Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
Liberian President George Weah said Monday he would seek to remove a "racist" clause in the country's constitution that restricts citizenship to black people, and pledged to take a pay cut in a dire economy. Liberia was founded by freed slaves from the United States in 1847, who inserted the requirement into the constitution to create "a refuge and a haven for freed men of colour". Weah said in his first state of the nation address that he believed this restriction was "unnecessary, racist, and inappropriate for the place that Liberia occupies today in the comity of nations," as well as holding back business. Calling for that provision to be removed, Weah also called for the ban on foreign ownership...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia’s newly sworn-in President George Weah pledged to cut his own salary by a quarter on Monday, in a nationwide address in which he warned of tough times ahead for a “broke” country. “The state of the economy that my administration inherited leaves a lot to do and to be decided,” the former international soccer star said in an address apparently aimed at lowering high expectations following his election victory at the end of last year to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “Our economy is broken; our government is broke. Our currency is in free fall; inflation is rising,” Weah said. “Unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low”. Weah had...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Liberian President George Weah filled the vast majority of remaining cabinet seats on Saturday while controversy grew over allegations of past criminal behaviour by his justice minister. Weah gave posts to a mixture of inexperienced but loyal figures from his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party, along with some key members held over from the former government, according to names released in an official statement. Newly appointed interior minister Varney Sirleaf is a stepson of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and previously served as deputy minister, while her information minister Eugene Nagbe keeps his role in the new...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/25/18)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Liberia has imposed a one-year ban on female genital mutilation - a highly contentious issue in the West African country - but campaigners said on Thursday it may not be enforceable and urged new president George Weah to push for a permanent law. The ban came into force after former leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed an executive order late last week before stepping down. But the move received little publicity, overshadowed by this week’s inauguration of Johnson Sirleaf’s successor, former soccer star George Weah. The ban makes it an offence to perform FGM on anyone under 18 but it can still be carried out on adults with their consent. Campaigners said FGM should be banned...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
New President George Weah is nothing less than revered among Liberia's youth, who view his rise from the slums to stellar success in European football as proof he can also turn around their fragile economy. In his inaugural address on Monday, Weah thanked young voters for propelling him to power, telling them: "This is your government." But depressed commodity prices, an inexperienced administration and a straitened budget could cloud their dreams and stir resentment, experts caution. "We know that change will come," said Peter Forkpah, an unemployed man in his early 20s who spends his days kicking his heels in the rural county of Bomi. "I trust this government that the price of rice will come down, the exchange rate...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
New Liberian President George Weah has appointed the first members of his cabinet, all of them men, largely naming party allies but picking a foreign minister close to former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Ex-international footballer Weah was sworn in on Monday at a stadium surrounded by ecstatic supporters, and filled some key ministerial posts later the same day. In his inaugural speech, Weah vowed to crack down on entrenched corruption and encourage the private sector. But the picks from his party come from outside the establishment and do not have significant government experience, potentially setting up a struggle with entrenched interests in the national congress. The lack of women so far in the cabinet may also raise eyebrows after 12...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
Former football star George Weah promised to tackle Liberia's economic and social problems as he was sworn in on Monday in the first democratic transfer of power for more than 70 years. Here are five things he has pledged to do since his election: - Tackle corruption - Failing to tackle endemic corruption among public officials was a key criticism of the outgoing administration of president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Weah said in his inaugural speech that voters had specifically tasked him with rooting out graft. "I believe the overwhelming mandate that I received from the Liberian people is a mandate...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
MONROVIA (Reuters) - George Weah, the former international soccer star who won the presidency of Liberia last month, promised a crackdown on corruption as he was sworn in on Monday. Thousands of exuberant supporters and regional presidents and dignitaries packed into a stadium in the capital Monrovia to watch as Weah, who rose from the city’s slums to become one of Africa’s greatest footballers, took the oath of office. His swearing in marks Liberia’s first peaceful, democratic transition of power in over seven decades. Weah rode to a landslide run-off victory last month on the back of heavy support from the youth and the poor. Delivering his speech before the crowd in flowing white African robes...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
To the cheers of a crowd fired by his promise to bring them jobs and prosperity, former football star George Weah was sworn in as president of Liberia on Monday, completing the country's first transition between democratically-elected leaders since 1944. Weah, 51, took over from Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who over 12 years steered the country away from the trauma of a civil war, although prosperity eluded her. Weah was sworn in as president by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Francis Korkpor, at a packed sports stadium near the capital, Monrovia. The presidents of Gabon, Ghana and Sierra Leone, along with friends and fellow African football stars, including Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto'o, watched as he took the...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Former international footballer George Weah will be sworn in as Liberia's new president on Monday, a landmark moment that marks the troubled country's first peaceful democratic transition since 1944. Weah will become the 25th president of the West African nation, taking power from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after 12 years, with expectations running sky-high among Liberians that he will deliver on his promises of jobs and better schools. The inauguration is due to begin at 9.45 am (0945 GMT) in Samuel Kanyon Doe stadium near the capital, Monrovia, with heads of state from Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Togo expected to attend along with friends and former colleagues from his football years. Weah played for a string of top-flight European teams...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
George Weah emerged from Liberia's slums to become a superstar footballer in the 1990s, and has spent the last 13 years building political credibility to match his status as a sporting icon. Weah, 51, put education, job creation and infrastructure at the centre of his policy platform to beat outgoing Vice President Joseph Boakai to the presidency, and expectations are sky-high he will deliver for the country's youthful population. "I am a human being, I strive to be excellent, and I can be successful," Weah told journalists ahead of his inauguration, countering critics who say he is ill-prepared for office after serving in the Senate for just over three years. The first African player to win both FIFA's World Player...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We are all human, we have...
(AFP (eng) 01/21/18)
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize as a champion of women's rights, is stepping down after making history as Africa's first elected female president in Liberia. Taking the reins of a nation that had just emerged from a civil war leaving an estimated 250,000 dead, Sirleaf will be remembered for maintaining peace and attracting massive donor funding as she rebuilt her country from scratch over 12 years in power. "We were a nation exhausted from three decades of conflict. We were starting from zero, with the complete destruction of our national infrastructure, a collapsed economy, and a state incapable of providing services to its people," she recalled of her 2006 inauguration in a final speech to...
(AFP (eng) 01/20/18)
Incoming Liberian president George Weah on Saturday sought to dispel accusations he is ill-prepared to take the reins of his fragile west African country, and said his priority would be maintaining peace. Former international footballer Weah played a friendly match against the Liberian Armed Forces side, fronting his All Stars team of former national players and friends, two days before his inauguration. Ahead of the game which his team won 2-1, aided by an early goal from the former AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker, Weah told journalists that criticism of his political career was misplaced. "You want to look at me as a former footballer but I am a human being, I strive to be excellent, and I can...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Liberia's ruling party said Sunday it had expelled outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for not backing her vice-president, Joseph Boakai, in a presidential election run-off lost to former footballer George Weah. Sirleaf, 79, will formally hand over power to Weah on January 22 after serving two six-year terms, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner having made history in 2005 when she became Africa's first elected female leader. "The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Unity Party has voted to expel" Sirleaf, the party said in a statement. "The vote was taken as a result of several violations of the party's constitution and other acts inimical to the existence and reputation of the party," it added, noting that the party's constitution...

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