Tuesday 26 September 2017

Gabon

(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Tuchel has blamed Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Champions League shocker against Benfica on a loss of fitness at the Africa Cup of Nations. Tuchel hauled off Aubameyang moments after the 27-year-old missed a penalty in the 1-0 last 16 first leg defeat in Lisbon. It was one of four clear chances spurned by Aubameyang, the Bundesliga's top scorer with 17 goals. "'Auba' has been physically behind since returning from the Africa Cup," explained Tuchel. "After the missed penalty, I didn't get the feeling anymore from his body language that he was in a position to score. "He is a part of the team and I can't imagine that he had a problem with my decision." Goalkeeper Ederson...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready to make a new deal to help Nigeria "in terms of military weapons." The statement said Trump also commended Buhari for the strides Nigeria is making against Islamist radical group Boko Haram, and invited Buhari to come to Washington at...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first choice for regular Champions League entrants Coton Sport from northern Cameroon cotton town Garoua. Coton qualified for the 2008 final, losing to Al Ahly of Egypt, but have fared poorly recently with first round exits in the past two seasons...
(Standard Digital 02/09/17)
Hundreds of business and political personalities yesterday attended a German-African economic summit in Nairobi, where German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Mueller talked about his “Marshall Plan” for Africa. The plan is “with Africa, not for Africa,” Mueller (pictured) said, stressing that it would be based on cooperation between equals rather than the principles of traditional development aid. The plan, which Mueller presented to the German parliament’s development committee on Wednesday, is based on fair trade conditions, investment and increasing aid for educational projects. One of the goals of the plan, which the German opposition received with scepticism, is to curb migratory flows from Africa to Europe. Mueller called on German companies to focus on Africa, which he...
(AL Jazeera 02/08/17)
The EU must espouse a transnational approach with a clear development agenda that replaces its current security policy. One year ago, 22-year-old Patrick left Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, to become a football star in Europe. A talented midfielder and an ambitious young man, Patrick felt compelled to reach Europe to help him to realise his dreams. But, as he passed through Agadez in Niger, which has become a major transit hub for migrants taking the Central Mediterranean route, reality proved to be grimmer than he had anticipated. Patrick and two of his male relatives, also travelling from Douala, were beaten, robbed and held captive by organised predatory groups. Finally, their tumultuous journey came to an end in Algeria,...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is expected to raise about $500 million for its new African investment fund, attracting less than its original goal as investor interest in the region proved weaker than anticipated, according to people familiar with the matter. The Toronto-based insurer sought to raise as much as $1 billion at $10 a share for Fairfax Africa Holdings Corp. in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a regulatory filing in December. Fairfax said it had secured as much as $416 million in commitments for the African venture from both its own funds and partners, including the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, a Canadian pension fund and CI Investments Inc., according to the...
(Xinhuanet 02/03/17)
T20 Africa Conference, the meeting for the G20 think tanks and African countries, ended on Friday in Johannesburg with a commitment to accelerate cooperation between the G20 and Africa. The three-day conference aimed to chart a course for the future cooperation between Africa and the G20. The day ended with the formulation of the communique which will be given to the current G20 chair Germany. The communique will also be the reference for further discussion between Africa and T20. T20 comprises of the G20 think tanks. Dr. Christine Hackenesch, researcher at the German Development Institute (DIE) said, "There was an agreement that there must be a continuous and sustained engagement between G20 and Africa because there is a strong dependence...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/02/17)
African leaders have backed a "strategy of collective withdrawal" from the International Criminal Court (ICC), but it came with unspecified reservations, an African Union official said on Wednesday after this week's African Union summit. The official did not give details about the strategy or the reservations, but it highlights broad antipathy towards the court among Africans who feel the ICC unfairly targets them. A document seen by Reuters before the summit proposed a co-ordinated withdrawal unless the ICC was reformed. It included a call for "regionalization" of international law, a reference to proposals for an African war crimes court. Almost a third of the ICC's 124 members are African, and a withdrawal by a large number of them would cripple...
