. This is according to a report by global mobile network operators association GSMA, which was released on Tuesday. The lack of spectrum has hampered the rapid deployment of faster wireless network infrastructure in many parts of Africa, including SA. At the end of 2015, the continent had 557-million unique mobile subscribers, equivalent to 46% of its population. This has made Africa the second-largest, but least penetrated, market in the world. Africa’s three largest national markets — Egypt, Nigeria and SA — together account for around a third of the total subscriber base. However, Africa is barely scratching the...
(AfricaNews 07/25/16)
Security forces in Gabon have charged at demonstrators gathering in the capital, Libreville. The incident came in the lead-up to presidential elections in the country. Hundreds including 15 opposition leaders defied a heavy police presence and took to the streets in protest of President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s candidacy Among many calls, they are opposing the candidature of President Bongo for the August 27 election. The calls has generated widespread tension in the country. Opposition parties say Bongo has done little to improve the fortunes of Gabon, adding he does not also meet the criteria of nationality required to be elected as head of State. Gabon’s National Electoral Commission thinks otherwise. On July 18, it validated the candidature of president Bongo...
(Xinhuanet 07/21/16)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday advised African countries to increase funding in water projects in the face of water crisis facing the continent. Mohamed El Azizi, AfDB Director for Water and Sanitation Department, said for Africa to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals there must be political commitment, prioritization of water and sanitation issues, as well as more budget allocation to the water and sanitation sector. El Azizi told a news conference in the east African nation's business capital Dar es Salaam that the AfDB has financed a number of water and sanitation projects in Africa, including Tanzania. He was speaking at the ongoing 6th Africa Water Week which started on July 18 through July 22 whose theme was...
(Voice of America 07/19/16)
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is focusing on women’s rights, immigration and education during a visit to three African countries: Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger. During her first stop in Ethiopia, Biden visited a transit center in the capital for refugees at the International Organization for Migration (IOM). There, she met with officials at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and learned more about the refugee screening process for those seeking resettlement in the U.S. One of the refugees accepted for resettlement is Sembetu Buratu, an Eritrean mother of a four-year-old girl, who left her home country to help her family. “I didn’t work, so my brothers used to assist me; when they left the...
(Voice of America 07/15/16)
The number of new malaria cases in Africa fell 42 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to the World Health Organization. The drop was due in large part to insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor spraying and better access to effective treatments. But this progress could be derailed by a new wave of drug-resistant malaria that's currently affecting Asia. Abdoulaye Djimde, head of the molecular epidemiology and drug resistance unit at the Malaria Research and Training Center in Bamako, Mali, said that "we should be concerned. ... Given the frequent interconnection between Asia and Africa — you have direct flights from almost everywhere to several parts of Africa — there is the risk for importing these resistant parasites. [It] is higher today.”...
(AFP (eng) 07/09/16)
Congolese student Arnold Mutumbo Muama refuses to be cowed by a spate of racist violence towards Africans in India's capital New Delhi, defiant after a friend was beaten up by security guards at his apartment block. "The guard called him a 'monster' in Hindi before taking him to the basement and beating him," recalled Muama, 29, who chairs a Congolese welfare association. Racism against Africans in India was thrown into the spotlight following the brutal stoning to death in May of Congolese national Masunda Kitada Oliver in a dispute over an auto-rickshaw. Following the attack, African ambassadors in New Delhi threatened to recommend to their governments that they don't send students to the capital "as their security is not guaranteed"...
(Voice of America 07/08/16)
At a nondescript building in Lagos’ Yaba neighborhood, Startup Andela hires aspiring software developers for a four-year program that teaches them the skills they need to work for IBM, Microsoft and other tech firms. The company won a huge vote of confidence last month, when it received a $24 million infusion of capital, most of it from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a charity fund run by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. Andela is the Initiative’s first investment since being created by Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, after the birth of their child last year. "We live in a world where talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. Andela's mission is to close that gap," Zuckerberg said...
