Sunday 10 December 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
In Madagascar, ceremonies in which families exhume the remains of dead relatives, rewrap them in fresh cloth and dance with the corpses are a sacred ritual. But an outbreak of plague sweeping the Indian Ocean island nation has prompted warnings that the macabre spectacle, known as the turning of the bones or body turning, presents a serious risk of contamination. On a recent baking hot Saturday in Ambohijafy, a village outside the capital Antananarivo, a "turning" procession snaked through the streets in a fevered carnival atmosphere bound for the cemetery. For the community's few hundred residents, the time for "famadihana" -- the local name for the ceremony -- had arrived. The unique custom, originating among communities that live in Madagascar's...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
The death toll from Madagascar's plague outbreak has reached 124, officials said Tuesday, as they cautiously welcomed a slowdown in infections. The highly contagious plague has caused alarm across the poor Indian Ocean island since August, spreading to the capital Antananarivo and other cities. A total of 1,133 people have been infected, the health ministry said. "There is a decrease in the number of people admitted to hospital (and) an increase in cured patients who leave hospital," Manitra Rakotoarivony, a ministry official, told national radio. Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980 -- typically between September and April. The current outbreak is unusual as it has affected urban areas increasing the risk of transmission, according to the...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
Authorities in Madagascar say the death toll from a plague outbreak has reached 124 people as the disease for the first time affects the Indian Ocean island’s two biggest cities. The nation’s disaster risk management office says 1,192 cases have been identified. More than two-thirds of cases are of the more virulent pneumonic form. The office says less than 30 percent of people who have had contact with plague patients can be traced, making it more difficult to control the spread of the disease. Plague is endemic in Madagascar. This year’s outbreak is unusual because it has reached the nation’s two largest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina. Read more at: https://apnews.com/4df37efa4ecd47e98485fae7b9146861/Madagascar 's-plague-deaths-up-to-124,-island-nation-says
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
The death toll from a plague outbreak in Madagascar has risen to 94, with the number of suspected cases jumping to more than 1,100, the World Health Organization said Friday. Officials on the poor Indian Ocean island nation had earlier this week reported 74 fatalities and 805 cases. WHO's director for health emergencies in Africa, Ibrahima Soce Fall, told reporters in Geneva that out of 1,153 suspected cases, 300 had been laboratory confirmed. Fall said WHO has sent 1.3 million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar, enough to treat 5,000 patients and protect another 100,000 people who may have been exposed to the infectious disease.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
GENEVA (Reuters) - A plague epidemic has killed 94 people on the island of Madagascar and could spread further, the World Health Organization said on Friday. WHO’s Africa emergencies director, Ibrahima Soce Fall, told reporters in Geneva the organization was racing to stop both the Madagascar plague and an outbreak of the Ebola-like Marburg virus in Uganda that it was confident it could contain. Plague is endemic in Madagascar, but the outbreak that has caused 1,153 suspected cases since August is especially worrying because it started earlier in the season than usual, it has hit towns rather than rural areas, and it is mainly causing pneumonic plague, the most deadly form of the disease. The outbreak already looks big when...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
YAOUNDE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The death toll from the plague which is spreading in Madagascar has risen close to 100, and the Red Cross has warned that growing stigma attached to the disease could undermine efforts to contain the outbreak. While cases of bubonic plague occur in Madagascar nearly every year, this year’s epidemic is “much more dangerous”, said Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), from Madagascar. This year, plague arrived earlier than expected, and has become much more contagious as it is now being transmitted from person to person through the air in its pneumonic form, as well as from animals to humans through infected flea bites...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
An outbreak of highly contagious plague has claimed 74 lives in Madagascar over the past two months with the capital particularly affected, according to a new official toll published Tuesday. A total of 805 cases have been reported on the poor Indian Ocean island nation since August, the health ministry said in a statement. Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980 -- typically between September and April -- and are often sparked by rats fleeing forest fires. The current outbreak is unusual as it has affected urban areas -- especially the capital Antananarivo -- increasing the risk of transmission, according to the World Health Organisation. It has sparked panic despite the government appealing for calm. Passengers at...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
GENEVA (Reuters) - A probable case of plague in the Seychelles, imported from Madagascar, is believed to have sparked the Indian Ocean country’s first outbreak of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Plague, which is mainly spread by flea-carrying rats, is endemic in Madagascar. A large outbreak has killed 57 people since late August, according to the U.N. agency, the first time the disease has appeared in non-endemic urban areas, including in the capital Antananarivo. Seychelles health authorities reported a probable case of pneumonic plague on Oct 10 in a 34-year-old man returning from a visit to Madagascar, the WHO said. “The patient continues to be hospitalized in isolation until completion of the antibiotic treatment. He is currently...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
ANTANANARIVO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Safidy is a 17-year-old who lives in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. She and her boyfriend didn’t use contraception, they didn’t know where to find it and didn’t have the money to pay for it. When she became pregnant she sought help to end the pregnancy. Abortion is illegal in Madagascar, but clandestine terminations are performed regularly in the Indian Ocean nation. “The doctor assured me that it will work and we trusted him,” said Safidy, who did not want to reveal her full name. “(But) I had pain, I bled.” She eventually needed to seek medical care for complications. Campaigners say if young people in Madagascar had access to contraceptives many unsafe abortions could be prevented...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(APA 10/13/17)
APA-Antananarivo (Madagascar) - Former Malagasy President Albert Zafy died Friday at the St Pierre-La Reunion Hospital at the age of 90, following a stroke last Wednesday. Born on May 1, 1927 in Ambilobe, Madagascar, “the man in the straw hat” had drawn attention to himself during the great march of Mavoloha in 1991, in which the “Rasalama” forces of which he was the leader, were fiercely opposed to the regime of Didier Ratsiraka. After the carnage at the palace of Iavoloha, the politicians had agreed to set up the State High Authority which will be headed by Professor Zafy Albert. This transition will last from 1991 to 1993. In 1993, he won the presidential election against Admiral Didier Ratsiraka and...
(The Associated Press 10/12/17)
Authorities in Seychelles say a man was diagnosed with pneumonic plague after returning from Madagascar, where a plague outbreak has killed dozens of people. The Seychelles News Agency reported Wednesday that the patient arrived on the main island of Mahe on an Air Seychelles flight on Oct. 6. The airline has since suspended its Madagascar flights. The agency says Seychelles health officials are monitoring 258 people, including passengers and crew from the flight carrying the man who fell ill, as well as his family members and patients at a health center where he went. Those who died in Madagascar include a basketball coach from Seychelles who was participating in a tournament in the capital, Antananarivo. The outbreak began after a...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
The little footbridge near Justin Rakatoarivony's home is submerged in a murky green liquid the texture of sewage. But he has no choice but to cross it every day on his way to work in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The filthy conditions in his area, the southern Ampefiloha district, make him worry that he will be the next victim of the plague outbreak sweeping the country. His fear is far from unfounded: the disease has already killed 21 people in Antananarivo since August, according to the health ministry. "The plague is a disease that comes from the filth, because the filth attracts rats...

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