Wednesday 23 August 2017
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
The head of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Tuesday he would lead a Libyan delegation to a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers in St Petersburg, Russia on July 22 to share his country's production plans. NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla will share with a technical committee "the factors enabling and constraining Libya's production recovery", he said in a statement. "I will consult with significant Libyan decision-makers before I leave and hope to present a unified Libyan position in St Petersburg that will show we can act together in the national interest," Sanalla said. The technical committee involving six OPEC and non-OPEC members is due to convene before ministers from the countries
(The Associated Press 07/18/17)
The European Union is allowing members to restrict sales of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya in an effort to stop dangerous migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean. EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to allow member countries to ban such export or supply "where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will be used by people smugglers and human traffickers." A statement said the measure will also apply to boats and motors transiting through the EU, but not to fishermen or others with legitimate need for them. The foreign ministers also agreed to extend a border aid mission in Libya through the end of 2018 that helps Libyan security forces, notably in the lawless south. Migrant crossings from Libya...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(AFP (eng) 07/17/17)
The head of Libya's UN-backed unity government has announced a new political roadmap for his violence-wracked country, with presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in March 2018. Political rivalry and fighting between militias have hampered Libya's efforts to recover from the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. The Government of National Accord has been struggling to assert its authority since it began work in Tripoli in March 2016, with a rival administration based in the remote east refusing to recognise it. "Presidential and parliamentary elections will be organised in March 2018...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/17/17)
The head of Libya's U.N.-backed government has called for parliamentary and presidential elections in March 2018, although his proposals will likely have to compete with other Libyan and international efforts to bring an end to the country's conflict. Fayez Seraj, prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), also called for a national ceasefire and the gradual merging of rival parliamentary bodies based in Tripoli and eastern Libya in a speech released late on Saturday. Seraj said he was putting forward the roadmap because of his "determination to escape the current crisis and unify Libyans". "I am confident that the national spirit will overcome the narrow personal interests, and invite everyone to offer compromise even if it's painful to...
(The Associated Press 07/17/17)
Brussels (AP) -- The European Union is allowing members to restrict sales of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya in an effort to stop dangerous migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean. EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to allow member countries to ban such export or supply "where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will be used by people smugglers and human traffickers." A statement said the measure will also apply to boats and motors transiting through the EU, but not to fishermen or others with legitimate need for them. The foreign ministers also agreed to extend a border aid mission in Libya through the end of 2018 that helps Libyan security forces, notably in the lawless south. Migrant...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/17/17)
Belgium should withdraw its frigate from an EU mission to break up human trafficking networks near Libya because the presence of such vessels encouraged migrants to make the perilous journey across the central Mediterranean, the migration minister said. Belgium has sent a frigate to take part in an EU operation to map and disrupt networks of people smugglers off the Libyan coast who send migrants toward Italy, often on ramshackle dinghies which are barely seaworthy. While saving the migrants is not the core task of the military vessels that are part of the mission, they often have to do so. "I personally think this operation should not be repeated because it is pure lunacy. There is no logic to it,"...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
Libya is struggling to control its long borders with Sudan, Chad and Niger. Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Thursday proposed a pact with Libya to combat human trafficking during a visit to Tripoli to meet mayors of cities affected by the scourge. "We will make a pact to liberate our lands from traffickers," Minniti told 13 mayors from south Libya, urging them to mobilise against people smugglers. Libya is struggling to control its long borders with Sudan, Chad and Niger. Cities in south Libya have become the first stops for many illegal immigrants' journeys to Europe. EU interior ministers on July 6 pledged to back an urgent European
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
Under a blazing sun at a military centre in western Libya, dozens of young recruits learn to march in formation, as authorities train the country's first regular force since its 2011 revolution. Another makeshift camp has been set up nearby to train future soldiers. On the menu: jumping, climbing, crawling and scaling ropes. "This basic training marks our passage from civilian life to military life," said Issam Abu Ghnima, a member of the first class of a soon-to-be-formed Presidential Guard. The 28-year-old, who has two wives, says he lost two children during the NATO-backed uprising that ousted longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. He decided to join the Presidential Guard "to get rid of the militias that have destroyed this...
