Saturday 20 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/17)
"Here you're in the heart of precarious living," one of Gabon's first medical responders says in Kolo Ngoum, a grubby shanty suburb of Libreville that has seen no doctors in ages. Residents initially express surprise at the arrival of an ambulance belonging to the SAMU-Social (Service for Urgent Medical Aid), but once they see stethoscopes and other common instruments, they smile with reassurance. "This is a good initiative," says Natanael, in his 30s and sporting dreadlocks. "We thought all this...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
A grocer from Niger who knifed a Danish couple in Gabon shouting "Allahu akbar" came to the capital just two days before the attack and had been stalking the pair, a prosecutor said Monday. Saturday's attack on the Danes, who were in the west African state filming for National Geographic, was "premeditated," Libreville prosecutor Steeve Ndong Essame Ndong said, adding that the man had lived in Gabon for 19 years. He said the 53-year-old came to Libreville on Thursday "with...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Two Danish nationals were wounded Saturday in a knife attack in Gabon's capital apparently committed in retribution for "US attacks against Muslims", a rare assault in a Central African nation that has escaped Islamist violence. The two men, who were working for the National Geographic channel, were stabbed while shopping in a market popular with tourists, said defence minister Etienne Massard, adding that the attack appeared to be politically motivated. "According to the first testimonies at the scene, the assailant,...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Police in Gabon arrested dozens of people Sunday over a knife attack that wounded two Danish nationals working for National Geographic, apparently in retribution for "US attacks against Muslims," officials said. The men detained were mostly traders and sellers in the popular market in Libreville where the attack occurred Saturday -- and all are from west Africa. An official said they were taken to police headquarters, where they are due to be questioned. "Operations are ongoing," government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/17)
The World Health Organization has declared Gabon a "polio-free country", given the lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country. According to a WHO statement obtained by AFP on Saturday, the UN health agency nonetheless recommended taking the necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease. Gabon's Health Minister Denise Mekam'ne Edzidzie also urged families on Saturday to "continue to immunise children and prevent a resurgence of this disease". Polio is a highly-infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis. There is no cure and it can only be prevented through immunisation.
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Equatorial Guinea's coastguard intercepted a makeshift boat carrying 205 West African migrants headed for Gabon, local media reported Wednesday. The migrants, including a newborn baby and three pregnant women, were apprehended on Tuesday off the coast of the capital Malabo, according to state television. Coming from West African countries such as Benin, Nigeria and Togo, the migrants are being held at Malabo's central police station, dubbed Equatorial Guinea's "Guantanamo". "The boat's leader told us that they on their way to...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
"We are all sick. It's our health, and we are being conned," Moise Massala says angrily. The 82-year-old is a retired geochemist who used to work in a uranium mine in Gabon owned by French nuclear giant Areva. He and hundreds of other former workers say they fell ill from their work to extract the uranium -- a source of nuclear power and warheads, but toxic and potentially carcinogenic. The miners worked for an Areva subsidiary -- the Compagnie des...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Africa is making only faltering progress towards food and nutrition security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. "Multiple forms of malnutrition coexist, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition or anaemia as well as high rates of obesity," it says in a new report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, "progress towards the World Health Assembly global nutrition targets has been generally poor," the Rome-based agency says, referring to goals to...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the...

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