(Xinhuanet 02/01/17)
Newly elected senior officials of the African Union (AU) Commission, including Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, were sworn in on Tuesday at the conclusion of the 28th AU summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. In addition to the two top officials, other officials took the oath for positions including, peace and security; political affairs; trade and industry; social affairs; infrastructure and energy; and rural economy and agriculture. The 28th AU summit also elected Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea, for a rotating chairmanship of the African Union. In his acceptance speech on Monday, Conde said, "It is with honor and humility that I accept to preside at the destiny of our Organization during the year...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/17)
Built in rainforest outside Gabon's fourth largest town as one of the venues for the Africa Cup of Nations, the Oyem stadium risks becoming a white elephant now the tournament has moved on. Ghana beat DR Congo at the venue in the quarter-finals on Sunday, the last of seven matches to be played at the stadium during the competition. It is anyone's guess when the next game will be held. Not least because construction work has not actually finished, and is not likely to be completed until June according to those in charge at the site. The 20,000-seat stadium is impeccable on the inside and meets the standards of both the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA. Its setting...
(Xinhuanet 01/28/17)
The African Union (AU) has been endeavoring to ensure robust, resilient and long-lasting economic transformation of Africa through promotion of infrastructure and energy development on the continent, noted Elham Mahmood Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy. Speaking at a press conference Friday ahead of the 28th AU leaders' summit here, the commissioner said the pan-African bloc has scored achievements in its flagship projects and programs on the development of energy, transport as well as in the information and communication technology (ICT) areas, which she said are the biggest priorities in Africa's infrastructure sector. In cooperation and coordination with its regional, continental, and international partners, AU has been committed to development of infrastructure on the continent, which facilitates trade, economic...
(Bloomberg 01/27/17)
Barclays Africa Group Ltd. was targeted by protesters who entered one of its branches on Thursday and demanded the bank pay back money from a bailout provided to a company it bought before the end of apartheid. Demonstrators linked to the youth league of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress gathered outside the branch in Durban on South Africa’s east coast, Johannesburg-based Barclays Africa said in an e-mailed response to questions. Police ensured customers and staff were protected during the incident, it said. The protests come after the leaking of a draft report compiled by South Africa’s graft ombudsman that said Barclays Africa, which traded as Absa then, may have unduly benefited from state support when it bought Bankorp in...
(Xinhuanet 01/26/17)
Adopting African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) has been named a major task for the African Union (AU) this year as the 30th session of its Executive Council opened on Wednesday. In her remarks at the opening of the meeting, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, called for member countries' commitment to meeting the first target in Agenda 2063 of commencing the CFTA by end of 2017. She underlines the need "to do what needs to be done on the free movement of persons, so that we unlock opportunities for intra-African trade, studies, business and tourism." In her remarks at the opening of the 33rd session of the AU Permanent Representatives Committee on Sunday, Dlamini-Zuma said the AU's major...
(Bloomberg 01/25/17)
Taiwan’s last two African allies have no plans to switch allegiances and break ties with Taipei as Beijing tries to woo the self-ruled island’s diplomatic partners. Burkina Faso won’t cut relations with Taiwan despite people and companies with links to China offering funding in return for recognition of the One-China principle, according to Foreign Minister Alpha Barry. Swaziland said its relationship with Taiwan is based on mutual interests, not on money. “We get outrageous proposals telling us, ‘if you sign with Beijing we’ll offer you $50 billion or even more,’’’ Barry said in an interview in the capital, Ouagadougou, this month. “Taiwan is our friend and our partner. We’re happy and we see no reason to reconsider the relationship.” Competition...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/17)
Sporting agony in the shape of an early elimination from their own Africa Cup of Nations has only added to the other woes facing Gabon, a country already in the midst of a political and economic crisis. "The Africa Cup of Nations is not finished. I encourage all football lovers to enjoy the quality of the remaining matches," said president Ali Bongo in a statement released following Sunday's 0-0 draw with central African neighbours Cameroon in Libreville. That result, Gabon's third draw in as many matches, condemned them to a group-stage exit, something that had not befallen the hosts of the Cup of Nations since Tunisia in 1994. "It was a great derby. I would like to pay tribute to...
