| Africatime
Thursday 23 March 2017
(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) 02/20/17)
Pensioner Sarjo Manneh celebrated more joyfully than most when former leader Yahya Jammeh agreed to leave The Gambia in January. After a decade, he believed he might see his son again. But nearly a month later, he is still waiting. His son Chief Ebrima Manneh, a journalist for a pro-government newspaper, went missing in 2006 during a summit held in the tiny west African country. Agents of the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which reported directly to Jammeh, appeared at the offices of the Daily Observer and took him away. His colleagues and family have never seen him again. In 2009 The Gambia's then attorney-general Marie Saine-Firdaus told parliament that Manneh was not in state custody, while others including the...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/17)
Thousands celebrated Saturday as new Gambian President Adama Barrow retook his oath of office, a month after he was sworn in across the border in neighbouring Senegal during a tense power struggle. February 18 is also the anniversary of The Gambia's independence from Britain, but many are also calling the day the birth of a third republic following the ousting of Yahya Jammeh at the ballot box. The festivities began Saturday morning at Independence Stadium in Bakau, west of the capital, and were attended by several African heads of state as well as high-ranking diplomats. The guest of honour was Senegalese President Macky Sall. Tens of thousands packed the venue, singing and dancing, an AFP correspondent said. Barrow told the...
(Xinhuanet 02/15/17)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said here on Tuesday that he had confirmed from Gambian president Adama Barrow that the West Africa country expected to return to the Commonwealth. Former president Yahya Jammeh withdrew his country from the Commonwealth in 2013, accusing the body of being a "neo-colonial institution". "We have a great conversation with President Barrow who has a fantastic ideas taking this country forward," Boris said at a press conference in Banjul Tuesday. "I am proud to report that President Barrow is going to take the Gambia back to the Commonwealth. I talked about that last night to the Secretary General of Commonwealth and she's determined to speed that up to get it done as soon as possible,"...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who in the past sparked fury over comments about Africans, arrives in The Gambia on a charm offensive Tuesday as its new government considers rejoining the Commonwealth. Johnson is to meet President Adama Barrow and visit the British-funded Medical Research Council, his ministry said, resetting ties after years of tension with former president Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh frequently railed against Britain's colonial rule of the tiny nation, and Johnson will be the first British foreign minister to visit since independence in 1965. Johnson has hailed the December elections that unseated Jammeh after 22 years in power in The Gambia, saying they "highlight the continuing strengthening
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
The Gambia's new government has asked the United Nations to halt the process of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) begun by the regime of former leader Yahya Jammeh. The Hague-based court, set up in 2002, is often accused of bias against African nations, leading The Gambia, Burundi and South Africa to send notice last year they would no longer recognise the ICC's jurisdiction. "The Government of Gambia has notified Antonio Guterres in his capacity as depository of the Rome Statue of its decision to discontinue the withdrawal notice," said a statement issued by the government late Monday, referring to the UN secretary-general. New Gambian President Adama Barrow had promised during his December election campaign to rejoin the ICC...
(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) 02/13/17)
The Gambia's former president Yahya Jammeh wielded a potent mix of brute force and mysticism to keep citizens in a permanent state of fear, a legacy that lingers. Whether a poor farmer or government minister, nobody could feel safe during Jammeh's 22-year rule. Now, weeks after the paranoid autocrat was chased from power in the tiny nation almost entirely surrounded by Senegal, voices are being raised to demand justice, but the hurdles are many. They include pervasive superstition -- including beliefs that Jammeh had supernatural powers -- which for many citizens has blurred the lines between truth and fiction. Jammeh's aura "made people scared of him, so people did exactly what he told them to do," said Fabakary Ceesay, a...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/17)
The European Union announced aid worth 225 million euros ($240 million) for The Gambia on Thursday as President Adama Barrow warned that the nation was "virtually bankrupt" due to economic mismanagement by the former regime. The EU froze assistance to The Gambia in December 2014 over the dire human rights record of ex-president Yahya Jammeh, whose security services were accused by rights groups of extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearances. Barrow's victory over Jammeh in December's election is seen by foreign donors as a new chance for human rights and the rule of law to be better respected in the tiny west African nation. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, hailed "a peaceful democratic change in The...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/17)
West African troops have had their mandate extended for three more months in The Gambia, as President Adama Barrow carries out large-scale reforms of the army and intelligence services. The troops are currently deployed as part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission in The Gambia, which "had its mandate extended by three months subject to renewal," a statement released late Wednesday by Barrow's office said. ECOWAS launched the deployment on January 19, shortly after Barrow took the oath of office in The Gambia's embassy in Dakar
(Reuters (Eng) 02/09/17)
A West African military operation that pressured Gambia's long-time leader, Yahya Jammeh, to step down and flee into exile has had its mandate extended by three months, the office of new President Adama Barrow said on Wednesday. Barrow won a Dec. 1 election but Jammeh, who had ruled since seizing power in a coup in 1994, refused to step down, forcing his opponent to be sworn in at the Gambian Embassy in neighboring Senegal last month. Barrow immediately asked regional bloc ECOWAS for assistance and West African troops quickly crossed into Gambia from Senegal, giving mediators the necessary leverage to negotiate Jammeh's departure. "President Barrow is glad to inform the general public that the standby force ECOMIG has integrated itself...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/17)
The Gambia's press is set to win unprecedented freedom when its new government overhauls the constitution of former leader Yahya Jammeh, its freshly appointed justice minister has said. Abubacarr Tambadou, a former UN assistant prosecutor, said Tuesday on being sworn in that he hoped to remove restrictive laws on the media. "We will be starting a constitutional review process with a view to ensuring that our constitution is relevant and serves the purpose for which Gambians adopted it," Tambadou said. Reform "particularly in the criminal justice sector and media law reform," were priorities, he said. Journalists were regularly slapped with crimes including sedition, slander and publication of false news under Jammeh, offences described as "catch-all" by Amnesty International, and many...
(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,...
(AL Jazeera 02/06/17)
The Gambian political crisis appears to be over with President Adama Barrow having taken the reins of power, successfully and peacefully, with the backing and support of ECOWAS. So, what is next for sub-Saharan Africa's newest democracy following 22 years of authoritarian rule by outgoing dictator Yahya Jammeh? First and foremost, expectations of Barrow's government are high, not only from the Gambian people. Many of ECOWAS's leaders - of note: Senegal's Macky Sall, Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari, and Liberia's Johnson Sirleaf, have put their reputations, resources, and the future direction of West Africa on the line and will expect positive results from Barrow. In addition, on a broader strategic note, one of the most important stories of the entire Jammeh head-spinning...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/17)
A dog that killed the son of Gambian President Adama Barrow has been put down, an agriculture ministry source said, with mystery over the circumstances sparking witchcraft rumours amid political turmoil in the country. Eight-year-old Habibou, one of Barrow's five children, died after the attack last month, days before his father's contested inauguration at a time when then-president Yahya Jammeh was refusing to step down. Jammeh's refusal to cede power to Barrow, who won a December election, triggered a crisis in the small west African nation, before the longtime leader eventually agreed to hand

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