Wednesday 22 November 2017
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
Malians go to the polls Sunday to elect new government leaders following a March 2012 coup and a subsequent crisis precipitated by a Tuareg secessionist movement. The international community has received some criticism for demanding presidential and legislative elections of an ill-prepared nation as a condition for freeing up $4 billion in aid. Concerns are growing that the elections may entrench recent divisions rather than promote national reconciliation. Shortly after government offices had opened on a hot, humid Bamako morning, 50 Malians were already gathered at the central elections directorate. Men formed one line. In another stood women and the elderly, including three young mothers cradling infants in brightly colored shawls. At a window, behind iron bars, an official was...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
BAMAKO — Mali goes to the polls Sunday to choose a new president. There are 27 candidates on the ballot. It's a mix of long-time political heavyweights and relative newcomers. There are several clear frontrunners, almost all of whom have held high-level government posts. Mali is now a year and a-half into an unprecedented crisis. A new Tuareg rebellion kicked off in the north in January 2012 followed by a military coup in the south two months later. Jihadist groups then occupied the north until they were pushed out by a French-led military intervention that began in January of this year and is now being transformed into a massive U.N. mission. Some in Mali blame those who led the country...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
The deputy chairman of the African Union (AU) says the group’s election observer mission has arrived in Mali for the West African nation’s presidential vote on Sunday. Erastus Mwencha also says the AU has partnered with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to help Mali’s interim government and support the country’s efforts to return to constitutional rule. Some Malians, including the chairman of the electoral commission, expressed concern about Sunday’s vote because of rising tension despite a recent peace agreement signed by the government and the rebels. “ECOWAS with the African Union and a number of other stakeholders and international partners have come to the conclusion that let’s move ahead with the elections,” said Mwencha. “Because you have...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
Malaria infections, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 newborns and 10,000 new mothers each year. The parasitic illness can also cause miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the risk of death. There are low cost, lifesaving interventions to prevent infection, yet, according to a new study, there are significant barriers to implementing them. For the past 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that pregnant women in areas with high rates of malaria receive insecticide-treated bed nets and periodic doses of a cheap drug to prevent the disease. Yet, despite relatively high attendance at clinics for expectant mothers and their newborns throughout sub-Saharan Africa, statistics show that just a little over 21 percent...
(Ghana Business News 07/24/13)
It will cost Africa $4.5 billion over the next ten years in order to bring proper reforms into managing the continent’s ‘rich’ land, says a new World Bank report published July 22, 2013. According to the report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity,” African countries could effectively end ‘land grabs,’ if the complex land ownership and management is mordernized through governance procedures. The World Bank therefore suggests a number of steps and policies that can bring major changes in the continent’s land governance. “It would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector, $4.5 billion spread over ten years to scale up these policy reforms and investments,” said the Bank. The report suggests that Africa could finally...
(Reuters 07/24/13)
(Reuters) - It was late afternoon as the speedboat cut across the waters off West Africa for its rendezvous with guns and drugs. Behind lay the steamy shore of Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Ahead lay the Al Saheli, a luxurious 115-foot white motor yacht with tinted black windows. Riding in the speedboat was Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto - a Guinea-Bissau former naval chief and war hero and, according to U.S. investigators, a kingpin of West Africa's drug trade. Na Tchuto was allegedly hoping to seal a deal involving millions of dollars and tons of cocaine. He was also in for a surprise. "Once onboard (the Al Saheli), we were offered champagne," said Vasco Antonio...
(AFP (eng) 07/23/13)
Keen to hand over its military role in Mali to the United Nations, France doggedly insisted that polls be held this month in the traumatised nation, despite difficulties in organising the vote. The presidential election on July 28 is seen as crucial to reuniting a country riven by conflict during an 18-month crisis that saw French forces intervene to push out Islamist rebels from the north. But some have criticised the pressure put on the current government to hold the vote, which they say is being rushed in a country where scores of people are still displaced and some areas remain restive. "We will be uncompromising," President Francois Hollande said earlier this year, underlining France's determination for Mali to hold...