(Voice of America 07/01/16)
The U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons report Thursday and again, Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds — from forced labor to sexual slavery. Again this year, not one African nation made the report’s top tier — which is dominated by developed Western nations like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. The State Department says the ratings are based more on the extent of government action to combat trafficking than the size of the country’s problem. A significant number of African countries remain at the lowest possible ranking. Migrant crisis Susan Coppedge, a senior advisor to the U.S. secretary of state, said the migrant crisis that...
(Voice of America 06/29/16)
The United Nations says a record number of people caught in conflict and natural disasters are in need of humanitarian assistance. At the same time the world body warns the funding response to these crises falls far short of what is needed. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has just released its 2016 mid-year Global Humanitarian Overview, which says the situation is very worrisome. OCHA reports the number of people worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance has soared to a record-breaking 130 million, nearly 44 million more than when the United Nations launched its annual multi-billion-dollar appeal in December. At the same time, it says funding requirements have increased by $2 billion to $21.6 billion, a sum...
(Voice of America 06/27/16)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is scheduled leave Sunday for Africa and Europe to advocate for girls' education. The six-day trip – to Liberia and Morocco, with a final stop in Spain – will highlight Let Girls Learn, one of Obama's core initiatives. The first lady will be joined in her travels by daughters Sasha and Malia, and the girls’ grandmother, Marian Robinson. Let Girls Learn is a global initiative launched by the president and first lady in 2015. The program addresses obstacles – such as forced marriage, poverty and violence – that keep more than 62 million girls globally out of school. “We believe very strongly that education and the empowerment of young people is going to be critical...
(Xinhuanet 06/25/16)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is keen to further strengthen its relation with China for partnership on humanitarian operation in Africa, said an ICRC official. Jacques Pellet, Special Envoy of the ICRC President on China Affairs, told Xinhua in an interview in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa Friday that ICRC wants to engage China more on its activities related to humanitarian assistance in Africa, where ICRC spends one-third of its budget. The Special Envoy said his visit to Ethiopia aimed to learn the humanitarian activities in Africa through African Union (AU), and also to discuss ways of strengthening cooperation with China on ICRC humanitarian operation on the continent. "We have already a good relation (with China), but we...
(BBC News Africa 06/22/16)
Last year, more people fled to Europe from Eritrea than any other African nation. The government in Asmara has recently been accused of crimes against humanity, but when Mary Harper was given rare access to the country she was surprised by what she found. I push back the thick, deep red velvet curtains and find myself in complete darkness. Drops of rain come through the ceiling, and hit the floor - hard. Someone turns on a switch. A dim, flickering bulb does its best to light up the place - I am inside a huge cinema. Slowly, I make out elegant shapes on the walls - leaping antelopes, pineapples and dancing maidens. On the floor, in front of the screen,...
(The Associated Press 06/21/16)
Experts in Malawi will move 500 elephants 185 miles across the country to a sanctuary that will act as a ‘reservoir’. Wildlife experts in Malawi will next month start moving up to 500 elephants to a sanctuary that they hope could eventually serve as a reservoir to restore some elephant populations in other parts of Africa where the threatened species has been heavily poached. The massive relocation, slated for completion next year, will involve darting the elephants from a helicopter, hoisting the slumbering animals by crane and loading them in crates on to trucks for a ride of about 185 miles (300km) to Malawi’s Nkhotakota wildlife reserve. The relocation by African Parks, a non-profit group based in Johannesburg, comes amid...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/16)
A "Miss and Mister Albino" contest, heavy sentences for ritual murder and concrete graves to ward off tomb raiders were all discussed at a UN summit on albinism concluding in Tanzania on Monday. During the four-day meeting people with albinism and advocates for their rights discussed ways to safeguard and improve the lives of those who suffer discrimination, health problems and even murder as a result of the condition that leaves their skin without pigment. It is a particular problem in Africa in general and in Tanzania in particular, which is why the East African nation was chosen to host the summit. "Of all the regions in the world, Africa is the most hostile for people with albinism," said Ikponwosa...
(Voice of America 06/18/16)
One hundred and fifty South African schoolgirls have started in a project to design and build Africa’s first private satellite. The satellite will be launched into space later this year as part of a program sponsored by The Meta Economic Development Organization (MEDO) to motivate more teenage girls in African countries to study and work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics field, widely known by the acronym STEM. The girls kicked off the project Thursday and are tasked with designing the payload for the satellite. They have been trained by satellite engineers on how to build rovers or mini-robots. MEDO's space program manager, Carla De Klerk, said that after that the young women decided to study agriculture and food security...
