| Africatime
Thursday 30 March 2017
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(Financial Times 03/02/17)
Trip by Fayez al-Sarraj is latest sign of expansion in region. The head of Libya’s UN-backed government is to hold talks with top Russian officials in Moscow on Thursday as the Kremlin manoeuvres itself into a pivotal position in the north African state’s conflict. The visit by Fayez al-Sarraj, prime minister and head of presidential council of the Tripoli-based unity government, underlines Russia’s growing ambitions in the Middle East after its military intervention in Syria tilted that conflict in favour of the Assad regime. The Kremlin said Moscow’s increasing involvement in Libya was intended to repair the damage it said had been done by western interference in the
(The Telegraph 03/02/17)
Isil is regrouping in southern Libya with the support of al-Qaeda and preparing for further attacks, according to the Libyan defence minister, who claimed the effort was being spearheaded by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, one of the world's most wanted men. The unholy alliance of the world’s two most dangerous terrorist groups in Libya is at odds with the public animosity between al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) leadership. Ayman Al Zawahiri, the head of al-Qaeda, recently launched a blistering public attack on Isil’s brutal methods and propaganda, branding them “liars”. But in Libya fighters from the two groups are "actively co-operating", according to Mahdi Barghathi, the defence minister in the UN-backed government in Tripoli. “Isil and al-Qaeda...
(AL Jazeera 03/02/17)
Militias collude with corrupt officials to extort and abuse migrants seeking to reach Europe. On February 21, the bodies of 74 migrants were found by the Libyan Red Crescent on the shore of Zawiya, a Libyan town known for being a capital of fuel smuggling and human trafficking. A Zawiya resident said he was on the beach as Red Crescent volunteers filled dozens of body bags. "The first thing I did on the shore was search for the rubber boat in which they left," said the Zawiya resident, who preferred not to reveal his name for security reasons. "It was not far from the corpses, destroyed, and the first thing I noticed was that the engine was not there. This...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/01/17)
The European Union should step up funding for the United Nation's migration agency to return migrants stranded in Libya to their home countries further south in Africa, the bloc's current president says. The proposal by Malta, a frontline state for migrants, was presented to the other 27 members of the bloc earlier in February, and seen by Reuters on Tuesday. Some 1.6 million refugees and migrants reached Europe via the Mediterranean in 2014-2016. Italy, as well as Malta, bears much of the immediate burden of dealing with African migrants who leave the lawless Libya on unfit boats. Malta's proposal comes ahead of a summit of the bloc's 28 national leaders next week who will look at putting into practice agreements...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The head of Libya's embattled unity government Fayez al-Sarraj will visit Moscow this week, a government source said on Monday, after a key rival sought to build ties with Russia. A source from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said Sarraj would begin a visit to Moscow on Thursday, without providing further details. The visit comes as Libya continues to be submerged in chaos, six years after the ouster and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed armed uprising. Sarraj's fragile GNA, formed under a UN-backed deal signed in late 2015, has struggled to impose its authority, particularly in eastern Libya where a rival administration holds sway. Military strongman Khalifa Haftar is aligned with the rival administration...
(The Guardian 02/28/17)
Militia-run detention centres in Libya are ‘no more than forced labour camps and makeshift prisons’, Unicef says. Women and children making the dangerous journey to Europe to flee poverty and conflicts in Africa are being beaten, raped and starved in “living hellholes” in Libya, the United Nations children’s agency, Unicef, has said. Children are being sexually abused, coerced into prostitution and work, and held to ransom for months in squalid, overcrowded detention centres, as they flee war and poverty in Africa to undertake one of the most dangerous journeys in the world to Europe, the agency warned in a new report. Last year, more than 181,000 refugees and migrants, including more than 25,800 unaccompanied children, arrived in Italy via the...
