Monday 21 August 2017

Mali

(The Associated Press 08/21/17)
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said he suspended a proposed amendment to the constitution, reversing an announcement earlier this month that he was determined to get the proposal approved. The surprise decision, announced on state TV late Friday, comes after widespread protests against the proposal. Civil society organizations had called for more demonstrations if the project wasn’t withdrawn on Aug. 15, saying the changes would hand the president too much power. The plan included the creation of a Senate and would have enabled Mali’s president to appoint the head of the Constitutional Court
(Reuters (Eng) 08/19/17)
West and Central Africa is the most volatile region in the world for aid workers, accounting for more than half of attacks on humanitarians worldwide this year, aid agencies said on Friday. Worsening militant violence across the region has seen aid workers attacked on nearly 200 occasions in Central African Republic, more than 115 in Mali and about 75 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, U.N. agencies and humanitarian groups said. "The deteriorating trend in these countries ... is extremely worrying," said Noel Tsekouras, regional representative for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). "Our staff and volunteers too often risk their own lives when coming...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Judges order Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to pay damages for destroying 10 mausoleums and religious sites in 2012. A former Islamist militant who was jailed for destroying holy sites in Timbuktu is liable for damages of €2.7m (£2.5m), judges at the international criminal court (ICC) have ruled. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was imprisoned for nine years last year after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu in 2012. Jihadis used...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Islamist militant attacks in West Africa are increasing in intensity. High-profile strikes on resorts and restaurants that have shattered the area’s tourist industry get most of the attention. Yet barely a week goes by without a deadly incident in a remote rural zone where some of the world’s poorest people live. Instability in the region affects Europe because it benefits organized crime networks which are engaged in the smuggling and trafficking of migrants to the shores of Italy. 1. What’s...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/17/17)
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled on Thursday that a former Islamist rebel who was jailed for wrecking holy sites in Timbuktu was liable for damages of 2.7 million euros ($3.2 million). Amad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was sent to prison for nine years in 2016 after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu. The sites date from Mali's 14th-century golden age as a trading hub and center...
(RFI(EN) 08/17/17)
Jihadi attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso overshadowed Tuesday's UN Security Council meeting, which discussed efforts to establish peace in Africa. Delegates were mulling plans to roll out an all-African force in the Sahel to tackle the armed Islamist threat, but the plan has been beset by challenges. The Security Council condemned Monday's attacks on two UN camps in Mali, which resulted in the deaths of one UN peacekeeper, a Malian soldier and a member of the Malian gendarmerie, along...
(AFP (eng) 08/14/17)
Gunmen attacked a UN base in central Mali on Monday, wounding a UN peacekeeper and a Malian soldier, local officials and soldiers said. "The suspected jihadists fired on the UN mission at Douentza from a hill," a local elected official told AFP. Malian troops repulsed the attackers, who lost two of their own men in the raid, he added. "The terrorists targeted the peacekeepers of MINUSMA," said another local official, using the acronym for the UN force in Mali. A...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
Former rebels are holding child prisoners in their stronghold city of Kidal following clashes with a rival armed group in northern Mali, the United Nations said Thursday. Fighting between the ex-rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) and the pro-government Platform group has worsened in recent weeks in northern Mali, in repeated violation of a 2015 ceasefire. The CMA said in late July it was holding dozens of prisoners in Kidal, a city it controls, after dismantling a...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
A Swede who was held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali for more than five years before being freed in June said Thursday he was opposed to ransoms being paid in kidnapping cases. Johan Gustafsson, 42, told reporters he did not know why his captors had chosen to release him but he hoped his government was telling the truth when it said its policy was not to pay ransoms. "Personally, I think it's wrong. It puts other people in danger... It's...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/09/17)
A German military helicopter that crashed while flying a peacekeeping mission in Mali began to break up while in flight, losing its rotor, according to a defense ministry report seen by Reuters. Two crew members were killed when one of Germany's four Tiger helicopters crashed in the West African nation's desert north last month. At the time, German officials said there were no signs it was downed by an attack. An in-air break-up could point to maintenance or manufacturing issues...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be...