(Xinhuanet 06/15/16)
The African Union (AU) is prepared to launch the electronic passport (e-Passport) at the next AU Summit due to take place in July this year in Kigali, Rwanda. The first group of beneficiaries will include: AU Heads of State and Government; Ministers of Foreign Affairs; and the Permanent Representatives of AU Member States based at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, according to an AU statement Tuesday. The AU e-Passports will be issued to them in July at the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, noted the statement. Issuance of the e-passport is expected to pave the way for the Member States to adopt and ratify the necessary Protocols and Legislation with the view to begin issuing the much expected African...
(Times Live 06/11/16)
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 is an ambitious target for Africa. According to new research by non-partisan research network Afrobarometer, nearly half of Africans don’t have access to clean water and two-thirds lack access to sewage infrastructure. Improvements in both of these areas have been made in the past decade, but huge numbers of Africans still live without these basic necessities. The lack of access to water and sanitation has not gone unnoticed by people living in Africa. Almost half of the continent’s citizens are not happy with the way their governments are handling water and sanitation. The global Millennium Development Goals’ target for drinking water was...
(Voice of America 06/10/16)
Countries across Africa are actively pushing to integrate more technology into classrooms across the continent. To further this effort, the African Development Bank and the U.N. educational organization UNESCO are hosting a conference in Ivory Coast. Three years after its first edition, the pan-African forum opened this session by highlighting the progress made by countries such as Kenya, and the benefits that have followed. "Five years ago, the government announced that they were going to give laptops to kids,” said Jerome Morrissey, chief executive officer at Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative, or GESCI, one of the forum's organizers. “Everybody started to laugh, saying this is ridiculous, we should be buying books, etc. But what has happened is that it has...
(BBC News Africa 06/09/16)
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has launched a campaign to help extremely poor families in sub-Saharan Africa by giving them chickens. The billionaire and philanthropist says raising and selling the birds can be efficient to tackle extreme poverty. He has promised to donate 100,000 chickens, and the project's page has already been shared thousands of times. The UN estimates that 41% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty. Mr Gates said a farmer breeding five hens could earn more than $1,000 (£690) a year. The poverty line is about $700 (£484). Will it work? Matthew Davies, BBC Africa Business Report editor: You can't fault the sentiment. Giving away 100,000 chickens in an effort to alleviate poverty is a noble...

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(Bloomberg 05/13/16)
Cape Town - The year after President Barack Obama extended African nations’ preferential access to US markets by a decade, his administration is re-evaluating its trade relations with the world’s poorest continent. “It’s time to start looking at what comes next,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in an interview in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, where the World Economic Forum is holding its annual Africa summit. “Part of what motivates us is that we are hearing from Africans that they want to move towards a more permanent, reciprocal kind of relationship.” Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, which was first adopted in 2000, the US eliminated import levies on more than 7 000 products from Africa, ranging from...
(AfricaNews 05/11/16)
Countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) are facing economic turbulence. This was the conclusion by officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following a 2-week visit to Libreville, Gabon and Yaounde in Cameroon. According to the IMF, the CEMAC region has been severely hit by the twin shocks of lower oil prices and security issues. With the value of oil exports contracting by about one third, the regional fiscal and current account deficits increased to about 7 and 9 percent of GDP in 2015, respectively. In terms of security, the fund said the cost of fighting against Boko Haram has weighed heavily on the region in particular Chad and Cameroon. The IMF estimates that the fight...
(Cnbc Africa 05/10/16)
The fast-growing economies of Africa face headwinds from the pull-back of international banks from the continent, Barclays' erstwhile-chief executive told CNBC, as the bank moves to sell down its business in Africa. Countries like Nigeria, the continent's biggest economy, received a flurry of international trade finance in the build-up to the global financial crisis of 2007-08. Since then, inflows have slowed, increasing the economic challenge for the continent where many people still struggle to access energy supplies or basic education. "There are headwinds from commodities and international banks pulling out," Bob Diamond told CNBC Africa on Saturday at the London Business School's Africa Business Summit. However, Diamond was optimistic about the medium to long-term prospects for Africa If you look...