(The Guardian 02/28/17)
Head of Frontex calls for rescue operations in Med to be re-evaluated and says NGOs work ineffectively with security agencies. NGOs who rescue people in the sea off Libya are encouraging traffickers who profit from dangerous Mediterranean crossings, the head of the EU border agency Frontex has said. Speaking to Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, Fabrice Leggeri called for rescue operations to be re-evaluated and accused NGOs of ineffectively cooperating with security agencies against human traffickers. The comments provoked a bitter row with charities and leftwing groups, who said there was no evidence of a lack of cooperation and that the alternative to rescue operations was to leave people to their deaths. Leggeri said 40% of recent rescue operations at sea...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
The head of EU border agency Frontex on Monday criticised charities that rescue migrants off Libya, arguing that they encourage the traffickers who profit from the dangerous Mediterranean crossings. Such rescue operations "should be reevaluated", Fabrice Leggeri told Germany's Die Welt daily, also accusing the groups of not effectively cooperating with security agencies against human traffickers. Leggeri said 40 percent of recent rescue operations at sea off the North African country "were carried out by non-government organisations". He said that under maritime law everyone at sea has a duty to rescue vessels and people in distress. "But we must avoid supporting the business of criminal networks and traffickers in Libya through European vessels picking up migrants ever closer to the...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
Nightmarish conditions in Libya are helping to drive a surge in the numbers of migrants attempting to reach Italy in the depths of winter, humanitarian officials and asylum seekers say. European efforts to close the route are also thought to lie behind a 30 to 40 percent increase in the number of mainly African migrants who have landed at Italian ports in the first two months of this year, compared to the same period in 2015 and 2016. More than 2,700 people have been rescued in recent days, including a newborn delivered on a Norwegian police vessel. The latest arrivals will lift the total for January and February above 12,000. The number of deaths has also spiked: survivor testimonies point...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
An African road movie about four women wowed its audience Sunday as it kicked off the Panafrican cinema and television festival (Fespaco), a showcase for the continent's burgeoning film industry. "Borders" ("Frontieres") directed by Apolline Traore, a Fespaco laureate in 2013, sweeps across Africa as its protagonists journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin on their way to Nigeria. Along the way the women -- Ivorian, Senegalese, Burkinabe and Nigerian actresses -- are spared nothing as they are beset by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(AFP (eng) 02/25/17)
Armed groups traded fire with heavy weapons in the centre of Tripoli, injuring at least nine people and paralysing the Libyan capital, residents and the Red Crescent said on Friday. "Our team... rescued nine people injured in the indiscriminate firing," said the Libyan Red Crescent, which has set up a field hospital on a roundabout on the fringes of the urban combat zone. There was no official casualty toll from the clashes which raged most of Thursday night and resumed the following day after a truce collapsed. The fighting between two rival armed groups in eastern Tripoli erupted after one accused the other of kidnapping four of its members, the Tripoli-based news agency LANA reported. It said families trapped in...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/17)
The bodies of 13 migrants, including two teenagers, who died of suffocation in a shipping container bound for Europe have been found in Libya and 56 survivors rescued, aid officials said Thursday. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), citing the Libyan Red Crescent, said on its website that the African migrants had been trapped for "four days" in the metal container. Some of the 56 who survived were "suffering from various injuries and fractures and needed immediate medical attention". The migrants were found early Tuesday in the coastal town of Khoms, east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, Mohamad al-Misrati, a Red Crescent spokesman in Libya, told AFP. They were of different African nationalities. Among them...
(Voice of America 02/24/17)
The commander of U.S. forces in Africa has told VOA the only way to restore peace in Libya is to bring rival factions together, and that will require cooperative efforts by many parties, including Russia. General Thomas Waldhauser, who heads the U.S. Africa Command, discussed the continuing political chaos in Libya while in Germany for the recent Munich Security Conference. Libya is a checkerboard of separate, divided power centers: The internationally backed Government of National Accord controls only part of Tripoli, while rival power bases vie for control over the rest of the capital and other cities. Along the North African coast, the head of the Libyan National Army, General Khalifa Haftar, holds sway over much of eastern Libya through...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/17)
Russia's Rosneft oil giant has paved the way for investment in Libya's oil sector by signing a Cooperation Framework Agreement with the National Oil Corporation of Libya, it was announced Tuesday. The agreement was signed Monday on the sidelines of London's International Petroleum Week by NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla and Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin, according to the NOC. Under the deal, the two state companies will establish a joint working committee to explore possible cooperation in various fields, including exploration and production. Sanalla last month announced plans to encourage investment by foreign oil companies in an effort to boost Libya's
(AFP (eng) 02/22/17)
Italy's coast guard has rescued about 630 migrants off the coast of Libya who were trying to cross the Mediterranean. The two rescue operations came as the bodies of 74 migrants who drowned trying to reach Europe washed up on a beach west of the Libyan capital, the Red Crescent said Tuesday. The Italian coast guard said it mounted operations to rescue two drifting vessels, a large boat and a rubber raft. In the absence of an army or a regular police force in Libya, several militias act as coast guards but are often accused themselves of complicity or even involvement in the people-smuggling business. The number of attempted crossings has surged this year, with most departures taking place from...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/17)
The bodies of 74 migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe have washed up on a beach west of the Libyan capital, the Red Crescent said Tuesday. Residents of the village of Harcha, outside Zawiya, 45 kilometres (30 miles) from Tripoli, alerted the emergency services after finding a wrecked boat on the beach with bodies inside, the Red Crescent said. More were discovered elsewhere on the beach and still more were feared to be in the sea. A long row of black and white body bags was seen lined up near the water's edge. "We don't have an appropriate vehicle to transport the bodies or a cemetery for unidentified bodies to bury them in," the group said...

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