(AFP (eng) 08/06/17)
The United Nations said Saturday it was investigating mass graves found in a northern Mali town along with a slew of human rights abuses committed by armed groups vying for control of the area. The pro-government Platform group has clashed repeatedly with the former rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) since June, violating a 2015 peace deal they signed aimed at ending separatist unrest and jihadist inroads into Mali's north. The UN mission in the country said...
(AFP (eng) 08/03/17)
A South African held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 has been freed, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday. "Our fellow South African Stephen McGown was released on 29 July 2017," Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters. McGown, 42, was abducted in Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011 along with Swede Johan Gustafsson and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke by a group of armed men while on the terrace of their hotel. Gustafsson was released in June while Rijke was freed in April 2015 by French special forces.
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year,...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
French and German support for a regional Sahel force to battle jihadists will persuade other European nations of the benefits of backing the counter-terror measure, Germany's defence minister said Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen spoke to journalists in Bamako after talks with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, arriving six days after a helicopter crash in the country's north killed two German crew who were monitoring clashes for the United Nations mission to Mali. Von der Leyen said the discussion had centred on the autumn deployment of the force from the so-called "G5 Sahel" countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger)
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
Germany on Monday lent support to France's push to make operational a new multinational military force that will tackle Islamist militants in Africa's Sahel region and urged other powers to contribute funds at an Autumn donor conference. On a joint visit to Niger's capital, Niamey, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, said the Sahel force was West Africa's best hope for defeating the militants. Some observers see the G5 Sahel force — comprised of troops from Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad

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(Reuters (Eng) 08/19/17)
West and Central Africa is the most volatile region in the world for aid workers, accounting for more than half of attacks on humanitarians worldwide this year, aid agencies said on Friday. Worsening militant violence across the region has seen aid workers attacked on nearly 200 occasions in Central African Republic, more than 115 in Mali and about 75 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, U.N. agencies and humanitarian groups said. "The deteriorating trend in these countries ... is extremely worrying," said Noel Tsekouras, regional representative for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). "Our staff and volunteers too often risk their own lives when coming...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Judges order Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to pay damages for destroying 10 mausoleums and religious sites in 2012. A former Islamist militant who was jailed for destroying holy sites in Timbuktu is liable for damages of €2.7m (£2.5m), judges at the international criminal court (ICC) have ruled. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was imprisoned for nine years last year after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu in 2012. Jihadis used pickaxes and bulldozers to attack the mausoleums and the centuries-old door of the Sidi Yahya mosque. The sites were built during Mali’s golden age in the 14th century as a trading hub and centre of Sufism, a branch of Islam...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Islamist militant attacks in West Africa are increasing in intensity. High-profile strikes on resorts and restaurants that have shattered the area’s tourist industry get most of the attention. Yet barely a week goes by without a deadly incident in a remote rural zone where some of the world’s poorest people live. Instability in the region affects Europe because it benefits organized crime networks which are engaged in the smuggling and trafficking of migrants to the shores of Italy. 1. What’s...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/17/17)
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled on Thursday that a former Islamist rebel who was jailed for wrecking holy sites in Timbuktu was liable for damages of 2.7 million euros ($3.2 million). Amad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was sent to prison for nine years in 2016 after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu. The sites date from Mali's 14th-century golden age as a trading hub and center...
(RFI(EN) 08/17/17)
Jihadi attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso overshadowed Tuesday's UN Security Council meeting, which discussed efforts to establish peace in Africa. Delegates were mulling plans to roll out an all-African force in the Sahel to tackle the armed Islamist threat, but the plan has been beset by challenges. The Security Council condemned Monday's attacks on two UN camps in Mali, which resulted in the deaths of one UN peacekeeper, a Malian soldier and a member of the Malian gendarmerie, along...
