Tuesday 19 September 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/18/17)
Malawi is planning to take its dispute with Tanzania over Lake Malawi, with its potentially massive reserves of oil and gas, to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the foreign affairs minister said on Wednesday. Malawi, at the west of Africa's third largest lake, claims the entire northern half of the lake while Tanzania, to the east, says it owns half of the northern area. The southern half is shared between Malawi and Mozambique. Gas finds in the region have made the 50-year-old row over territory between Tanzania and Malawi more intense. "The government of Malawi has been committed to the mediation process and peaceful resolution of the dispute through
(Nyasa Times 05/18/17)
The National Aids Commission (NAC) has said HIV and Aids prevalence rate is decreasing in the country. NAC Project Coordinator, Amidu Tung'ande said the decrease among other factors is being necessitated by the fact that Malawians are now aware of how they can prevent the spread of the virus. National Aids Commission HIV and Aids prevalence statistics for 2010 indicate that 10 percent of people in Malawi were living with HIV and Aids while the 2016/17 statistics show that eight percent of people in Malawi are living with the virus that causes Aids. "Death, use of condoms during sex and many other factors are some of the causes for the decrease of the HIV and Aids prevalence rate in Malawi...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(Malawi 24 05/11/17)
Neighbouring nations of Tanzania and Malawi are still fighting over Lake Malawi with leaders from both nations taking conflicting stands on the matter. Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Monday spoke at the opening the 4th ordinary session of Pan-African Parliament in Johannesburg, South Africa where he called for the need for nations to avoid causing rows over borders. This was in reference to the longstanding row over part of the Lake Malawi which Tanzania claims it owns. Mutharika said: “From the 1890 Heligoland Treaty to the 1964 Resolution on Border Disputes among African States by the OAU
(Malawi 24 05/11/17)
Government has defended the number of roadblocks on Malawi roads saying the aim is to ensure security not to intimidate politicians. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal security Grace Chiumia said this in Parliament on Wednesday after Members of Parliament (MPs) questioned the erection of numerous roadblocks on the country’s roads. The MPs claimed that the roadblocks on the roads of Malawi are mounted to intimidate politicians. However, Chiumia said police are not there to obstruct politicians but to protect their lives and property. “It is the mandate of government to make sure that all Malawians are protected in the country and everyone who enters the country is checked in order to ensure that they have proper documents to enter...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
In crackdown, Malawi jails 35 illegal loggers seized in national park By Jeffrey Barbee BLANTYRE, Malawi (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Last November, rangers in Malawi’s Lengwe National Park arrested 35 illegal loggers within the park boundaries as they felled timber with a half-million dollars worth of equipment brought in via an illegal road from neighboring Mozambique. Satellite images suggest about a million protected mopane trees had been cut in just over a year in the area where the group was working – a loss valued at about $37 million in court depositions. Such illegal logging is a widespread problem across Africa – one that often remains unseen, unprosecuted or met with fines far below the value of the stolen timber...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
The World Bank has resumed direct budget support to impoverished Malawi with an $80-million injection three years after donors pulled out due to a "cashgate" corruption scandal, officials said Saturday. Donors, which provide about 40 percent of Malawi's budget, in 2013 pulled the plug on aid of around $150 million (110 million euros) after British auditors said at least $30 million was stolen from state coffers over a six-month period. The Bank, a major backer of the southeast African country's tough economic reforms, had in the past said support would only come if Malawi implemented financial management systems that would stop fraud and massive theft of state funds. The "cashgate" affair erupted with revelations about funds going missing involving dozens...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...
(Xinhuanet 05/04/17)
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 released in Durban Thursday called for urgent policy reforms if the continent intends to create more jobs for its growing young population. According to the report issued at the 27th WEF on Africa, fewer than one-quarter of the 450 million new jobs required in the next 20 years will be created if current policies remain unchanged. The report called for structural reforms in the economies to create more jobs for the youth entering the market. African countries have to prioritize improving infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology and quality of institutions. To improve competitiveness in the short term Africa needs to increase housing construction through investment, better urban planning and...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(Nyasa Times 05/02/17)
President Peter Mutharika has conceded corruption is record high in Malawi and is strangling the economy. Mutharika said this on Monday in Blantyre when he participated in the commemoration of Labour Day. "There is corruption in government, in CSOs, in NGOs, everywhere," said the President. This is the first time Mutharika has made a public admission on the issue after the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and other civil society organisations. Donors have also expressed concern over rampant corruption, citing the awarding of a major water project to Khato Civils as an example. Mutharika, however, dismissed reports that he was shielding seven corrupt cabinet ministers.
(Bloomberg 05/02/17)
Saudi Aramco is seeking to boost its fuel-trading volume by more than a third as the world’s biggest crude exporter expands its capacity to refine oil to grab a bigger share of growing markets in Asia and Africa. Aramco, as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is known, is building refineries in the kingdom and in Asia to help it increase sales and purchases of gasoline, diesel and other products to more than 2 million barrels a day, said Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco’s trading unit, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co. Owning refineries gives the unit, known as Aramco Trading Co., options for buying and selling fuel that some of its competitors don’t have. “The key is that you...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating PPH. The London School...
(Business Day Ghana 04/27/17)
There are currently 960 million mobile subscriptions across Africa – an 80 percent penetration rate among the continent’s population. Internet penetration is at 18 percent with 216 million internet users, according to the latest Jumia mobile trend report for Africa. The 2017 edition of the African Mobile Trends Paper is the third white paper presentation from Jumia delving into mobile trends across Africa and specifically Nigeria. The study takes a look at the how the market has democratised mobile internet use, the consumer behaviours driving increased smartphone adoption and the role of mobile brands, mobile operators and m-commerce in creating a synergy of an enhanced customer experience. This year’s Mobile Africa Study was carried out in 15 African countries which...

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