(Bloomberg 05/04/16)
The prices private equity firms pay for stakes in African companies are the highest in six years, driven by record fundraising and competition for the continent’s expanding middle class. The median price for buyouts in 2015 increased to more than seven times the ratio of a company’s value to its earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortization, compared with 5.4 times in 2012, Cape Town-based RisCura Solutions (Pty) Ltd. said in a report on the industry released Wednesday. “Industries serving consumer staples and discretionary spending fetch the highest prices because of favorable demographics in the growing middle class,” Rory Ord, head valuations at RisCura, said by phone. “High growth expectations, fierce competition and decreased risk perception contribute to higher sale...
(IMF 05/03/16)
After a prolonged period of strong economic growth, sub-Saharan Africa is set to experience a second difficult year as the region is hit by multiple shocks, the IMF said in its latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa. The steep decline in commodity prices and tighter financing conditions have put many large economies under severe strain, and the new report calls for a stronger policy response to counter the effect of these shocks and secure the region's growth potential. The report shows growth fell to 3.5 percent in 2015, the lowest level in 15 years. Growth this year is expected to slow further to 3 percent, well below the 6 percent average over the last decade, and barely above population...
(Voice of America 04/27/16)
Debate over the CFA franc is once again stirring in West and Central Africa with some experts calling for a reform of the colonial currency. Some say the region has outgrown the CFA franc, arguing it should be unpegged from the euro or just abandoned altogether. Ivorian economist Seraphin Prao Yao wrote a book on the topic in 2012. He says the exchange rate of a country must take into account the weight of its commercial partners. And today, the eurozone is not our only partner anymore. He says member countries should also now be taking into account the U.S. dollar and Asian currencies. Yao says pegging the CFA to the euro makes the currency too rigid and too strong...
(The Guardian 04/27/16)
Barclays has revealed it has received approaches for its African operations – which its former chief executive Bob Diamond wants to buy – as it reported a 25% slump in first quarter profits and losses on oil-related loans. The bank, currently undergoing a restructuring under new chief executive Jes Staley, reported first quarter profits of £793m and a 15% rise in bad debts, largely a result of problems facing clients in the oil and gas sector. Staley, an American banker who took the helm in December after a hiatus in the boardroom, said there had been expressions of interest in the African business, which was put on the market last month. “On Africa, we continue to explore opportunities to reduce...
(Huffingtonpost 04/26/16)
The foreign aid arena in Africa has traditionally been dominated by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, over the last three decades non-traditional donors such as China, have emerged. The increasing importance of non-traditional donors has meant that the economic and political stronghold of western countries in sub-Saharan Africa has gradually ebbed. China is now the largest non-traditional contributor of aid to sub-Saharan African countries. In the 1960s Africa provided China with an opportunity to increase its political and diplomatic reach.
(AfricaNews 04/23/16)
More than a century after the light bulb was invented most of the African continent is still in the dark after nightfall. School children often cannot read after dusk, businesses cannot grow, clinics cannot refrigerate medicine or vaccines and industries are idled, hampering economic growth, jobs, and livelihoods. Today some 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are facing a crisis evidenced by rolling blackouts. Although the African continent is well endowed both with fossil fuels and renewable resources, these are not evenly distributed, creating windfall profits for some countries and exacerbating the crisis in others. APV aims to achieve an 80% residential electrification rate by 2040 and 90% for industry/business, with sufficient energy to deliver to those connected, while also implementing...
(Business Day 04/21/16)
The apparent end to the commodity supercycle has sent shock waves across the global economy. It has sparked turbulence in stock markets, put pressure on currencies and fuelled concerns about prospects for growth and the stability of public finances. Africa has not escaped this pessimism. Questions have been asked about the continent’s economic future, with fears that the remarkable gains of the past two decades could be reversed. The mood reminds me of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank meetings I attended at the height of the Asian financial crisis nearly 20 years ago, when analysts were predicting the Asian miracle was at an end. They underestimated the potential of Asia then, and I believe the potential of Africa is being...