(Dw-World 07/23/13)
More than 447,000 people, mainly from the Tuareg ethnic group, have fled northern Mali to the south or to neighboring countries. After months of being on the run, some of them now want to return home. Nafisa Walet Nafisa is sitting inside a large tent with her three daughters Neya, Halima and Tatu. On the floor there are a couple of mattresses and blankets to be seen. In one corner are the cooking utensils. To kill time, the three girls play with a few pebbles on the ground and sing.Nafisa's family is among 174,100 refugees who in January 2012, fled Mali to escape the Tuareg rebellion. They came to Mentao South, one of the eleven refugee camps in Burkina Faso...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/23/13)
(Reuters) - Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore has met for the first time with members of two northern Tuareg separatist groups, provoking anger among many in the country's south as ethnic tensions rise ahead of a presidential poll on Sunday. The election is meant to unify the West African nation after a March 2012 coup allowed Tuareg rebels and their al Qaeda-linked Islamist allies to seize the West African nation's desert north. A French-led offensive earlier this year routed and scattered the Islamist fighters, though sporadic attacks continue. The Tuareg rebels, who were sidelined by the better-armed Islamists early on in the 10-month occupation, last month agreed to take their fighters off the streets in exchange for a promise of...
(Dw-World 07/23/13)
Faced with a domestic Islamist insurgency, Nigeria is planning to withdraw some of its troops from international peacekeeping missions in Mali – just ahead of an election – and from Sudan's Darfur region. The announcement of the withdrawal, which came shortly before elections in Mali on July 28, was made at a summit of West African leaders in the Nigerian capital Abuja, chaired by Ivory Coast President Alassane Outttara. He said the decision had been taken "because of the domestic situation in Nigeria." It was not immediately clear how much of Nigeria's 1,200-strong contingent from international peacekeeping missions in Mali and Sudan's Darfur region would be pulled out. Nigerian military sources indicated that most of the troops returning home would...
(AFP (eng) 07/23/13)
UN says although genital cutting is on decline, female genital mutilation remains "almost universal" in some countries. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, and 30 million more girls are at risk in the next decade, UNICEF said. Although genital cutting is on the decline, the practice remains "almost universal" in some countries, said the report by the United Nations Children's Fund, released on Monday. The report compiles 20 years of data across 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The tradition involves removal of some or all of a female's external genitalia. It can include cutting out the clitoris and sometimes sewing together the labia. Laws are not enough to stop...
(AFP (eng) 07/22/13)
Mali is hoping against the odds for credible July 28 presidential elections but crucial barriers to an acceptable voter turnout and the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks are casting a long shadow over preparations. The polls are seen as vital to reuniting the country after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out by French and African troops. But the timing of the vote has raised logistical issues that critics feel have not been addressed and many have warned that a botched election could be more damaging for Mali's fragile roadmap to peace than no election at all. Chief among the problems highlighted by observers is the...
(AFP (eng) 07/22/13)
Voter registration cards went out Monday in an atmosphere of calm in the northern Malian town where election officials were briefly kidnapped Saturday, one of the freed workers told AFP. The five poll organisers and a local official had been at the town hall in Tessalit, near the Algerian border, to plan the distribution of the cards for Mali's July 28 presidential election when they were taken by armed men. "Today is calm in Tessalit and distribution of voter cards has begun," said Ishmael Ag Mohamed, one of six kidnapped by the gunmen, who freed the group soon after. Mohamed told AFP they were abducted by the ethnic Tuareg separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). "I recognised...
(AFP (eng) 07/22/13)
Six officials abducted in northern Mali have been released, authorities said Saturday, but tensions remained high as a homemade bomb was found in flashpoint city Kidal a week from a crucial presidential vote. A Tuareg rebel leader has been arrested for ordering the seizure of the six hostages -- five election officials and a local elected representative -- in the northern town of Tessalit, an official in the Kidal region said a day after the brazen kidnapping. "All those kidnapped on Saturday have been released and are doing well," the official told AFP. He blamed the abduction on the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a rebel group founded to fight for independence for Mali's minority Tuareg people...
(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...

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