| Africatime
Friday 29 April 2016
(African arguments 04/29/16)
As Africa finds its voice after centuries of being silenced, well-intentioned outsiders must be careful to help and not hijack this moment. Just back from the Tana Forum on Peace and Security, held in the sleepy town of Bahir Dar on the shores of Ethiopia's Lake Tana, my head churns with questions about how African debates like this should be organised. Should they be held under a Baobab tree or in international hotels? Should they be formal or informal? Should they emulate Western or Asian styles or ignore them altogether? And ultimately, after centuries in which African voices have rarely been heard - from slavery, through colonialism, and up to the present day - who...
(Forbes 04/29/16)
I write about how innovation is better in Africa. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. “If we can prove our basic supposition that children can learn to read, write and do math on their own, and with each other using only technology, the positive results will be global and exponential.” – XPRIZE’s Matt Keller. Having propelled humanity to the edge of space, the XPRIZE now hopes to inspire education for hundreds of millions of children, starting with a five-year competition that launches in Tanzania today. The XPRIZE Foundation has partnered with United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to find a way to provide education using open-source software and tablets “that...
(Voice of America 04/28/16)
Press freedom declined in Africa and around the world in 2015, according to a new report by the monitoring and advocacy group Freedom House. The worst clampdown on the African continent took place in Burundi, a Great Lakes nation where efforts by the president to extend his time in office beyond constitutional limits have pushed the country to the brink of civil war. There, journalists have been imprisoned, beaten and killed and nearly all independent media outlets have been shut down. Worldwide, press freedom dropped to the lowest recorded level in 12 years, Freedom House said.
(BBC News Africa 04/28/16)
The call for better management of sport is heard across Africa - often as a lament, more regularly as an outburst of barely contained frustration. In football, former Ajax and Juventus defender Sunday Oliseh recently quit as Nigeria's national football coach, citing contractual violations and lack of support from his local federation. Months earlier, Zimbabwe were disqualified from the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament after its football association failed to pay a former national coach. In athletics, Kenya only recently...
(The Guardian 04/27/16)
Barclays has revealed it has received approaches for its African operations – which its former chief executive Bob Diamond wants to buy – as it reported a 25% slump in first quarter profits and losses on oil-related loans. The bank, currently undergoing a restructuring under new chief executive Jes Staley, reported first quarter profits of £793m and a 15% rise in bad debts, largely a result of problems facing clients in the oil and gas sector. Staley, an American banker...
(Washington Post 04/27/16)
The pejorative phrase “Go back to Africa” made news last month when hurled at protesters at Donald Trump rallies. At the canceled rally on the campus of the University of Illinois–Chicago on March 11, protestor Jedidiah Brown was irate after he was allegedly told to “go back to Africa” by a Trump supporter. A natural-born American citizen, Brown said he had never been to Africa and therefore no one had the right to tell him to go back to a...
(Huffingtonpost 04/26/16)
The foreign aid arena in Africa has traditionally been dominated by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, over the last three decades non-traditional donors such as China, have emerged. The increasing importance of non-traditional donors has meant that the economic and political stronghold of western countries in sub-Saharan Africa has gradually ebbed. China is now the largest non-traditional contributor of aid to sub-Saharan African countries. In the 1960s Africa provided China with an opportunity to increase its political and diplomatic reach.
(Financial Times 04/26/16)
This is likely to be the first year this millennium when Africa grows more slowly than the rest of the world, the IMF predicts. With the respected Ibrahim Index of African Governance suggesting that standards of governance have declined since the global financial crisis, and the IMF having warned that too few countries used the boom years to improve their public finances, a picture emerges of a continent that has largely squandered its commodity-led windfall. The recent slowdown has also...
(Voice of America 04/25/16)
Foreign policy almost always takes a back seat to domestic concerns during the U.S. presidential campaign season. Candidates rarely win over any voters in diners in New Hampshire or town hall events in Iowa touting their plans for economic investment and security frameworks in Africa. In 1999, then-candidate George W. Bush went so far as to declare Africa “irrelevant” to U.S. foreign policy during his first presidential run.
(BBC News Africa 04/24/16)
The influential Congolese music star Papa Wemba has died after collapsing on stage in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, media reports say. Video from the concert shows the artist, who was 66, slumped on the floor as dancers continue to perform, unaware of what is happening. French broadcaster France 24 confirmed the death, quoting his manager. On the African music scene since 1969, Papa Wemba won a world following with his soukous rock music. The Congolese band leader, whose real name was Jules Shungu Webadio, also inspired a cult movement known as the Sapeurs whose members, young men, spend huge amounts of money on designer clothes.