(Cnbc Africa 01/24/17)
While Brexit and the U.S. election dominated headlines in 2016, the African continent witnessed major changes of its own. Its two largest economies were destabilized, with Nigeria being driven into recession and the South African political elite grappling for power. Conflict continued to make news, with the continuation of people trafficking across the Mediterranean and violence in South Sudan bubbling over. Macroeconomic concerns Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa fell to 1.5 percent in 2016 according to the World Bank, which deemed this "the weakest pace in over two decades." The slowdown was chiefly blamed on low commodity prices. But, the organization forecasts growth of 2.9 percent in the region for 2017. Africa's two biggest economies have a lot to account for...

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(African arguments 04/29/16)
As Africa finds its voice after centuries of being silenced, well-intentioned outsiders must be careful to help and not hijack this moment. Just back from the Tana Forum on Peace and Security, held in the sleepy town of Bahir Dar on the shores of Ethiopia's Lake Tana, my head churns with questions about how African debates like this should be organised. Should they be held under a Baobab tree or in international hotels? Should they be formal or informal? Should they emulate Western or Asian styles or ignore them altogether? And ultimately, after centuries in which African voices have rarely been heard - from slavery, through colonialism, and up to the present day - who should now talk for Africa...
(Forbes 04/29/16)
I write about how innovation is better in Africa. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. “If we can prove our basic supposition that children can learn to read, write and do math on their own, and with each other using only technology, the positive results will be global and exponential.” – XPRIZE’s Matt Keller. Having propelled humanity to the edge of space, the XPRIZE now hopes to inspire education for hundreds of millions of children, starting with a five-year competition that launches in Tanzania today. The XPRIZE Foundation has partnered with United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to find a way to provide education using open-source software and tablets “that...
(Voice of America 04/28/16)
Press freedom declined in Africa and around the world in 2015, according to a new report by the monitoring and advocacy group Freedom House. The worst clampdown on the African continent took place in Burundi, a Great Lakes nation where efforts by the president to extend his time in office beyond constitutional limits have pushed the country to the brink of civil war. There, journalists have been imprisoned, beaten and killed and nearly all independent media outlets have been shut down. Worldwide, press freedom dropped to the lowest recorded level in 12 years, Freedom House said.
(BBC News Africa 04/28/16)
The call for better management of sport is heard across Africa - often as a lament, more regularly as an outburst of barely contained frustration. In football, former Ajax and Juventus defender Sunday Oliseh recently quit as Nigeria's national football coach, citing contractual violations and lack of support from his local federation. Months earlier, Zimbabwe were disqualified from the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament after its football association failed to pay a former national coach. In athletics, Kenya only recently averted the threat of disqualification from the 2016 Olympic Games because of its previously long-standing failure to implement robust drugs-testing procedures - nearly 40 athletes have failed tests in the last four years. And yet Kenya would surely be far...
(Washington Post 04/27/16)
The pejorative phrase “Go back to Africa” made news last month when hurled at protesters at Donald Trump rallies. At the canceled rally on the campus of the University of Illinois–Chicago on March 11, protestor Jedidiah Brown was irate after he was allegedly told to “go back to Africa” by a Trump supporter. A natural-born American citizen, Brown said he had never been to Africa and therefore no one had the right to tell him to go back to a place he is not from. The phrase “Go back to Africa” seems like nothing but an insult. It doesn’t have to be that way, as demonstrated by the historical links between black Americans and the African continent. Many Americans have...
