Tuesday 24 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 07/22/13)
Tuareg rebels held talks with Mali's interim president, discussing possibilities for peace and reconciliation, but tensions remained high as a homemade bomb was found in flashpoint city Kidal a week from a crucial presidential vote. In a further sign of the difficulties involved, a Tuareg rebel leader was arrested over the abduction of six officials in northern Mali the previous day. All six were released and "doing well" on Sunday, authorities said. The kidnappings were blamed on the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a rebel group founded to fight for independence for Mali's minority Tuareg people. Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, one of the Tuareg delegates to the talks with interim president Dioncounda Traore said: "We talked about peace,...
(Voice of America 07/22/13)
This is the last week of campaigning ahead of Mali’s July 28 presidential election, with 27 presidential candidates crisscrossing the country to rally supporters. Authorities have handed out seven million voter cards in less than a month, and are frantically completing preparations for the ballot. This last week before the vote will be a busy one. Mali is trying to emerge from a year and a half of unprecedented crisis. It started with another Tuareg rebellion, followed by a military coup, followed by an Islamist takeover, followed by a French-led military intervention. Candidates are all campaigning on pretty much the same platform - making sure this never happens again. They are pledging to fight corruption, build a stronger army, and...
( 07/22/13)
African governments must improve their support for agricultural research organisations, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has said. “The need for action on agricultural research is urgent. African Governments must increase funding for agricultural research and extension; farmers’ innovations must find their way into the research agenda to enable Africa achieve its goal of food sufficiency,” Mr. Amissah-Arthur said in Accra at the opening ceremony of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW). AASW, hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, brought together over 1,300 scientific researchers, extension officers, farmers, policymakers, development partners, civil society and NGO groups from across the world to discuss the theme “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural...
(The Guardian Nigeria 07/21/13)
DESPITE the fall in productivity of Africa’s agriculture over the years occasioned by seasons of under-investment and an ill-advised structural adjustment, there is yet a lot to be done to feed the continent’s huge and fast-growing population. Global figures in agriculture and research agree, as they met in Accra, Ghana that ‘funding to agriculture, to universities and to research centres fell steadily and steeply,’ leading to a reversal of the many gains of the past. Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President articulated as much when he addressed the Sixth Forum of Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) summit in the Ghanaian capital during the week. He said, “Our universities lost good people. The quality of education declined,”...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/13)
(Reuters) - Four electoral officials and a deputy mayor were kidnapped by suspected Tuareg separatists in northern Mali on Saturday, officials said, adding to tensions stirred by ethnic clashes before next week's presidential vote. Earlier on Saturday, Mali's government accused the MNLA rebels of violating a ceasefire deal this week after four people died in clashes between pro-separatist Tuareg youths and black Africans in the northern town of Kidal. The local representatives of Mali's Independent National Electoral Commission and the deputy mayor of Tessalit were kidnapped by armed men just outside the desert town on Saturday morning, the prefect said. "It is the MNLA who are responsible. They are the only armed group here aside from the French and the...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/13)
(Reuters) - Nigeria plans to withdraw much of its 1,200-strong contingent from international peacekeeping missions in Mali and Sudan's Darfur region saying the troops are needed to beef up security at home, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Nigeria is battling Islamist group Boko Haram, but the troop withdrawal comes just 10 days before a presidential election in Mali, which is meant to restore democracy after a coup and the occupation of the desert north by al Qaeda-linked rebels last year. The 12,600-man U.N. mission in Mali is rolling out to replace most of the 4,500 French forces who intervened successfully in January to halt an Islamist advance south. "It seems Nigeria is pulling out its infantry but...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/13)
(Reuters) - The African Union will form a new 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission for Central African Republic (CAR) to step up efforts to stabilize the fractious country, officials said on Friday. Admore Kambudzi, secretary of the AU's Peace and Security Council, said an existing regional peacekeeping mission known as MICOPAX would be rolled into the larger new force from August. He said its mandate would be to protect civilians and help stabilize the country and restore the central government in the former French colony, which is rich in gold and diamonds. Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million at the heart of the continent, has suffered decades of instability. Seleka rebels toppled the president in March, causing chaos and a...
(AFP (eng) 07/19/13)
Clashes between Tuaregs and black Africans in northern Mali's flashpoint city of Kidal left at least one dead overnight, officials said Friday, a sign of growing tension with key polls nine days away. An official with the UN peacekeeping force in the troubled west African country said the incident was apparently caused by rumours that the army was sending more troops to Kidal ahead of the July 28 presidential poll. "There were shots between a Tuareg group accused of being the MNLA (rebel National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), or close to the MNLA, and the black population," the MINUSMA official said on condition of anonymity. Kidal was one of the first major towns to fall when a short-lived...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/19/13)
(Reuters) - Nigeria plans to withdraw much of its 1,200-strong contingent from international peacekeeping missions in Mali and Sudan's Darfur region saying the troops are needed to beef up security at home, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Nigeria is battling Islamist group Boko Haram, but the troop withdrawal comes just 10 days before a presidential election in Mali, which is meant to restore democracy after a coup and the occupation of the desert north by al Qaeda-linked rebels last year. The 12,600-man U.N. mission in Mali is rolling out to replace most of the 4,500 French forces who intervened successfully in January to halt an Islamist advance south. "It seems Nigeria is pulling out its infantry but...