(AFP (eng) 08/14/17)
Gunmen attacked a UN base in central Mali on Monday, wounding a UN peacekeeper and a Malian soldier, local officials and soldiers said. "The suspected jihadists fired on the UN mission at Douentza from a hill," a local elected official told AFP. Malian troops repulsed the attackers, who lost two of their own men in the raid, he added. "The terrorists targeted the peacekeepers of MINUSMA," said another local official, using the acronym for the UN force in Mali. A...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
Former rebels are holding child prisoners in their stronghold city of Kidal following clashes with a rival armed group in northern Mali, the United Nations said Thursday. Fighting between the ex-rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) and the pro-government Platform group has worsened in recent weeks in northern Mali, in repeated violation of a 2015 ceasefire. The CMA said in late July it was holding dozens of prisoners in Kidal, a city it controls, after dismantling a...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
A Swede who was held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali for more than five years before being freed in June said Thursday he was opposed to ransoms being paid in kidnapping cases. Johan Gustafsson, 42, told reporters he did not know why his captors had chosen to release him but he hoped his government was telling the truth when it said its policy was not to pay ransoms. "Personally, I think it's wrong. It puts other people in danger... It's...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/09/17)
A German military helicopter that crashed while flying a peacekeeping mission in Mali began to break up while in flight, losing its rotor, according to a defense ministry report seen by Reuters. Two crew members were killed when one of Germany's four Tiger helicopters crashed in the West African nation's desert north last month. At the time, German officials said there were no signs it was downed by an attack. An in-air break-up could point to maintenance or manufacturing issues...
(AFP (eng) 08/06/17)
The United Nations said Saturday it was investigating mass graves found in a northern Mali town along with a slew of human rights abuses committed by armed groups vying for control of the area. The pro-government Platform group has clashed repeatedly with the former rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) since June, violating a 2015 peace deal they signed aimed at ending separatist unrest and jihadist inroads into Mali's north. The UN mission in the country said...
(AFP (eng) 08/03/17)
A South African held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 has been freed, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday. "Our fellow South African Stephen McGown was released on 29 July 2017," Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters. McGown, 42, was abducted in Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011 along with Swede Johan Gustafsson and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke by a group of armed men while on the terrace of their hotel. Gustafsson was released in June while Rijke was freed in April 2015 by French special forces.
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
French and German support for a regional Sahel force to battle jihadists will persuade other European nations of the benefits of backing the counter-terror measure, Germany's defence minister said Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen spoke to journalists in Bamako after talks with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, arriving six days after a helicopter crash in the country's north killed two German crew who were monitoring clashes for the United Nations mission to Mali. Von der Leyen said the discussion had centred on the autumn deployment of the force from the so-called "G5 Sahel" countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger)
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Germany's defense ministry on Thursday defended the performance of its Tiger helicopters as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali amid indications that Wednesday's deadly crash of one of the aircraft was due to technical factors. Two crew members were killed when one of Germany's four Tiger helicopters crashed in the West African nation's desert north on Wednesday, but there were no signs that it was downed by an attack, German officials said. It was the first deadly accident...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/27/17)
A German military helicopter assigned to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali crashed in the West African nation's desert north on Wednesday, killing the two crew members, the German military said. The Tiger helicopter crashed around midday about 70 km (45 miles) north of Gao, burning out completely with no survivors. The crash was reported by a second helicopter following in the mission. "We have now certainty that two soldiers have given their lives in the service of our country," German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.
(AFP (eng) 07/26/17)
A UN helicopter crashed in northern Mali on Wednesday in an apparent accident while serving with the 12,000-strong peacekeeping force in the country, a UN source told AFP. "One of our helicopters crashed in northern Mali today... This was an accident. We will release the toll later," the source in the northern city of Gao said. The UN source added that "nothing at this stage" would suggest the aircraft "was hit or shot at". Northern Mali is the site of...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
A Malian activist whose fierce criticism of politicians and religious figures on YouTube has made him a cult figure, survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday, his family told AFP. "Marshall Madou", real name Madou Kante, called for calm following the attempt on his life, as his supporters rallied around. Kante was driving in the capital Bamako at around 1:00 am on Tuesday when a gunman fired several times at him, Kante and his family told AFP. "They just took the...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
Senior politicians in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday called for measures to cut the birth rate in the region in order to bring the population explosion there under control. Deputies of ECOWAS, Mauritania and Chad should be aiming to cut back the birth rate to three children per woman, said Salifou Diallo, Burkina Faso's speaker of parliament. The idea, he said, was to cut the birth rate in half by 2030, in a region that...