(The New Times 04/23/16)
The apparent end to the commodity super-cycle has sent shockwaves across the global economy. It has sparked turbulence in world stock markets, put pressure on currencies, and fuelled major concerns about prospects for growth and the stability of public finances. Africa has not escaped this pessimism. Questions have been asked about the continent's economic future, with widespread fears that the remarkable gains of the last two decades could be reversed. The mood reminds me of the IMF/World Bank meetings I...
(AfricaNews 04/23/16)
More than a century after the light bulb was invented most of the African continent is still in the dark after nightfall. School children often cannot read after dusk, businesses cannot grow, clinics cannot refrigerate medicine or vaccines and industries are idled, hampering economic growth, jobs, and livelihoods. Today some 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are facing a crisis evidenced by rolling blackouts. Although the African continent is well endowed both with fossil fuels and renewable resources, these are not...
(Zimbabwe Independent 04/22/16)
The year 2015 has been an annus horribilis for several economies in Africa. First, currencies across the board have depreciated dramatically against the dollar. Second, prices of almost all major commodities have crashed, which has had huge impact on government revenues. Third, China’s slowdown has put a damper on Africa’s economic growth. As a result, Africa’s economy will grow by 3,75% — lower than the 5% average of the last decade — and is expected to grow slightly higher in...
(Standard Digital 04/22/16)
Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network, recently released a report highlighting Africa’s electricity challenges. Power shortages can hamper socioeconomic development, but they also have implications for health and education. The electricity crisis in Africa is serious. One of the most glaring disparities is that across the 36 countries surveyed, 94% of urban dwellers have access to the electric grid, whereas only 45% do in rural areas. The urban-rural divide is most pronounced in Guinea, Mali and Niger. This suggests that...
(Business Day 04/21/16)
The apparent end to the commodity supercycle has sent shock waves across the global economy. It has sparked turbulence in stock markets, put pressure on currencies and fuelled concerns about prospects for growth and the stability of public finances. Africa has not escaped this pessimism. Questions have been asked about the continent’s economic future, with fears that the remarkable gains of the past two decades could be reversed. The mood reminds me of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank meetings I...
(AfricaNews 04/21/16)
The World Bank and other development partners have revealed that the total money transfers by African migrants to their region or country of origin surged by 3.4% to $35.2 billion, in 2015. The sum which includes intra-African transfers, represents 6 percent of total transfers by migrants worldwide to their region or country of origin, Ecofin agency reports. The total migrants transfers worldwide, though lesser compared to the previous year is estimated at $581.6 billion. Africa is seen as number one...
(Caj News Africa 04/20/16)
Former United Nations Secretary General, Koffi Annan, has urged African leaders to vacate office when their terms elapse. He raised concern some leaders had overstayed their terms resulting in deadly crisis around the continent. "If a leader doesn't want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out...
(Voice of America 04/20/16)
Many parts of Asia, Africa and the Americas are scorching in heat caused by a cyclical phenomenon known as El Niño. The unusually warm waters that come up to the surface in the Pacific Ocean every three to six years cause extreme weather conditions. The resulting drought is especially hard on the poorest people of sub-Saharan Africa. Somaliland is one of the poorest African regions. Its rural population is struggling to make a living in the best of times, but...
(Xinhuanet 04/19/16)
(Xinhua) -- Peaceful elections in Africa, a continent that had been haunted by election-related violence, have started becoming a reality, hence guaranteeing continued stability and development. The latest case is presidential elections in Chad on April 10. Having been in power for 26 years, President Idriss Deby Itno is seeking his fifth consecutive five-year term against 12 opposition challengers. This year alone, over 10 African countries have held various elections, most of which were concluded peacefully. In addition to Chad, those that held presidential elections include Benin, Niger, Uganda, Republic of Congo, Djibouti and Comoros Island.
(Dw-World 04/19/16)
The Munich Security Conference is convening a meeting in Ethiopia to discuss the fight against extremism, crisis prevention and democracy in Africa. This is the first conference of its kind on the African continent. Around 60 senior leaders from Africa, Europe and the US are gathering in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to exchange ideas on how they can work together to fight terrorism and prevent crises in northern and eastern Africa. German diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, chairs the Munich Security...

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