(AfricaNews 04/21/16)
The World Bank and other development partners have revealed that the total money transfers by African migrants to their region or country of origin surged by 3.4% to $35.2 billion, in 2015. The sum which includes intra-African transfers, represents 6 percent of total transfers by migrants worldwide to their region or country of origin, Ecofin agency reports. The total migrants transfers worldwide, though lesser compared to the previous year is estimated at $581.6 billion. Africa is seen as number one in terms of migration and as such, some European countries have raised barriers thus making it more difficult for Africans to get visas. Over the past four years, transfers by African migrants to their homes reached $134 .4 billion. A...
(CNN 04/16/16)
Growth in Africa has outpaced most emerging markets in recent years, but that's changing fast as a slew of problems beset its leading economies. Cheap oil, political uncertainty and weak banks are all to blame. Here's what you need to know about sub-Saharan Africa's big four: South Africa The prospects for Africa's most advanced economy are not looking good. The country is set to grow by just 0.6% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. It's one of the slowest growing countries in one of the world's fastest growing territories. The rand plummeted 30% last year, and not just because of an emerging market sell-off. Political turmoil has also had a big impact. Just this month, South African President...
(Cnbc Africa 04/16/16)
The apparent end to the commodity super-cycle has sent shockwaves across the global economy. It has sparked turbulence in world stock markets, put pressure on currencies, and fuelled major concerns about prospects for growth and the stability of public finances. Africa has not escaped this pessimism. Questions have been asked about the continent’s economic future, with widespread fears that the remarkable gains of the last two decades could be reversed. The mood reminds me of the IMF/World Bank meetings I attended at the height of the Asian Financial Crisis nearly 20 years ago, when analysts were predicting the Asian miracle was at an end. They underestimated the potential of Asia then, and I believe the potential of Africa is being...
(Bloomberg 04/15/16)
Less than two years after International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde heralded Africa for its “remarkable resilience,” some of the continent’s former brightest stars are seeking bailouts. Ghana and Angola have turned to the IMF for help in the past year, as has Mozambique, which Lagarde had said epitomized the new “positive spirit” on the continent. Zambia may soon be forced to follow suit, Kenya took on a $1.5 billion standby facility and Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, is negotiating a $1 billion loan from the World Bank. Zimbabwe is also engaging with the Washington-based lenders to obtain fresh credit. High yields are shutting nations on the continent out of international capital markets at a time when fiscal and current-account...
(Forbes 04/13/16)
By training one million young Africans with digital skills in the next year, Google GOOGL +0.78% is hoping to grow the continent’s digital economy and change the nature of its media and advertising industries. With 500m internet users expected to be online in Africa by 2020, according to Google, the Digify program will run in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya – where youth unemployment stands at 35%, 13% and 17% respectively, it says.
(The Wall Street Journal 04/12/16)
Fortune seekers across Africa are clambering down gold shafts closed by some of the world’s biggest miners, fueling dystopian conflicts between companies waiting out a commodity rout and poor villagers with little to lose. The result is a chaotic and often deadly tableau playing out deep underground across the mineral-rich continent. Dozens of miners have been killed in subterranean gunfights over turf ceded by mining companies, many of whom fear the collateral damage to shaft walls and winches could make it impossible to open them again. In Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s No. 3 gold producer, closed shafts at its Obuasi mine in late 2014, as the mine hemorrhaged cash amid sinking metals prices. Early this year, hundreds of...
(News24 04/12/16)
The number of planned hotel rooms in Africa has soared to 64 000 in 365 hotels, up almost 30% on the previous year, according to new figures from the annual W Hospitality Group Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey. The increase is largely down to strong growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which is up 42.1% on 2015 and is significantly outstripping North Africa which achieved only a modest 7.5% pipeline increase this year. South Africa ranks in position 9 of the hotel development pipelines in Africa list for 2016, just above Senegal. A major shake-up in the rankings by country saw Angola, never before listed among the top 10, push Egypt out of second place, due to a major deal there signed...