(AfricaNews 07/21/17)
A Malian fisherman who found the body of the late Bishop of Bafia, Jean-Marie Bénoit Bala, has been rewarded with FCFA 2 million ($3,545) by the Cameroonian government. 27-year-old Ali Aoudi Dienta who found the body two days after the bishop went missing in the Sanaga river was handed cash by the Governor of the Centre Region Naseri Paul Bea on Thursday, local media CamerounWeb reported. Bishop Jean-Marie Bénoit Bala was reported missing on May 31 after leaving his residence...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
The bodies of eight Malian soldiers killed in an ambush by suspected Islamist fighters last week have been discovered in the West African nation's desert north, a local lawmaker and army officer said on Monday. The soldiers went missing a week ago after their convoy was attacked on the road between the towns of Gao and Menaka. "They were killed in the fighting last week ... There are eight of them. I have two nephews who were killed," said Badian...

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(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal of establishing a true partnership for the future", Lighthizer said. "By lowering barriers and tackling other constraints that impede trade and investment, we are poised to see U.S.-Africa trade flourish", he said, underscoring that "much...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15...
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread...
(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...
(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...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa,...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(AfricaNews 04/28/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth is showing signs of recovery this year after a tumultuous period in 2016. The World Bank estimates that GDP growth will rise to 2.6 percent in 2017 compared to 1.3 percent last year and rise further to 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent a year later. “Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow at a moderate rate of 2.6 percent in 2017, and somewhat improve towards three percent in 2018. This timid recovery is certainly better than...
(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...

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(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be at his best in the 800m, where a clutch of athletes are suddenly dreaming of glory in the absence of Kenya's injured champion David Rudisha. Kenya is expected to continue its dominance of the men's...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
Africa will host a Commonwealth Games one day despite the blow of Durban being stripped of hosting the 2022 edition, David Grevemberg, the chief executive of The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), told AFP. Durban lost the right to host the Games on Monday -- just 18 months after being awarded them -- when it failed to meet criteria laid down by the CGF, primarily over costs. "I wouldn't want to make a judgement call," Grevemberg told AFP on the sidelines...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
Crystal Palace winger Bakary Sako, who has endured an injury-hit last few months in the English Premier League, was named in the Mali squad on Wednesday for the Africa Cup of Nations. The 28-year-old, born in France, is the biggest name in the final 23-man squad unveiled by Mali coach Alain Giresse for the tournament in Gabon, which begins on January 14. Mali are preparing for the tournament in Casablanca, Morocco, where they will take on Burkina Faso in a friendly on Saturday before a final warm-up game against a local club side on January 10. They will travel to Gabon on January 14 and will come up against Ghana
(AfricaNews 12/05/16)
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses failed to use home advantage and revenge in the final of the Women African Cup of Nations (AWCON 2016) losing by a goal to Nigeria’s Super Falcons. The Super Falcons thus successfully defended the title they won in 2014 by defeating Cameroon in Namibia. The hosts entered the final aiming to win their first title and avenge two previous defeats by Nigeria. But a late goal by Oparanozie Desire dashed hopes and sent disappointment through the teeming...
