Friday 22 September 2017
(Xinhuanet 09/06/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday condemned an attack on a convoy of UN peacekeepers in Mali. Tuesday's attack in Kidal region on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (Minusma) killed two peacekeepers and seriously injured two others. The secretary-general extended his condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery. He noted attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law, said Stephane Dujarric, Guterres' spokesman, in a statement.
(AFP (eng) 09/05/17)
France unveiled plans on Tuesday to start using armed drones, joining a growing number of countries worldwide to operate the deadly unmanned aircraft. "I decided to begin the process of arming our intelligence and surveillance drones," Defence Minister Florence Parly told a gathering of recruits and lawmakers in the southern port city of Toulon. France currently operates a handful of unarmed Reaper drones as part of its presence monitoring jihadist groups in Africa's Sahel region. Parly said the military planned to equip six unmanned aerial vehicles purchased from the United States with "precision guided"
(Agence Ecofin 09/05/17)
The World Bank has just set aside FCFA 160 million to finance in Mali, a project to establish a land commission in Ségou. Related works for the project began on August 22 in the administrative region which is located in the central part of the country. “This project aims to boost land tenure, facilitate public and private investments, insure equal access to land as well as mitigate and prevent conflicts,” according to Studio Tamani, a daily radio program broadcasted in Mali. Once operational, the land commission will be at the service of the people of Kayes, Koulikoro, Segou and Sikasso.
(Bloomberg 09/05/17)
A surge in agriculture has helped lift Africa’s biggest economies out of their slumps, but the recovery may be weak. Gross domestic product in Nigeria, the continent’s largest crude producer, advanced for the first time in six quarters in the three months ended June from a year earlier, growing 0.55 percent, the statistics agency said. In South Africa, GDP expanded 2.5 percent from the previous quarter, ending the second recession in almost a decade. Both economies had agriculture largely to thank: in South Africa, a bumper corn harvest following the worst drought in more than a century saw the sector surge 34 percent from the prior quarter, while in Nigeria, where farming vies with industries as the second-biggest contributor to...
(Bloomberg 09/04/17)
The worst may be over for Africa’s two largest economies as they likely emerged from a slump in the second quarter. Official data on Tuesday will probably show South Africa’s economy expanded in the three months through June, ending its second recession in less than a decade. Nigeria’s gross domestic product probably grew from a year earlier, and came out of its worst slump in a quarter of a century. South Africa and Nigeria together account for almost half of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and their recoveries may boost trade and production across the region. The reasons differ: while Nigeria, the continent’s biggest oil producer, is benefiting from a rebound in crude output, stronger retail sales may help drive growth in...
(AFP (eng) 09/02/17)
A bid for a UN Security Council vote early next week on a French-sponsored resolution that would set up a sanctions regime for Mali gained momentum Friday despite resistance from some countries, diplomats said. Russia and Ethiopia have voiced reservations over the proposal, raising the possibility of a delay of several weeks, but the diplomats said negotiations on holding a vote on Tuesday have accelerated. That would put it just before Security Council ambassadors leave for an annual meeting with the African Union in Addis Ababa. Mali's government and coalitions of armed groups signed a peace deal in June 2015 to end years of fighting in the north that culminated with a takeover of the territory by jihadists in 2012...
(Xinhuanet 08/31/17)
Cooperation between China and Africa has seen remarkable progress in renewable energy, showing the determination of developing countries to harness the huge potential of clean energy and combat climate change. China-Africa Renewable Energy Cooperation and Innovation Alliance, a coalition of financing institutions, smart grid providers and core manufacturers, on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation with Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). "Africa has the highest potential for renewable energy, but the least access to it," said Seyni Nafo, chairman of AREI endorsed by the African Union Assembly. The MOU will enable the two parties to cooperate in renewable energy generation in Africa, with Chinese smart grid providers and core renewable energy manufacturers providing technological and financial support...
(Bloomberg 08/30/17)
One Thousand & One Voices LLC, a private-equity fund started by the great-grandson of the founder of Coors Brewing Co., said it bought a producer of sushi-quality trout that is the largest such facility in Africa. SanLei’s operations are on the Katse Dam in Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South Africa, 1K1V, as the fund is known, said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The company didn’t disclose the value of the transaction. SanLei has secured a marketing and distribution agreement with CGC Japan Co., which has more than 4,000 stores and collective revenue of more than $40.5 billion, making it Japan’s largest joint-procurement supermarket chain, 1K1V said. The fund has been hunting for private-equity investments that tap Africa’s growing consumer...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/29/17)
Europe’s “big four” continental powers and three African states agreed a plan on Monday to tackle illegal human trafficking and support nations struggling to contain the flow of people across the desert and Mediterranean sea. The 28-nation European Union has long struggled to reach a coherent answer to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa, and the crisis is testing cooperation between member states. After hosting the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Chad, Niger and Libya, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was time for greater coordination. “We must all act together - from the source countries to Europe and passing by the transit countries, especially Libya - to be efficient,”...
