Tuesday 22 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 07/27/17)
Six months ago, businessman and political novice Adama Barrow took power in Africa's smallest mainland country after delivering a stunning defeat against ex-leader Yahya Jammeh, who had ruled brutally for 22 years. When Barrow finally took power in The Gambia in late January after a prolonged political crisis, the euphoria soon turned to grim recognition that Jammeh had more or less cleaned out the nation's coffers before leaving for exile in Equatorial Guinea, he tells AFP in an interview. "We inherited an economy that was virtually empty," Barrow recalls. "With one month import cover -- and that is very, very serious -- our domestic and foreign debt was at highest level." The European Union and World Bank swooped in to...
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with Jean David Mihamle.
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in...
(APA 07/24/17)
The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) have for the first time ever issued a statement to renounce and denounce the military coup on 22 July 1994 which ousted the democratically-elected government of the country’s first president, Sir Dawda Jawara. On the occasion of the 23rd anniversary on Saturday 22 July of the coup, which in the past two decades was marked in the country with a public parade of the armed and security forces, the GAF issued a statement to the press in which it said it wants to “dissociate itself from July 22nd which brought untold terror and mayhem to Gambians”. Adding that it “regrets July 22nd and wish it never happened,” the statement went on: “It (GAF) recognized it...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
Senior politicians in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday called for measures to cut the birth rate in the region in order to bring the population explosion there under control. Deputies of ECOWAS, Mauritania and Chad should be aiming to cut back the birth rate to three children per woman, said Salifou Diallo, Burkina Faso's speaker of parliament. The idea, he said, was to cut the birth rate in half by 2030, in a region that has the highest fertility rates in the world. He called for countries to adopt measures including universal access to family planning, improved education for women and better health care of children, to bring about "a rapid, voluntary decline" in the...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The Gambia's justice minister has promised a new constitution to be voted on by referendum as the tiny west African country transitions from the long rule of former strongman Yahya Jammeh. Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said Thursday the new national charter would entirely replace the 1997 version written largely to consolidate Jammeh's power after he took control in a 1994 coup. A Constitutional Review Commission would consult a broad cross-section of society for a maximum two-year period, Tambadou said, to "reflect faithfully and accurately the views of the generality of Gambians both at home and abroad." The results would be put to a referendum, he added, but did not say when the commission would start work. Jammeh's...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(APA 07/19/17)
The Gambia government Tuesday launched the ''Tobacco Control Act 2016'', which contains severe prohibitions and penalties on the use of tobacco. This is part of national efforts to discourage people from all forms of tobacco use for health reasons. Tobacco use is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people yearly worldwide. The Act enacted by parliament under the former government, bans all forms of tobacco advertisement, promotion, sponsorship including cross-border promotion and sponsorship. The prohibitions contained in the various sections of the document are that: No one should initiate any...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
Gambian President Adama Barrow has set up a commission to probe the assets of former leader Yahya Jammeh, accused of stealing at least $50 million from the tiny west African state. In May, The Gambia's justice minister announced that Jammeh had plundered the meagre state coffers before leaving for exile in Equatorial Guinea in January after 22 years in power. He promised a commission would trace the cash. At a ceremony Thursday naming the commission's members, Barrow said it was "mandated to look into the management of some public enterprises as well as assets and financial transactions of the former president Yahya Jammeh and some of his associates." It will be chaired by high-profile lawyer Surahata Semega Janneh, who will...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/14/17)
In a warehouse on the sprawling country estate of Gambia's exiled former leader, Yahya Jammeh, silver platters pile up beside dusty crates of empty champagne bottles with labels commemorating his 1994 coup. A bailiff picks through the boxes and scribbles down notes — the start of what the new government says is a search for tens of millions of dollars of looted assets, an investigation that Jammeh's supporters have dismissed as a witch hunt. A U.S. official in Banjul said Washington was planning to help, and government staff say they are counting on World Bank assistance. The size of the Kanilai estate — just a small fraction of Jammeh's holdings, according to the government official leading the tour — shows...
(APA 07/13/17)
Mr. Musa Amul Nyassi, the member of the opposition Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) for Foni Kansala, in the National Assembly, says that the party has obtained police permit to celebrate the July 22nd anniversary that brought former President Yahya Jammeh to power. Nyassi told journalists in Banjul that the party militants would come together to celebrate the day in grand style, pointing out that they want “the whole Gambia to know that APRC is alive and that the militants are loyal to the party”.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/12/17)
The World Bank will provide Gambia with $56 million in budget support to help the West African country's new government address a high deficit and provide basic public services. Despite an influx of foreign donor money after succeeding longtime strongman Yahya Jammeh in January, President Adama Barrow's government is struggling to balance its books, running a projected 1 billion dalasi ($21.75 million) deficit this year. "We are all aware that Gambia is a fragile country, and the current economic crisis may threaten the success of the political transition," World Bank country director Louise Cord told reporters in the capital Banjul. "We aim to provide a rapid response to the country's urgent financing needs, but also to lay the ground work...
(Reuters 07/12/17)
Gambia could become the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate malaria on its track record of combating the mosquito-borne disease but more donor funds are needed for the "last mile" of the drive, health experts said on Wednesday. The prevalence of the malaria parasite in children under five has plunged to 0.2 percent from 4 percent in 2011, according to the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP). The total number of new malaria cases across the West African nation has fallen by about 40 percent in that time - to 155,450 last year down from 262,000 in 2011, NMCP data shows. Gambia is aiming to achieve the milestone of having no new malaria cases by 2020, but donor fatigue is...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(AFP (eng) 07/11/17)
As West Africa declares war on the market for expired and counterfeit medicines, start-ups are putting quality control in the hands of patients to stop them risking their lives trying to get well. Not only can such drugs fail to treat the diseases they are bought to combat, experts say, but they may encourage resistance to antibiotics and even cause death as diseases continue to course unchecked through the body. At an April meeting in Liberia, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced a region-wide investigation into the trafficking of expired and counterfeit drugs, and a public awareness campaign. Traffickers in bad medicine prey on some of the world's poorest and most in need, who also face...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...

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