(Financial Times 04/26/16)
This is likely to be the first year this millennium when Africa grows more slowly than the rest of the world, the IMF predicts. With the respected Ibrahim Index of African Governance suggesting that standards of governance have declined since the global financial crisis, and the IMF having warned that too few countries used the boom years to improve their public finances, a picture emerges of a continent that has largely squandered its commodity-led windfall. The recent slowdown has also led to the perception that the entire Africa rising phenomenon was driven more by the cyclical upswing in commodity prices than any longer-lasting structural improvements in African economies. However, dramatic rises in life expectancy suggest many governments, aided by external...
(Voice of America 04/25/16)
Foreign policy almost always takes a back seat to domestic concerns during the U.S. presidential campaign season. Candidates rarely win over any voters in diners in New Hampshire or town hall events in Iowa touting their plans for economic investment and security frameworks in Africa. In 1999, then-candidate George W. Bush went so far as to declare Africa “irrelevant” to U.S. foreign policy during his first presidential run.
(The New Times 04/23/16)
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 twenty 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 04/22/16)
Gabon is considering a return to OPEC and trying to rally fellow African nations for a more coordinated response to slumping oil prices, President Ali Bongo Ondimba said. Some members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have asked the West African nation to rejoin the group after 21 years as producers seek to “fight together" to stabilize prices, Bongo said during an hour-long interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. Gabon hasn’t made a decision, he said. While an April 17 meeting in Doha, Qatar, ended with major producers failing to agree on an output freeze, Bongo, 57, said the fact the meeting even occurred was positive and that talks would continue. Gabon, which has cut its budget twice...
(Zimbabwe Independent 04/22/16)
The year 2015 has been an annus horribilis for several economies in Africa. First, currencies across the board have depreciated dramatically against the dollar. Second, prices of almost all major commodities have crashed, which has had huge impact on government revenues. Third, China’s slowdown has put a damper on Africa’s economic growth. As a result, Africa’s economy will grow by 3,75% — lower than the 5% average of the last decade — and is expected to grow slightly higher in 2016 at 4,25%. While certain trends can be seen, recent economic events have affected Africa’s economies very differently with huge variations in economic growth for 2015. The most striking feature of the high growth economies is that except for Côte...
(Standard Digital 04/22/16)
Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network, recently released a report highlighting Africa’s electricity challenges. Power shortages can hamper socioeconomic development, but they also have implications for health and education. The electricity crisis in Africa is serious. One of the most glaring disparities is that across the 36 countries surveyed, 94% of urban dwellers have access to the electric grid, whereas only 45% do in rural areas. The urban-rural divide is most pronounced in Guinea, Mali and Niger. This suggests that major cities, including capitals, have fairly good grid coverage, but the outlying rural areas remain severely wanting. The problem of accessing electricity varies greatly across countries. Many North African and island countries achieve high rates of access. But several countries...
(Voice of America 04/20/16)
Many parts of Asia, Africa and the Americas are scorching in heat caused by a cyclical phenomenon known as El Niño. The unusually warm waters that come up to the surface in the Pacific Ocean every three to six years cause extreme weather conditions. The resulting drought is especially hard on the poorest people of sub-Saharan Africa. Somaliland is one of the poorest African regions. Its rural population is struggling to make a living in the best of times, but drought makes it impossible. "I am 80. In the 80 years of my life, I've never seen such severe drought. It has killed so many animals and caused so much famine. Our lives are in danger," said Mohamed Omar, a...
(Dw-World 04/19/16)
The Munich Security Conference is convening a meeting in Ethiopia to discuss the fight against extremism, crisis prevention and democracy in Africa. This is the first conference of its kind on the African continent. Around 60 senior leaders from Africa, Europe and the US are gathering in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to exchange ideas on how they can work together to fight terrorism and prevent crises in northern and eastern Africa. German diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, chairs the Munich Security Conference. He told DW that leaders will also discuss the security risks posed by epidemics and climate change with focus on Africa. Why was Addis Ababa chosen as a venue for the conference? Wolfgang Ischinger: It's the seat of African...
