Monday 29 May 2017
(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
(AFP (eng) 02/02/17)
Ten of the new Gambian government's 18 ministers were sworn in Wednesday, less than a week after freshly-elected President Adama Barrow arrived in the country following a major political crisis. In a vote in December, Barrow defeated longtime leader Yahya Jammeh, who for several weeks refused to step down. Barrow left the country for Senegal, where he remained until Jammeh agreed to step aside and go into exile. Among the cabinet members sworn in were Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe, a veteran of the opposition to Jammeh's regime. Special advisor to Barrow, Mai Fatty, was sworn in as interior minister, while the ex-treasurer of the main former opposition, Amadou Sanneh, became minister of finance. Fatty was the defence lawyer for several...
(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...
(AfricaNews 02/01/17)
The European Union (EU) is set to release significant budgetary aid to The Gambia. The funds were earmarked for the year 2015/2016 but were frozen due to concerns over human rights and good governance in the Yahya Jammeh led government. According to the EU Ambassador in the Gambia, Attila Lajos, the sum of €33 million will be made available to the Barrow administration. The EU envoy added that more funds will be made available if the government delivers on its promises. “It is a fundamental concern of the European Union to support this democratic process in this country… We are at the start of a completely new
(Xinhuanet 02/01/17)
The Gambia's new president Adama Barrow has appointed 11 ministers to his government, his spokesperson Halifa Sallah announced this Tuesday. "I am not mandated to reveal the names [of the appointees]," Sallah said at a press conference. "What the president wanted is for you to know that he has fulfilled his promise. The people appointed will be sworn in tomorrow and you will know them." He confirmed that the ministerial positions filled are finance, trade, justice, foreign affairs, tourism, lands, interior, fisheries and environment. Barrow led a coalition of seven political parties and an independent candidate to a shock
(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)
The west African force deployed in The Gambia to secure the nation's presidential transition said Monday it had recovered weapons from the former leader's home, and arrested a high-ranking Gambian general. Senegalese General Francois Ndiaye, who leads military forces sent by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said the arms and ammunition were found at ex-president Yahya Jammeh's private residence in his home village of Kanilai. Jammeh left the country after refusing for weeks to recognise his electoral defeat to Adama Barrow, who returned to The Gambia as president from Senegal this week. "All the weapons and ammunitions are now under ECOWAS custody. So nothing will happen there," Ndiaye said. "The situation is under control." He added that...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/17)
In pushing Yahya Jammeh to give up The Gambia's presidency, negotiators played on two key cards: his deep Muslim faith and his professed love of country. Jammeh finally quit as president and went into exile on Saturday following intense lobbying by international powers, ending more than a month of crisis that began when he rejected the result of the December 1 election. Tibou Kamara, a former government minister from Guinea, went early in the crisis to convince Jammeh to leave after 22 years in power in favour of Adama Barrow, who won the ballot. He was joined last week by Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and Guinea's President Alpha Conde, to win over Jammeh before a "last chance saloon"...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/17)
West African nations plan to scale back a military force that secured the return to The Gambia of new President Adama Barrow to take power, the force commander said Friday. The mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc will see "a progressive reduction" in numbers, Senegalese General Francois Ndiaye said in a statement a day after the newly elected leader flew back to his homeland. Barrow defeated longstanding hardline ruler Yahya Jammeh at the polls in December. He took refuge in neighbouring Senegal on January 15, fearing for his safety after Jammeh reversed his acceptance of the election result and sought for six weeks to cling to power. The new leader was welcomed home by...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/17)
In pushing Yahya Jammeh to give up The Gambia's presidency, negotiators played on two key cards: his deep Muslim faith and his professed love of country. Jammeh finally quit as president and went into exile on Saturday following intense lobbying by international powers, ending more than a month of crisis that began when he rejected the result of the December 1 election. Tibou Kamara, a former government minister from Guinea, went early in the crisis to convince Jammeh to leave after 22 years in power in favour of Adama Barrow, who won the ballot. He was joined last week by Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and Guinea's President Alpha Conde, to win over Jammeh before a "last chance saloon"...
(Bloomberg 01/27/17)
Gambian President Adama Barrow returned from neighboring Senegal to take office after his predecessor went into exile under a threat by West African leaders to remove him by force. Barrow touched down at 5 p.m. at the airport in the capital, Banjul, on Thursday as thousands gathered for his arrival a week after his inauguration at the Gambian embassy in Senegal. This is “a proud day day for Gambians and a day of freedom from the ruling of modern slavery,” said Musa Sanneh, who awaited Barrow’s return at the airport amid dancing and the beating of drums. “The country has to be well developed now. If people are developed then the country will be different.” West African soldiers deployed across...
(AL Jazeera 01/27/17)
Following the departure of their former president, Yahya Jammeh, Gambians reflect on the opportunities ahead. On Saturday, Yahya Jammeh boarded a private jet with a smile on his face. Holding a Quran in one hand, the former president of The Gambia waved at a group of about 50 well-wishers who had gathered on the tarmac. Outside Banjul airport, the streets of the administrative capital were quiet. Fearing violence and unrest, many residents had left the city - either for rural towns elsewhere in the country or for neighbouring Senegal. But on the beaches on the Senegambia strip and in the Westfield district inside the Serrekunda suburb, some 13km from the capital, thousands were on the streets celebrating a new political...
(AL Jazeera 01/27/17)
New president arrives from Senegal on Thursday after weeks of political turmoil that left his country in disarray. The Gambia's new president Adama Barrow will return to the capital Banjul on Thursday, days after long-standing ruler Yahya Jammeh, who initially disputed the election results, was forced into exile. Barrow had to be inaugurated in neighbouring Senegal as regional powers threw their weight behind the new leader and threatened military intervention if Jammeh refused to stepped down after 22 years in power. "He [Barrow] is leaving tomorrow and will arrive in Banjul at around 4 pm [1600 GMT]," aide Amie Bojang told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday. The official said the priority would be "putting into place the pillars of...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/17)
Switzerland on Thursday detained former Gambian interior minister Ousman Sonko, who is accused of committing grave abuses under the regime of ousted president Yahya Jammeh. The arrest, confirmed by Swiss prosecutors, comes as The Gambia prepared to welcome their new president Adama Barrow, who had fled to Senegal after beating Jammeh in a landmark election that sparked a political crisis. Sonko had been one of Jammeh's top allies, serving in his presidential guard before leading the interior ministry from 2006 to 2016. Jammeh sacked him in September and Sanko fled to Sweden where his request for asylum was rejected. Sonko was detained in the Swiss capital Bern following a complaint filed by rights
(AFP (eng) 01/26/17)
Jubilant Gambians prepared Thursday to welcome home their new president Adama Barrow, who was elected almost two months ago but fled to Senegal when his predecessor refused to step aside. Barrow's return at 1600 GMT will cap days of anxious waiting in the tiny former British colony that was thrown into chaos when longtime leader Yahya Jammeh refused to leave after losing a December 1 vote. Barrow took the oath of office at his country's embassy in Dakar a week ago and a multinational African force then entered The Gambia to ensure his safe return home and Jammeh's departure. Gambians said they were looking forward to their freedom after two decades of Jammeh's iron-fisted rule. "I'm 100 percent a Barrow...

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