(AFP (eng) 11/10/16)
All CAF competitions will offer increased prize money from 2017, the Cairo-based African football body said Wednesday. The announcement came months after French oil-gas company Total signed an eight-year sponsorship deal with CAF reportedly worth more than one billion dollars (915 million euros). Winners of the biennial Africa Cup of Nations will receive $4 million, up from the $1.5 million pocketed by 2015 champions the Ivory Coast. CAF Champions League title-holders are going to collect $2.5 million -- $1 million...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/16)
African champions Mamelodi Sundowns won for the first time in the South African Premiership this season Wednesday and climbed off the bottom of the table. The Pretoria club triumphed 2-0 at Polokwane City thanks to goals from Percy Tau and Zimbabwean Khama Billiat, two stars of the 2016 CAF Champions League triumph. Sundowns became African champions for the first time 11 days ago by defeating Zamalek of Egypt 3-1 on aggregate in the final. But a domestic fixture backlog meant...
(AfricaNews 09/19/16)
The agreement on African games signed in Cairo over the weekend between the African Union and the Association of National Olympic committees of Africa will be implemented after validation by the Africa Union commission. The two parties are expected to mobilise renowned African athletes and the best teams to help raise their level of performance. Sources say the African Union will continue to manage the African games while the Union of African Sports Confederations will take care of its technical...
(AFP (eng) 07/22/16)
French petroleum giant Total signed an eight-year deal to become the new sponsor of African football and its showpiece event, the Africa Cup of Nations, on Thursday. The sponsorship of the tournament will start at its next edition in Gabon from Jan 14 to Feb 5, 2017. "This partnership is a major milestone in our ongoing search for additional resources to accelerate African football’s development, bring its governance up to date, upgrade its sports infrastructure and advance its performance globally,"...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/16)
Demarte Pena was too young to fight in Angola's civil war, where his family played a major role, but he has fought his way to a mixed martial arts championship. Instead of an AK47, "The Wolf" as he is known in the ring, uses fists, feet and pure muscle to subdue his opponents in what is seen as one of the fastest growing sports in Africa. Pena is bantamweight champion among the new crop of mixed martial arts fighters in...
(APA 06/13/16)
The Real de Bamako has consolidated the leading position of women's national football league by securing a 1-0 win over its immediate follower USFAS (Union Sportive Armed and Security Forces) during the six round of the championship disputed on the week-end. With its sixth victory in a row, the capital’s team remains unbeaten since the start of the championship. Thus Real of Bamako keeps its leading position with three points ahead of the USFAS, one of its fieriest title challengers.
(AFP (eng) 06/01/16)
A group of young men with muscles to rival Popeye are hoping to make explosive arm wrestling bouts a national pastime in Mali after showcasing their skills in the first international tournament the country has hosted. Sibiri "Superman" Traore and Mamadou "the German" Sylla fought it out with arms seemingly cut from rock at last week's championship. A hip-high table painted in the colours of the Malian flag stood between them, with a referee on either side, one of whom...
(Voice of America 03/15/16)
George Wyndham of Sierra Leone is a force to be reckoned with. He’s been playing table tennis for 14 years, despite being paralyzed by polio as a child. Now, at age 26, he is among the best physically challenged players in Africa. "Whenever I play table tennis, it always makes me happy and forget about my disability," Wyndham said. Having polio has pushed him even harder to make something of his life, he says, especially in a country where there...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/16)
African champions Ivory Coast will attempt to keep their momentum going when they face arch-rivals Mali in the African Nations Championship semi-final in Rwanda on Thursday. The Elephants, who have twice failed to go beyond the group stage in the biennial championship, confirmed their place with a stunning 3-0 extra-time win over another West African side Cameroon in the quarter-finals. The victory, which came hot on the heels of their 4-1 demolition of Gabon in the group phase, proved the...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/16/16)
FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan has asked soccer's world governing body to investigate Friday's agreement signed between the African and Asian confederations in case it breaches the electoral code. Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Confederation of African Football (CAF) counterpart Issa Hayatou signed the 'co-operation agreement' in Rwanda, just over a month before the FIFA presidential election in Zurich on Feb. 26. Sheikh Salman, South African politician and...