(Business Day 04/11/16)
There is no evidence to prove bilateral investment treaties signed by African countries have made them more attractive to foreign direct investment, despite it being the main reason to sign them. The private sector tends to be the main beneficiary of treaties, with governments weakened by a lack of negotiating capacity. These are among the findings of an Economic Commission for Africa report looking at issues about, and the consequences of, investment policies and bilateral investment treaties. The report was launched at the African Development Week in Addis Ababa. The decision to do the research was based partly on pressure from SA, which has terminated its bilateral investment treaties, replacing them with legislation that makes the government the guarantor of...
(Business Day 04/08/16)
As we face the challenges of the 21st century, there is more that unites Africa and Europe than divides us. We share a common history of thousands of years. Today more than ever, we need to work together to build our common future and to work jointly on the defining global issues of our age. We have a shared view of the benefits of co-operation on our continents. Europe’s journey from the devastation of 1945 to a union of more than half-a-billion citizens based on shared values and designed to create peace and prosperity, is well-known. So too is Africa’s liberation from colonial rule to independence and greater integration through the creation of the African Union (AU). Our journeys towards...
(The Guardian 04/06/16)
Reeling from external trade shocks, resulting in search for alternative source of funds for financing public expenditures, experts have advised African countries to exercise restraint in sourcing for foreign loans. This is even as the government of Nigeria may have shelved any plan to increase taxes, especially the Value Added Tax (VAT), at least this year.

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(CNN 01/22/16)
(CNN)Fancy a drink of Sparletta Stoney Tangawizi? Or maybe a glass of Krest Bitter Lemon? Those are two of over 100 drinks that Coca-Cola produces in Africa, many tailored to local taste. The approach in each city may differ, but the company's strategy is the same everywhere: a Coke product should always be within reach. "It is very important that as a business we really ensure that we continue to be relevant to consumers and customers," Nathan Kalumbu, President Coca-Cola Eurasia & Africa Group, told CNN. Across the continent, Coke has about 3,000 small distribution centers. "These micro distribution centers are normally run by individuals who live in the community, they employ local people and they distribute to local retailers...
(The Wall Street Journal 01/19/16)
Barclays PLC was one the few western banks to blaze a trail into sub-Saharan Africa. Now it is preparing to stage a gradual retreat. Barclays executives have concluded that being the majority owner of a sprawling African business no longer fits with the bank’s strategy, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank is drawing up plans to sell some of its 62% stake in Barclays Africa Group Ltd. , the publicly traded entity that houses most of its African business, these people said. The decision is part of a plan by Barclays’ new chief executive, Jes Staley, to refocus the bank on a narrower range of profitable activities. It comes as lenders world-wide dial back their ambitions, and...
(CNN 01/16/16)
London (CNN)With over 1,000 restaurants in the continent, KFC is the leading fast food chain in Africa. But its dominance is limited to South Africa, home to about 80 percent of them. Despite its success, the company faces many challenges as they try to establish the brand in other regions, for example by making sure its food is relevant and recognizable to Africans. Serving jollof rice, a spicy dish native to West Africa, is one way in which KFC is improvising to win over palates in Africa's largest economy, Nigeria. Doug Smart, Managing Director, KFC Africa, says: "Every Nigerian will tell you that their mother or wife makes the best jollof rice -- and KFC is now making it." From...
(BBC News Africa 01/14/16)
African exports to China fell by almost 40% in 2015, China's customs office says. China is Africa's biggest single trading partner and its demand for African commodities has fuelled the continent's recent economic growth. The decline in exports reflects the recent slowdown in China's economy. This has, in turn, put African economies under pressure and in part accounts for the falling value of many African currencies. Is China a brake on Africa's progress? Presenting China's trade figures for last year, customs spokesman Huang Songping told journalists that African exports to China totalled $67bn (£46.3bn), which was 38% down on the figure for 2014. BBC Africa Business Report editor Matthew Davies says that as China's economy heads for what many analysts...