(The Associated Press 07/14/17)
A series of military victories over extremist Islamic groups along Libya's Mediterranean coastline has forced hundreds of militants, including Islamic State fighters, to seek refuge in the vast deserts of the North African nation, already home to militias from neighboring countries, cross-border criminal gangs and mercenaries. Libya's lawless, desolate center and south provides a sanctuary for militants to reorganize, recruit, train and potentially plot for a comeback. That is especially important at a time when the Islamic State group lost not only its urban holdings in Libya but is crumbling in Iraq and Syria. In Libya's remote stretches near the borders with Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Algeria, Niger and Tunisia, multiple armed groups already operate freely. Arms are easily available. Human...
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government said they on Wednesday repelled an attack by rival groups east of Tripoli after three days of clashes. Witnesses said the fighting pitted pro-Government of National Accord forces against fighters loyal to former prime minister Khalifa Ghweil, who was ousted when the GNA came to power and refuses to recognise it. In an operation launched at dawn Wednesday, the pro-GNA force "took control of the city of Garabulli, its key facilities, fuel stations and main entrances", it said on its Facebook page. Mayor Hussein Bu Ghnima confirmed the clashes had ended. He said pro-GNA forces remained in the coastal city, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of the capital, to secure it and clear roads...
(The Guardian 07/13/17)
Document submitted to high court as part of case over secret justice reveals depth of relationship between British and Libyan spymasters. Confidential phone calls made from a post office by MI6’s counter-terrorism chief, Sir Mark Allen, to London in 2003 were intercepted by Libyan spies, according documents submitted to the high court. On another occasion claims by a well-placed informant that the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, would be assassinated on a visit to the north African state were discussed by both countries’ intelligence agencies, the court has been told. Such extraordinarily, detailed knowledge of the relationship between British and Libyan spymasters – before Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown – make a nonsense of UK government claims that the rendition...
(AFP (eng) 07/12/17)
The first of more than 3,500 would-be migrants picked up off the coast of Libya in recent days arrived Wednesday in Italy, as Rome pressures other countries into taking their share. The early morning saw a coast guard vessel with 481 migrants aboard reach the southern Sicilian port of Pozzallo, while the Phoenix vessel of Maltese NGO Moas began disembarking 422 more further up the coast at Trapani. One migrant was a newborn Cameroonian named Christ, whose mother gave...
(Washington Post 07/12/17)
The video showed a small rubber dinghy crowded with terrified migrants. Next to it, a uniformed man in a Libyan coast guard boat was yelling and wielding a bullwhip. The whip slithered through the air and struck a shirtless migrant. The Libyan cracked the whip again, forcing some of the panicked migrants to fall into the sea and struggle to clutch the side of the boat. “We have to punish them to make them calm down,” said Ramzi Ali, a member of the coast guard unit, shrugging after playing the video on his cellphone. “We need to keep control. They can take our life.” The European Union has poured tens of millions of dollars into supporting Libya’s coast guard in...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/11/17)
The health ministry has confirmed that at least four people including two foreign workers had been killed and 21 wounded over two days of fighting. Clashes between rival Libyan factions east of Tripoli extended into a second day on Monday, keeping the coastal road shut and preventing residents from returning to their homes, a local town council spokesman said. The fighting began on Sunday when armed groups opposed to the United Nations (UN)-backed government in Tripoli tried to approach the capital and met resistance from rival groups that have aligned themselves with the government. It is the latest in a series of attacks by armed opponents of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which have continued despite the GNA's attempts...
(CNN 07/11/17)
A new diplomatic and military policy for Libya that could significantly expand US involvement in the country could be finalized by the Trump administration in the next few weeks, according to two US officials. The policy, if approved, would aim to further the existing US goal of supporting reconciliation between rival factions in eastern and western areas of Libya. The policy could also lead to the eventual re-opening of the US embassy and the establishing of a new intelligence sharing effort led by US special forces, according to the officials. If approved, this would be the latest country in which President Donald Trump is expanding the US counterterrorism effort. The new approach could lead to more regular visits to Libya...
(Bloomberg 07/11/17)
A proposal that Libya and Nigeria could have to accept limits on their crude production probably wouldn’t be enough to put OPEC’s faltering efforts to eliminate a global supply glut back on track. The two African nations -- exempt from the supply curbs agreed last year due to internal strife -- have added enough production in the last two months to offset Saudi Arabia’s cut. Should the pair accept a cap at their desired levels of output, OPEC and allies including Russia would still have to adjust their own quotas to compensate for the increase, said Nordine Ait-Laoussine, president of Geneva-based consultants Nalcosa and former energy minister of Algeria. “It’s not going to be easy just to say ‘Maybe we...

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