(Xinhuanet 04/18/16)
HANGZHOU – Trade between African countries and the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu increased 20−fold, while the city’s imports from the continent rose 30−fold in the past half−decade. Local companies from the city have also invested US$39 million in seven African countries by the end of 2015, about 16% of the city’s overseas investment, according to Yiwu deputy mayor Xiong Tao during the fifth China−Africa Think Tanks Forum, which was held over the weekend. Last year, imports and exports between African countries and Yiwu reached 49,8 billion yuan (US$7,7 billion ), up 49% year−on−year, accounting for 2,7% of China’s total trade volume with Africa.
(The New York Times 04/18/16)
“Drought Cuts Short an African Success Story” (front page, April 13), about Zambia’s big Kariba Dam, describes the predicament facing those countries in Africa that are reliant on hydroelectricity in a time of climate destabilization. Turning to essentially waterless technologies like rooftop solar and wind can provide electricity to thousands of rural communities that have not been served and are unlikely to be by expensive transmission lines from big dams. The World Bank could have funded decentralized renewable energy that would truly advance its primary mission of reducing poverty, but instead is doggedly pushing more methane-emitting big dam projects for Africa despite the evidence of a severely changing climate for this continent.
(The Economist 04/14/16)
“Is anyone here actually hoping to make any money, or are you all just trying to minimise your losses?” The question, asked at a dinner in London for investors who specialise in Africa, showed how the mood has changed in the past year. The financiers around the table—mostly holders of African bonds—all said they were simply trying not to lose money. Only a few years ago people were queuing up to invest in Africa. As recently as 2012 Zambia paid less than Spain to borrow dollars.
(CNN 04/14/16)
(CNN)In much of Africa -- where 35 out of 54 countries ban homosexuality, and where it's punishable by death in four countries -- being openly gay requires a staggering amount of bravery. So imagine the courage it took to curate and submit to the 2014 LGBT-themed anthology Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction. The work was instantly lauded on publication, winning a Lambda Literary Award for best LGBT anthology, and general praise. It was described by poet Gabeba Baderoon as "a collection of unapologetic, tangled, tender, funny, bruising and brilliant stories about the many ways in which we love each other on the continent." Makhosazana (Khosi) Xaba, who co-edited the book with fellow South African Karen Martin, says that the...
(Business Day 04/13/16)
Africa's digital revolution has been a long time in the making. For the past decade, internet usage has lagged significantly behind most other parts of the world. And most online activity and infrastructure has been concentrated in just a few countries — SA, Kenya, the North African countries of Morocco and Egypt, and the smaller economies of Mauritius and Seychelles. Fast forward to 2016. The number of Africans online, 29%, is still low compared with the global average of 46%. But Africa is going digital, and fast, with almost half a billion Africans expected to be online by 2020. More Africans online means more opportunities for African businesses and digital entrepreneurs; and, if nurtured right, a growth engine for economies...
(The Guardian 04/11/16)
First the bad news. After fifteen years in the global economic growth fast lane, sub-Saharan Africa is reeling from the effects of falling commodity prices, depressed Chinese demand, and deteriorating financial conditions. The IMF has revised growth forecasts down to 3.5% for 2016, from an annual average rate in excess of 5% since 2000. Now for the good news. Africa’s economic slowdown is a wake-up call and an opportunity to rethink an economic model that is failing. The impressive growth record of the past 15 years has roughly doubled output, but with limited results for poverty reduction, job creation and productivity. Already extreme inequality is rising in many countries. Manufacturing has stagnated. The challenge for policy-makers is to set a...