(The Associated Press 08/28/17)
European Union funding is being looked at as a potential tool for ending the dependence of some local economies in Africa on migrant trafficking. Italy's foreign ministry hosted a meeting of interior ministers from Italy, Libya, Chad, Niger and Mali on Monday to discuss strategies for foiling the human traffickers who have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants toward Europe. The migrants are often put on unseaworthy vessels and are brought to Italy when they are rescued at sea. But unlike refugees, economic migrants aren't eligible for asylum.
(Reuters (Eng) 08/28/17)
Getting Europe’s migrant crisis under control will be in focus at a summit of Europe’s “big four” continental powers and three African nations in Paris on Monday, with French President Emmanuel Macron seeking concrete action. The 28-nation European Union has struggled to agree on a coherent answer to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa, and the crisis is testing cooperation between member states. Over the summer, Macron sought to take the initiative on managing the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya, mainly into Italy. He proposed hotspots in Africa to handle asylum requests. The viability of such centers was questioned by European and African allies and on Monday...
(Bloomberg 08/25/17)
Two armed groups in Mali agreed to a 15-day cease-fire and committed to peace talks after repeated clashes near the northern city of Kidal. The Coordination of Azawad Movements, a coalition of Tuareg separatists, and the pro-government militia known as the Platform, signed the truce on Wednesday in the capital, Bamako. Despite a peace deal signed in Algiers in 2015, fighting between the organizations has resulted in scores of deaths in the north. Kidal is a stronghold of ethnic Tuareg clans. The governor of Kidal returned to the city on Wednesday, exercising state authority over the region for the first time since 2014, government spokesman Abdel Karim Konate said by phone. The return of the government to Mali’s five northern...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/24/17)
Rival armed groups in northern Mali agreed to the return of a state governor to the desert city of Kidal for the first time in years as part of a ceasefire deal signed on Wednesday after weeks of fighting. The return of Governor Sidi Mohamed Ag Ichrach follows a truce among fighters drawn mostly from competing Tuareg clans involved in remote desert battles since July that have killed dozens. The clashes have undermined a Western-backed peace process in the country and complicated efforts to counter al Qaeda-linked militants. Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the United Nations mission in Mali, said the truce had been agreed between CMA, an alliance of separatist groups seeking autonomy for a region of northern Mali, and...
(Bloomberg 08/24/17)
Every African nation that’s sold dollar debt now has at least one junk rating, but it would be hard to tell by looking at the bond market. The average yield on sovereign Eurobonds in Africa has hovered near the lowest level in two years this month, according to a Standard Bank Group Ltd. index, even after Moody’s Investors Service cut Namibia to below investment grade on Aug. 11. The world’s biggest producer of marine diamonds had been the continent’s only dollar-bond issuer without a junk rating. A low interest rate environment in the developed world has encouraged investors to look past the problems plaguing African economies, including low commodity prices, dollar shortages in some of them and rising political tension...
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
China is dedicated to enhancing its cooperation with Africa in human resource development through knowledge and technology transfer, a Chinese diplomat said Tuesday. Liu Tao, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, made the remarks at the Chinese Government Training Program Fellowship Reception in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. He said China, since the year 2000, has sent over 2,000 agricultural experts and over 7,000 medical personnel to Africa, and has trained more than 80,000 Africans from more than 50 countries. China has pledged that it would, in three years, train 200,000 technicians and provide 40,000 training opportunities in China, and will offer 30,000 government scholarships, he said. Stating that 1,100 Ethiopian candidates are invited this year to attend short-term...
(Xinhuanet 08/22/17)
African officials on Monday called for urgent infrastructural development and regional integration to boost the continent's economy. At the Infrastructure Africa 2017 in Johannesburg, Zambian Minister of Finance Felix Mutati encouraged Africans to speedily address infrastructural deficit. "We have to inject some sense of urgency in ourselves. If we remain captured by business as usual, we are headed for disaster," said Mutati at the opening ceremony of the two-day event. "Competitiveness in Africa is being constrained by infrastructure deficit. We need about 93 billion U.S. dollars every year to address the infrastructure gap in the continent. We need to urgently implement projects," he said. Mutati said Africa has to narrow focus to innovative financing and design, better use of existing...
(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
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “Smaller towers can run...
(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...

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