(CNN 01/14/16)
(CNN)In 2014, 100 million people were using Facebook each month across Africa, over 80% via mobile. That figure has now jumped to over 120 million. Four and a half million of those Facebook users are based in Kenya, 15 million in Nigeria and 12 million in South Africa, in statistics first reported by Reuters. Overall, around 9% of Africans use social media, with South Africans among the world leaders in time spent on social networks with an average of 3.2 hours a day, compared to a global average of 2.4 hours, according to data from marketing consultants We Are Social. "We discuss life, love, politics, philosophy, and all else one would expect," says Mark Kaigwa, founder of African digital strategy...
(BBC News Africa 01/13/16)
The BBC's southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen looks at the areas in which Africa can expect big social change this year, some of which have seen campaign groups turn to the internet to state their case. They say information is power and we've seen that demonstrated in the past year, with the protests about quality and access to affordable education right across the continent. Watch out for more developments in the #Feesmustfall campaign in South Africa, as students prepare to register for the new academic year. The internet was used to rally support for street protests in opposition to a proposed hike in fees in 2015. It seemed to catch the government of President Jacob Zuma off guard as senior...
(CNN 01/09/16)
(CNN) If you've ever been on the receiving end of trolling tweets, you'll know Twitter can be a cruel place. But the social network also provides a platform for disparate voices, helping to amplify them and create online communities. Africans on Twitter have long used 140 characters to celebrate their cultures, air their grievances or just share a good joke and it seems record numbers of people joined in. From #IfAfricaWasABar to #MugabeFalls, here are the very African hashtags of 2015. Twitter got creative after a video of Zimbabwe's then 90-year-old president, Robert Mugabe, falling down stairs started making the rounds in early February. Although the president's security detail apparently attempted to suppress images of the incident by forcing photographers...
(BBC News Africa 01/08/16)
Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang narrowly beat Ivory Coast's Yaya Toure to win the Confederation of African Football's player of the year award. In a vote of coaches and technical directors of Caf member nations, Aubameyang earned 143 points, with Manchester City midfielder Toure, 32, the runner-up with 136 points. Aubameyang, 26, is the first player from his country to win the award. Ghana and Swansea midfielder Andre Ayew, 26, was third with 112 points. Aubameyang is the Bundesliga's leading scorer so far this season, with 18 goals in 17 league games. The Gabonese star made a traditional acceptance speech, thanking his family, team mates and the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, a notable football fan. The President returned the...
(BBC News Africa 01/06/16)
There are well-documented problems about access to education. The Africa Learning Barometer at the US-based Center for Universal Education at Brookings says of the continent's nearly 128 million school-aged children, 17 million will never attend school. There have been improvements, with targets for the millennium development goals widening access to primary school. But many millions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, never start school or learn so little that it is hardly worth them attending. Against this backdrop, education in Africa, particularly in East Africa, has become a hotbed for e-learning.
(Voice of America 12/21/15)
The United States is expected to add two species of lions in Africa to its endangered list Monday in a move that will make it more difficult for hunters to bring lion trophies back into the country. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the list, is linking the move to declining populations in the wild and the need to ensure those who illegally hunt cannot gain from their actions. One lion species found in central and western parts of Africa, as well as India, has a population estimated around 1,000 and is being classified as endangered. The other species, predominant in eastern and southern Africa, has a population up to 19,000 and will be classified as threatened. The labels...
(BBC News Africa 12/19/15)
Could putting vibrations into the ground be a way to keep elephants from coming into conflict with humans? Already, attempts have been made to scare the animals away from villages using their own very low-frequency alarm calls - with partial success. Now scientists are studying whether even better results could be obtained if this sound in the air is accompanied also by a seismic signal underfoot. The work is being led by Prof Sue Webb from Wits University in Johannesburg. The ultimate goal she said was to try to find a means of keeping everyone safe - both humans and elephants. "Elephants can be incredibly destructive, especially with people's farmlands," she told BBC News. "They come on to the farmland...
(Voice of America 12/16/15)
Africa cannot be left to foot the bill for climate change, so say leaders and specialists from the continent who attended the recent climate conference in Paris. Nearly 200 nations adopted a historic deal December 12 that aims to slow the pace of global warming and provide billions of dollars for climate change remediation to poorer countries. While it's hard to predict the impact the deal will have on Africa, it's significant that there is recognition of the continent's vulnerability, says Edith Ofwana-Adera, a senior program specialist on climate change for the International Development Research Center (IDRC), who attended the summit. "Agriculture is the backbone of many African economies,” she said. “So what's foremost in the minds of African stakeholders...