(Dw-World 12/22/15)
Joseph Blatter has pledged to fight the eight-year ban handed down to him by FIFA's Ethics Committee with all means at his disposal. He also reiterated earlier assertions that he had done nothing wrong. The FIFA president told reporters at a press conference in Zurich on Monday that he would go to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport and to a Swiss human rights court in a bid to get his ban on all football-related activities overturned. "I will...
(Xinhuanet 11/25/15)
(Xinhua) -- Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) believes its officials are targeted negatively in the fight against doping that is bedeviling track and field discipline at the moment. CAA believes embattled International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) former president Lamine Diack is being condemned without trial for abetting doping.
(APA 11/12/15)
Botswana senior football national coach Peter Butler has said he is confident of a win against Mali in a 2018 FIFA World Cup second round qualifier at the weekend at the new Francistown Sports Complex in northern Botswana, Daily News reported here Thursday. The Zebras, as the Botswana side is affectionately known, take on the Eagles of Mali on Saturday in a match to secure a place in the group stages of the World Cup qualifiers. The World Cup finals...

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(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the word for "ancestor" in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed. The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) in...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(Xinhuanet 04/18/17)
Africa's diaspora is playing a big role in the economic transformation of the continent, the UN said on Tuesday. UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director Dr Julitta Onabanjo told Xinhua in Nairobi that remittances are important source of income for many African families. "The diaspora therefore complements government efforts to lift many families out of poverty," Onabanjo said on the sidelines of the First Africa-China Conference on Population and Development. Onabanjo said that Africans in the diaspora also bring back...
(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...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/16)
Demand for homegrown contemporary music is sweeping Africa and driving a creative boom in an industry otherwise battered by falling CD sales and rampant piracy. A recent study of the entertainment sector by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) accountants showed rapid earnings growth in many African countries, fuelled largely by live performances by local artists. "Consumers are increasingly wanting local content," Vicki Myburgh, a PwC director who conducted the study released last month, told AFP. "The Nigerian music market... will (soon) grow at...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/16)
Raised on the backstabbing intrigue of 1980s American soaps "Dallas" and "Dynasty", and later, the heady drama of South American telenovelas, Africans are enjoying a surge in local TV content they can finally identify with. It took a while, but in the past decade local programming has soared in sub-Saharan Africa's key economies, a rise driven by both foreign satellite networks and television stations on the continent. This growth has delivered up local shows such as Kenya's comedic "Real Househelps...
(AFP (eng) 09/23/16)
A century after the project was conceived in the throes of racial segregation, and a few months before the first black US president leaves office, the African American Museum in Washington opens Saturday. Here are key facts about the first national museum devoted entirely to showcasing African Americans' life, history and culture. - 1915: A project 101 years old The effort to open, in the US capital, a museum dedicated to the history of the black community "began more than...
(The East African 09/10/16)
The Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) is seeking to raise $200 million from partners over the next two years to fund the continent's audiovisual and cinema sector. The funds will be used to establish centres of excellence in the five regions - East Africa, North Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa -- and the locations will be decided by the African Council of Ministers of Culture. The money will be used to improve the quality and quantity...
(AFP (eng) 08/19/16)
The trial of a Malian jihadist charged with war crimes for orchestrating the 2012 destruction of nine Timbuktu mausoleums and a section of a famous mosque opens Monday at the International Criminal Court (ICC). How did the monuments come to be considered important and why were they destroyed? Who built the mausoleums? The mausoleums of Muslim saints located in Timbuktu's cemeteries and mosques date back to the ancient caravan city's golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries as an...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/14/16)
A World Heritage site in central Mali that features elaborate pre-Islamic mud houses is in danger of deteriorating because it cannot be protected adequately in the face of insecurity, UNESCO said Wednesday. The Old Towns of Djenné includes four archeological sites with nearly 2,000 houses whose decorative facades have remained intact since the 3rd century B.C. The buildings are among the most famous in Mali, a country that also boasts the ancient town of Timbuktu. The World Heritage Committee said insecurity was preventing measures to safeguard the site against
(AFP (eng) 07/13/16)
The UN's cultural agency UNESCO on Wednesday added a legendary grouping of earthen buildings in Mali to its heritage-in-danger list, saying lack of security was preventing measures to preserve the site. The old towns of Djenne, 570 kilometres (350 miles) northeast of the Malian capital Bamako, have been inhabited since 250 BC and are characterised by the extraordinary use of earth in their architecture. The houses, roughly 2,000 of which have survived, are built on a small hill to protect...