(BBC News Africa 04/09/16)
A mobile insurance scheme to help small-scale farmers in Kenya ensure their agricultural produce against drought and other natural disasters is spreading to other parts of Africa, as Neil Ford explains. A greater proportion of sub-Saharan Africans work in agriculture than anywhere else on the planet but only 6% of the population of Africa and the Middle East have any form of agricultural insurance. "The insurance man" was a feature of many Western countries in past decades. Local agents collected tiny sums on a weekly basis to provide cover against long-term illness, funeral costs and unemployment. Kenya has now adopted this model for the 21st Century via mobile handsets. Farmers with as little as one acre of land can insure...

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(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.
(This Day Live 04/06/16)
The 18 member countries of African Petroleum Producers Association are considering strategies that will keep them afloat in the wake of the challenging crude oil price environment. Since the prices of crude oil in the international market took an uncertain path, the economies of some key African oil producing countries have received some significant battering, especially those that rely heavily on crude oil export to meet their respective economic and social responsibilities. Over the periods that oil prices have slipped and revenues from sales by producers dipped, the budgets of a number of Africa's top oil pro¬ducers like Nigeria have either impaired significantly with challenging revenue benchmarks or looked quite unconvincing since more than 70 per cent of their revenues...
(Médiapart 04/05/16)
Les mystères qui planent autour de Mr Yves Fernand MANFOUMBI ont plusieurs explications : l'argent et donc la corruption, le sang et les organes humains, le satanisme et l'ésotérisme négro-fasciste, le népotisme et les fausses parentés, les mauvais secrets et la danse mystico-magique ... entre autre ! De nous : Si vous pensez que Manfoumbi a la tête de quelqu'un qui vient de descendre d'Air France en provenance d'Abomey c'est votre problème les enfants ! Accombressi a sorti Manfoumbi de Sans Famille hier vers 14 heures en concertation avec Ali BONGO. Avez-vous bien vu la tête de celui qui était supposé être au Bénin ? Je me moque de votre système. Nous sommes le Gabon d'après. BBM.
(Foreign Policy 04/05/16)
Africa’s petrostates are crashing hard. A cool $115 in the summer of 2014, a barrel of Brent crude, the international pricing benchmark, now fetches below $40. And having failed to build massive foreign exchange reserves like Saudi Arabia or other Gulf monarchies, African oil exporters are now being forced to grapple with depreciating national currencies, mounting inflation, and deep cuts in government spending. Some of these states are now dangerously unstable, staring down popular unrest or domestic insurgencies that left unaddressed could set them back years, if not decades, in development terms.
(Independent Online 04/05/16)
The African Union (AU) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Integration concludes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday with Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, imploring African countries to improve young people’s skills in science and engineering. The Conference of Ministers is an annual event jointly organised by the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission. It is being held at the Conference Centre of the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Read: The grim situation facing SA's youth “With an average of over 90 percent of graduates in social sciences, Africa’s innovation and scientific skills lag behind,” said Dlamini Zuma. “There is general agreement on the skills crisis that...
(RFI(EN) 04/02/16)
African countries are becoming the fastest growing economies in the world, with East African nations leading the pack in 2015. But infrastructure still remains a challenge. The United Nations and the African Union are pushing for the continent to industrialize, if it is to reach 1 of the 17 sustainable development goals. Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, (NEPAD). He spoke with RFI's Christina Okello about his vision for Africa's future. 1) NEPAD places regional integration at the core of Africa's development, why is that? If you consider the challenge posed by terrorism, regional integration is a good mechanism.
(Forbes 04/01/16)
Africa seems to be the only continent today that is regularly referred to as a country. It bristles me every time I hear it said. It’s reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s chatter with the press aboard Air Force One in late 1982 on his way back to the US from a Presidential visit to Latin America: “I learned a lot down there…You’d be surprised, because, you know, they’re all individual countries.” As a relatively freshly minted PhD in international business economics at the time, I thought a statement like that coming from the President of the United States was more than odd. Just as such an utterance was, of course, grossly naïve, if not insulting, to Latin Americans, so too is...