(Voice of America 07/19/13)
ABUJA — West African leaders have said upcoming elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau will go ahead as scheduled, despite reports the two countries' electoral commissions are not ready. At a summit in Abuja, the leaders also called for new security policies that will allow the region to respond more quickly to emergencies like last year's crisis in Mali. Heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] met this week in the Nigerian capital ahead of elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said Mali elections will go ahead on the scheduled July 28 date, despite reports that the election commission is not prepared to hold elections in a country where hundreds of thousands...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
ABUJA, July 18, 2013 (AFP) - West African leaders on Thursday insisted Mali's presidential election would be held on July 28 as scheduled despite doubts over whether the crisis-hit nation was ready to organise a vote. The polls are seen as crucial to re-uniting the country which remains shaken after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out with the help of French troops. Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS, said "there are no doubts" the vote would be held on time.. The polls would take place "on the scheduled date," the Ivorian leader said at the close of...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
French hostage Philippe Verdon, who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali in 2011 and found dead several weeks ago, was executed with a shot to the head, prosecutors said Thursday. "After the return of the body to France, the autopsy... was able to establish that Philippe Verdon was murdered by being shot in the head," the Paris prosecutors' office said. The body of Verdon, who suffered from an ulcer and tachycardia, an abnormally fast heartbeat, was flown back to Paris on Wednesday. The possibility had previously been raised that he had died from his ailments and that his killing had been staged. The 53-year-old was taken from a hotel in northeastern Mali in November 2011,...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
West African leaders on Thursday insisted Mali's presidential election would be held on July 28 as scheduled despite doubts over whether the crisis-hit nation was ready to organise a vote. The polls are seen as crucial to re-uniting the country which remains shaken after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out with the help of French troops. Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS, said "there are no doubts" the vote would be held on time.. The polls would take place "on the scheduled date," the Ivorian leader said at the close of an ECOWAS summit in Nigeria's capital...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
Nigeria plans to withdraw some of its troops from Mali because they are needed back home, where the country is battling a deadly Islamist insurgency, officials said Thursday. It was not clear how many troops would be pulled from the troubled west African nation, where Nigeria currently has some 1,000 troops, a Nigerian military source said. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS, told reporters the withdrawal was because Nigeria needed its soldiers back home. "It's because of the domestic situation," Ouattara said after an ECOWAS summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja. "I received a letter from the president. Nigeria needs some of its people. They are not withdrawing everyone. They are withdrawing...
(Voice of America 07/18/13)
ABUJA, NIGERIA — West African leaders have called for $25 million in international aid to help secure the upcoming elections in Mali. As Guinea-Bissau also prepares for elections, leaders want an end to international sanctions on that country. Heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, are meeting this week in the Nigerian capital ahead of elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, two countries in turmoil. After the French-led invasion of northern Mali in January that wrested territories away from Islamist militant groups, nationwide presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for July 28. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday that ECOWAS will need the support of countries outside Africa to help Mali have elections that are free,...
(Voice of America 07/18/13)
The president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says the regional bloc is working with its international partners, other stakeholders, and Mali’s government to ensure a successful July 28 presidential election in Mali. Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraogo says ECOWAS is committed to help Mali conduct a peaceful and credible election. Ouedraogo’s remarks came during a two-day regional leaders summit that reviewed the political and security situation in Mali. The meeting ends on Thursday. Mamadou Diamountani, chairman of Mali’s electoral commission, has said that carrying out a successful election will be challenging. But, Ouedraogo says the regional bloc is working with the electoral commission to ensure the vote goes ahead. “ECOWAS has committed itself to assist the Malian...
(Dw-World 07/18/13)
Ahead of Mali's July 28 elections,regional body ECOWAS meets to discuss the situation there and in Guinea-Bissau where the absence of a functional government has allowed drug trafficking to flourish. Mali is battling an islamist insurgency, while Guinea-Bissau seeks to recover from a coup. Regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) grouping have used diplomacy, sanctions and a plan for military intervention to nudge Mali towards a restoration of constitutional order. The case is much worse for Guinea-Bissau which has been nicknamed the ‘narco state'. ECOWAS needs to commit to a common strategy to help the coup-plagued country implement security, justice and electoral reforms needed to escape its status as a link in drug trafficking to...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/17/13)
Mali's two main political parties pledged on Tuesday to accept the results of this month's presidential election even though it was likely to be marred by technical problems as the West African country struggles to emerge from conflict. Both local politicians and international advocacy groups have voiced concern that voting materials will not be properly distributed in time for the July 28 election, which is meant to turn the page on a military coup in March 2012 and the subsequent Islamist seizure of northern Mali last year. French forces intervened dramatically in January to break the grip of al-Qaida-linked Islamist groups over Mali's desert north. Paris is now pushing for the election to go ahead this month as it seeks...
(Voice of America 07/17/13)
West African regional leaders plan to open an extraordinary two-day summit on Wednesday in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Sonny Ugoh, communications director for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), says the leaders will consider the latest political and security situation in Mali in the run-up to that country’s July 28 presidential election. “They will review the political health of the organization and member states, the economic health of the region, and give directive as to what initiative they think we should take, in order to address whatever challenges they determine that we need to address,” said Ugoh. He says Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré will brief other heads of state about the situation in Mali. Mr. Compaoré mediated talks between...
( 07/17/13)
Africa’s oil and gas industry is poised for momentous growth despite its grappling with severe stresses of a challenging economic and political environment on the continent, fuelled by poor physical infrastructure, corruption, an uncertain regulatory framework, and a lack of skills, according to a review issued by PwC. PwC’s ‘Africa oil and gas review’ of developments in the African oil and gas industry is the third in a series of reviews of the sector by the tax, assurance and advisory solutions firm. Uyi Akpata, PwC Africa oil and gas industry leader/deputy country senior partner, Nigeria, says: “The challenges facing oil and gas companies operating in Africa are diverse and numerous. Political interference, uncertainty and delays in passing laws, energy policies...

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