(Voice of America 07/04/16)
To the beat of African drums, a few dozen people gathered at Dallas City Hall Friday to officially kick off the three-day African Film Festival. The event showcases films made by Africans, as well as a few made by non-Africans about issues important to different regions of the continent. City officials hailed the new festival as an expression of the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in Texas’ second-largest city. Regina Hill Onyeibe, the Africa Liaison for the City of Dallas...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/28/16)
Africa's largest provider of pay-television services Naspers (NPNJn.J) has kept prices on the continent unchanged to halt a decline in subscriber numbers, its chief executive said on Monday. Naspers, the biggest listed firm on the continent, which sells access to popular American series and blockbuster movies in 50 countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean via its Multichoice unit, reported an 18 percent rise in full-year profit on Friday, but flagged pay-TV as a drag on its performance. Weaker currencies...
(AFP (eng) 05/14/16)
On a choice spot overlooking Washington's most stately monuments, a new museum swathed in bronze will showcase the tragedy and triumph of black America. The National Museum of African American History and Culture, 100 years in the making and now almost ready, will fill a gaping void: until now the city had no grand-scale museum dedicated solely to this chapter of US history. Slave cabins, a blacks-only train car from the segregation era and exhibits on the Reverend Martin Luther...
(BBC News Africa 04/24/16)
The influential Congolese music star Papa Wemba has died after collapsing on stage in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, media reports say. Video from the concert shows the artist, who was 66, slumped on the floor as dancers continue to perform, unaware of what is happening. French broadcaster France 24 confirmed the death, quoting his manager. On the African music scene since 1969, Papa Wemba won a world following with his soukous rock music. The Congolese band leader, whose real name was Jules Shungu Webadio, also inspired a cult movement known as the Sapeurs whose members, young men, spend huge amounts of money on designer clothes.
(AFP (eng) 04/06/16)
"This taxi is no ordinary taxi," shouts the driver, allowing his customer a moment to settle in the back seat before propelling his cab down the streets of Bamako, talking a mile a minute. The bombastic declarations of "F-One", a cabbie with tales even taller than the high standard of his profession, have hooked fans of Mali's newest hit TV show, "Taxi Tigui" (Taxi Driver), whose deft mix of satire and social commentary has a distinctly local twist. Since its...
(AFP (eng) 11/09/15)
To the casual observer, the black-and-white stills of Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Diane Keaton look like run-of-the-mill publicity shots for Francis Ford Coppola's classic mafia caper The Godfather. A closer inspection of the photo series reveals one important addition, however: black characters. Nigerian artist Uche Okpa-Iroha has pasted himself into scenes from the 1972 movie for "The Plantation Boy", a photo exhibition causing a stir in Mali -- and bemoaning the paucity of African American actors in Hollywood. "The...
(The Associated Press 07/13/15)
Babajide Olatunji sold his first portrait for about $7. Seven years later, his charcoal renderings of faces with tribal markings sell for thousands of dollars. This 24-year-old's success is part of a new global recognition of the value of contemporary African art. "It's the new 'Scramble for Africa,' no longer for land, gold or diamonds, but for art," said Giles Peppiatt, who holds the only auctions of modern African art outside the continent, at Bonham's in London. "It's a rather...
(Vanguard 06/25/15)
Grammy Award winning R&B icon, NE-YO, has been announced to perform at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2015. Performing songs from his sixth studio album 'Non Fiction' the singer-songwriter expressed his excitement about his first ever performance in the South African city, "I can't wait for you to see what I have in store Durban! I hope you're ready, because I am!" Since smashing onto the top spot of the Billboard Hot 200 Chart back in 2006 with his sophomore...

