Thursday 21 September 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Gambian authorities have seized assets including 86 bank accounts and 131 properties linked to former president Yahya Jammeh, an official said on Monday, as an investigation into the veteran ruler's wealth gathers pace. The new government has accused Jammeh of massive fraud including siphoning off public money during his 22-year rule that ended in election defeat and disgraced exile in Equatorial Guinea in January. Jammeh has been out of contact since leaving for exile and his associates no longer respond to journalists' queries about the accusations against him. "The government has obtained a court order to freeze and place temporary hold on all of Jammeh's known assets and companies directly linked to him," Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambedou told reporters on...
(Xinhuanet 05/23/17)
The Justice Minister of the Gambia Aboubacarr Tambadou on Monday said they have obtained a court order to freeze the known assets in the country belonging to former president Yahya Jammeh. "We have obtained a court order freezing the known assets in the country of the former President Yahya Jammeh or companies directly associated with him," he said at a press conference at his office in Banjul. The freezing order affects 131 land properties held in the personal name of Jammeh or companies or organizations directly associated with Jammeh, Tambadou explained, adding that they have found out that 86 different bank accounts were held in the personal names of Yahya Jammeh or companies associated with him. "There were also 14...
(Voice of America 05/23/17)
Gambia's government used a court order Monday to seize assets belonging to exiled former President Yahya Jammeh. They include nearly 90 bank accounts and 14 companies linked to Jammeh. Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou says Jammeh stole $50 million in public funds before fleeing Gambia for Equatorial Guinea in January. Jammeh and his associates have been unavailable for comment since he left the country. Jammeh ruled Gambia for 22 years before losing December's presidential election to Adama Barrow. He contested the results for several weeks before giving up and fleeing the country. His long-ruling political party lost April's parliamentary elections to the opposition United Democratic Party. Along with allegations of looting public funds, investigators in Gambia are also probing a number...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(AFP (eng) 05/19/17)
Two fugitive former army officers have been indicted over the 2004 murder of prominent Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, judicial sources said. The court in Banjul also separately issued an arrest warrant for ex-interior minister Ousman Sonko over the death of former intelligence chief Daba Marenah. Hydara, 65, an outspoken critic of then president Yahya Jammeh, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in his car on the outskirts of Banjul in December 2004. He was the editor and co-founder of the independent newspaper The Point and a one-time Gambia correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP). Jammeh, whose regime was accused of numerous human rights violations, went into exile at the end of January after more than 22 years in power following his...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Xinhuanet 05/18/17)
The head of the African Union delegation to Gambia said the continental body is ready to help the country prepare the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to look into atrocities committed in the past two decades, local media reported on Thursday. Pierre Buyoya made the comment after his delegation held a closed-door meeting with the country's vice president Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang. "We came to the Gambia to see which way the African Union can assist, concretely, in confronting some of the challenges Gambia is facing," said Buyoya. He said the visit focuses on how to help Gambia on security reforms, economic reforms and also the building of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). "The African Union is determined to accompany Gambia...
(Xinhuanet 05/18/17)
In order to revive Gambia’s weak economy, which was shunned by investors during president Jammeh’s rule, Caira-based lender African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) said it will invest up to $500 million in the country. This was announced by the bank’s president, Benedict Oramah on Monday after meeting with President Adama Barrow. According to the executive, the facility will be invested in tourism, infrastructure and agriculture. However, though he did not say when the financing would be released, he affirmed that Afrexim would soon send a technical team to Gambia. "We would be doing integrated transport logistics that would lead to the expansion of the sea port so it can have the capacity to carry more goods and link it to...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
The Gambia's president swore in six new judges to top courts Monday, with Gambians dominating the list in a country that long relied on foreign justices under the former regime. Courts were long seen as a tool used by The Gambia's ex-leader Yahya Jammeh to consolidate power, jailing opposition activists and even members of his own cabinet. Justices from abroad were hired and fired with alarming frequency. Chief Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow said the four appointed to the Supreme Court and two appointed to the Court of Appeal had all enjoyed "distinguished legal careers here and abroad". "I am sure their appointment brings much to the legal system," he said at an introduction ceremony at Banjul's High Court. Cherno Sulayman...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/12/17)
Gambians want swift justice for the crimes of fallen dictator Yahya Jammeh's regime but the new government faces an uphill battle to jail the most prolific abusers. Silenced for 22 years, victims shot or tortured by Jammeh's security services are now speaking out, along with families whose loved ones have been pulled from recently found unmarked graves. But the cash-strapped government refuses to put anyone else in the dock, burnt by a high-profile, politically charged case this year that has run into procedural and systemic problems. "In terms of prosecutions, we are not at that stage yet," Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told AFP in his dimly-lit office in central Banjul
(AfricaNews 05/11/17)
The Gambian government has signed a bilateral agreement with Russia to waive visa for diplomatic passport holders. The agreement signed in Banjul on Friday is meant to strengthen the diplomatic ties between the two countries that dates back to 1965, the foreign ministry said in a statement. Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Ousainou Darbo was optimistic that the free movement between Gambia and Russia will enhance economic cooperation. On his part, Russian Foreign Minister Mickhai Bagnodov, who was on an official visit to the country
(Reuters (Eng) 05/10/17)
Gambia's central bank governor and three other senior bank officials who served under ex-strongman leader Yahya Jammeh were dismissed from their positions on Tuesday, the governor and government officials said. Jammeh fled the tiny West African nation in January as a regional military force prepared to intervene and remove him after he rejected his election defeat to opposition figure Adama Barrow. Barrow's government accuses Jammeh of committing fraud on a massive scale during his 22-year rule, including siphoning off tens of millions of dollars in public money. Government officials did not immediately comment on the reasons behind the firings of Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley, his two deputies and the bank's director of finances. "We received our letters today without...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...

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