Tuesday 19 September 2017
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Shell Gabon's 400 staff have returned to work, ending an 11-day walkout after a deal was reached with management over the planned sale of the business, union sources said Monday. "Work has resumed at all sites operated by Shell Gabon," after the government helped mediate a deal regarding workers' compensation, said the ONEP union which had originally organised the open-ended strike. Royal Dutch Shell, one of the two historic operators alongside French group Total, is selling its Gabon oil assets. The planned sale, worth an estimated $700 million, is part of a drive by Shell to spin off a total of $30 billion worth of assets to cut debt. But the sale plans have worried the workforce, with the union...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Africa Cup of Nations hosts Gabon crashed out of the competition in the group stage on Sunday after a goalless draw with Cameroon, who advance to the last eight. Gabon were left to regret an inability to convert their chances at the Stade de l'Amitie in Libreville, including one spectacular early miss from star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Denis Bouanga then hit the post in the fourth minute of added time as they were held to a third consecutive draw in Group A, their hopes of winning the trophy for the first time on home soil ended in agonising fashion.
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho refused to discuss his own future as he said bad luck was to blame for the hosts' early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday. "I am sorry for the fans and for the team. We went out to win the game but football is not fair, and we hit the post in injury time before their goalkeeper made a great save from the follow-up," said Camacho after a 0-0 draw with Cameroon in Libreville. Denis Bouanga hit the post in the fourth minute of added time before Didier Ndong's follow-up was saved by Fabrice Ondoa. "It was the opposite against Guinea-Bissau, when we lost a goal at a set-piece in the 91st...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Gabon talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admitted that the Africa Cup of Nations hosts had blown their chance and blamed a poor build-up to the tournament after they were sent packing in the group stage on Sunday. "We had chances. Unfortunately there are days when it doesn't go in," said the Borussia Dortmund striker, who missed a glorious early opportunity for the Panthers as they drew 0-0 with Cameroon in Libreville. Denis Bouanga also struck the post in stoppage time before Didier Ndong's follow-up was saved by Fabrice Ondoa in the Cameroon goal. A third draw in as many matches was not enough and they were eliminated as Cameroon and Burkina Faso went through instead. The exit came after a poor build-up...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Burkina Faso and Cameroon secured progress to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday as hosts Gabon crashed out. Gabon were held to a 0-0 draw by Cameroon in Libreville, and their opponents went through to the last eight as runners-up in Group A. Burkina Faso won the group on goal difference after a 2-0 victory against Guinea-Bissau in Franceville. A Rudinilson Silva own goal and a Bertrand Traore effort gave 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso the win that saw them clinch qualification and top spot. They will stay in Libreville for a quarter-final next Saturday while Cameroon will take on Senegal in Franceville the same day. Ghana are the only other team to have clinched a place...

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