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(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Judges order Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to pay damages for destroying 10 mausoleums and religious sites in 2012. A former Islamist militant who was jailed for destroying holy sites in Timbuktu is liable for damages of €2.7m (£2.5m), judges at the international criminal court (ICC) have ruled. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was imprisoned for nine years last year after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu in 2012. Jihadis used pickaxes and bulldozers to attack the mausoleums and the centuries-old door of the Sidi Yahya mosque. The sites were built during Mali’s golden age in the 14th century as a trading hub and centre of...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Islamist militant attacks in West Africa are increasing in intensity. High-profile strikes on resorts and restaurants that have shattered the area’s tourist industry get most of the attention. Yet barely a week goes by without a deadly incident in a remote rural zone where some of the world’s poorest people live. Instability in the region affects Europe because it benefits organized crime networks which are engaged in the smuggling and trafficking of migrants to the shores of Italy. 1. What’s the source of the trouble? Mainly continuing instability in Mali and, further afield, in Libya, where turmoil has opened up smuggling routes and access to weapons. A French military intervention in 2013 dealt a heavy blow to jihadist groups that...
(RFI(EN) 08/17/17)
Jihadi attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso overshadowed Tuesday's UN Security Council meeting, which discussed efforts to establish peace in Africa. Delegates were mulling plans to roll out an all-African force in the Sahel to tackle the armed Islamist threat, but the plan has been beset by challenges. The Security Council condemned Monday's attacks on two UN camps in Mali, which resulted in the deaths of one UN peacekeeper, a Malian soldier and a member of the Malian gendarmerie, along...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in...
(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...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa,...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
Al Qaeda's branch in Mali has released a video of six foreign hostages, including French naitonal Sophie Pétronin, just before a visit by France's President Emmanuel Macron to finalise the establishment of a Sahel anti-jihadi force with the leaders of five Afican countries. The undated video by Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, also known as the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, was released on Telegram on Saturday, US-based monitoring group SITE said. It featured Pétronin, the head of an NGO...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable...
(RFI 06/30/17)
French troops will work with the new force from five Sahel countries fighting armed Islamists in west and central Africa, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Thursday. "This force is first going to secure the borders, particularly in the areas where terrorist groups have developed," the newly appointed minister said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. "Accompanying them is the priority for the Barkhane operation." France has deployed soldiers in the region since January 2013, when it spearheaded...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution to back a West African force to combat terrorism and arms, drug and human trafficking in the Sahel region after France weakened the language in a bid to appease the United States. The vast, arid region has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups - some linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State - that European nations, particularly France, fear...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including...
(BBC News Africa 06/19/17)
Two EU staff were killed when gunmen stormed a tourist resort in Mali on Sunday, the bloc's foreign affairs chief has said. One victim was a Portuguese soldier while the other was a Malian woman, Federica Mogherini added. Mali's security minister said on Sunday that a Franco-Gabonese person was also killed. It is not clear how many people in total have been killed and no group has said it carried out the attack. Africa Live: Updates on this and other...
(RFI 06/12/17)
France on Friday tried to convince the US to back a call for the UN to endorse an African military force to fight jihadists, drug smugglers and people traffickers in the Sahel region after American diplomats claimed the mandate was too vague. Following an African Union request for UN backing, France presented a draft resolution on Tuesday to back a decision by Africa's G5 - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - to set up a 5,000-strong counter-terrorism force in the Sahel region. It would give a UN mandate to the G5 troops ...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
Festus Ogbonnah used to supplement his teacher’s salary by working as a part-time farmer in southeastern Nigeria until an armed band of herders moved their cattle through his field two years ago and destroyed his crops. He decided to quit working the land. “I had borrowed money to grow corn and cassava, and I lost everything,” Ogbonnah, 40, said by phone from the town of Opanda. “The herdsmen were armed with assault rifles and we couldn’t do anything about it.”...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has...

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