(Voice of America 12/16/15)
GENEVA— A senior U.N. official warns that increasingly children are being killed, maimed, and recruited as soldiers and suicide bombers in armed conflict. Leila Zerrougui was appointed the U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in 2012. She says the plight of children has worsened every year under her watch. 2015 is shaping up to be the worst year of all. The United Nations is tracking the status of children in 20 conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and one in Latin America. Zerrougui notes six ongoing major crises are putting the lives and futures of children at particular risk. She says tens of thousands of children are being killed and maimed, recruited as child...
(Voice of America 12/09/15)
Developing countries in Africa are battling a host of deadly infectious diseases, from diarrheal conditions to malaria to HIV, and some think India may have a way to help. But complications arise. India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, met recently with the heads of state of more than 50 African countries to discuss ways India — which has become the world's leader in the manufacture and export of generic drugs — can improve the continent's health infrastructure.
(Voice of America 12/07/15)
Ten African countries have committed to restore 31 million hectares of degraded and deforested land, under a new push to make 100 million hectares productive again by 2030. The AFR100 scheme, launched on Sunday in Paris, will be backed by $1 billion from the World Bank and additional funds from Germany, as well as $545 million in private-sector investment. "Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity," said Rwanda's Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta.
(Voice of America 12/02/15)
PARIS— France announced it will provide $2 billion to help develop renewable energy in Africa as a second day of climate talks got underway outside Paris as negotiators race to reach a climate deal by the end of next week. About $6.4 billion, over the next four years, is the amount French President Francois Hollande has promised to help with electrification in Africa. Of that, one third is to help the continent develop renewable energy. Hollande’s announcement came during a meeting with about a dozen African leaders to discuss climate threats in their countries.
(Voice of America 12/02/15)
A new study finds the rapid economic development in Africa may have serious social and environmental consequences. Huge investment projects are speeding ahead to address the urgency to expand agricultural production to feed a population that is expected to nearly quadruple this century. At the same time the continent is opening up to extensive mining, largely driven by foreign money. No overall plan or strategy exists to coordinate the many players, both foreign and domestic. “These gigantic proposals will create roads, pipelines, highways, railways and port facilities,” says William Laurance, director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. “These development corridors are going to penetrate into remote regions of Africa,” he...
(Bloomberg 12/01/15)
Naspers Ltd. plans to increase its exposure to U.S. technology startups as Africa’s biggest company by market value seeks to limit the impact of a U.S. interest-rate rise and identify new Internet growth prospects, Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk said. The company invested $100 million in September in Letgo, a U.S. mobile-only classifieds-ads application, and plans further spending on companies based around San Francisco, the CEO said in an interview on Nov. 28. Naspers could base “a number of investment professionals” in the Bay Area to identify the right deals, he said. “We will probably have more focus on the Bay Area than we’ve had previously,” Van Dijk said. “If we see the right opportunities we could see ourselves...
(BBC News Africa 11/13/15)
The $1.9bn (£1.2bn) European fund to tackle African migration is not sufficient, several African leaders have said after crisis talks with their European counterparts. It was one of several measures European and African leaders agreed to reduce the flow of people into Europe. The leaders said their aim was to "address the root causes of migration". The Europe-Africa meeting was planned after around 800 migrants died when their boat sank off Libya in April. Senegal's President Macky Sall, who currently heads the West African regional group Ecowas, told journalists on the sidelines of the summit that the money pledged was "not enough for the whole of Africa". Later, at the closing press conference, he said he was pleased with the...
(Dw-World 11/12/15)
Political leaders at an EU-Africa summit in Malta remain divided over conditions for curbing a mass influx of migrants. Merkel said that a relationship with Africa includes aid but also 'clear demands and expectations.' European and African leaders on Wednesday met in the Maltese capital Valletta to hash out a deal that would provide African countries with aid and improved access to the EU in exchange for assistance in curbing migration flows to Europe.

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