(Bloomberg 04/01/16)
Trade barriers and poor infrastructure are preventing sugar producers in sub-Saharan Africa from accessing under-supplied regions on the continent as an imminent end to import quotas in the European Union compels them to find new markets. A preferential-access deal with the EU for African, Caribbean and Pacific sugar producers ends in September 2017, potentially depriving the farmers further access to a duty-free market. Exports to the EU account for a fifth of the sub-Saharan region’s current annual output of about 7.5 million metric tons, according to Cooperatieve Rabobank UA. While sub-Saharan Africa consumes more sugar than it produces, growers may struggle to plug this shortfall because insufficient infrastructure makes deliveries between regions difficult and import duties lift the cost of...
(Financial Times 03/31/16)
When Israel faced a resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency last September demanding that it open its undeclared nuclear facilities to UN inspectors, the measure failed to pass. It foundered in part because several African countries — which normally would have voted in lock-step with Arab states — abstained or voted No. The ballot was just one of many examples of a growing alignment between Israel and sub-Saharan African states: the Jewish state is searching for new allies as its traditionally close ties with Europe cool, and both it and African states face a common threat from radical Islamist groups.
(Usa Today 03/29/16)
Uber is expanding in Africa. The ride-hailing app launched in the cities of Abuja, Nigeria and Mombasa, Kenya on Wednesday. These are the 399th and 400th world cities where the service operates. But just as Uber has butted heads with traditional taxis in Paris, London, Toronto, Sao Paulo and many other places, so it is facing tensions in African metropolises. On the same day that Uber launched in Mombasa, an Uber taxi in the capital Nairobi was set on fire. This was the second Uber taxi torched in the city in a matter of weeks. Kenyan police said that a man hired the Uber and led the driver to a dark alley where the taxi was attacked by four men...
(Xinhuanet 03/26/16)
(Xinhua) -- China has appointed its first envoy to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Kuang Weilin, who also serves as Head of the Chinese Mission to the African Union (AU) was named to the post and presented his credentials to Carlos Lopes, UNECA Executive Secretary on Monday at the headquarters of UNECA in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.. During their meeting, Kuang said he was glad to be the first Chinese envoy to UNECA, and that China counts on UNECA for fresh ideas on how to best promote Africa's development. UNECA is considered as a top research institute and think-tank in Africa. Lopes expressed his delight with the Chinese government agreeing to formalize its relationship with UNECA,...
(Business Day Ghana 03/25/16)
Africa's private sector will continue to lead the continent towards economic transformation, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said Monday at the launch of the fourth Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan. Addressing some 500 CEOs from 43 African countries and 20 more worldwide, he said, "The 'Africa rising' story remains strong. Yes, African economies face economic headwinds from the significant decline in the price of commodities ... but African economies remain resilient.
(Independent Online 03/24/16)
Africa continues to be in the news as it continues to engage with the challenge of electricity supply and access. - Africa demand for electricity is expected to increase by more than two-thirds between now and 2040. - Fossil fuels, especially coal, are expected to remain a significant part of Africa’s power generation assets. - Renewables other than hydro are set to play an increasing role in the energy mix. Of the 1.3 billion people that lack access to electricity globally, an estimated 600 million are in sub-Saharan Africa.

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(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.
(Voice of America 11/03/15)
Backed by tanks, armored vehicles and plenty of EU cash, thousands of African soldiers took on an imaginary enemy in the arid heart of South Africa last week, the last joint exercises before a homegrown continental strike force goes live. Standing on far-away hilltops, commanders peered through night vision goggles and issued orders through helmet-mounted radios to the 5,400 troops simulating a dawn assault on rebels in the fictitious city of Kalasi marked out in the bush. The orderly maneuvers and high-tech kit elicited purrs of approval from military chiefs who tout the rapid-reaction battalion - a key part of a long-awaited African Standby Force (ASF) - as the antidote to insurrections spiraling into civil war or even genocide. "This...

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