Thursday 25 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
The United Arab Emirates, one of the Middle East's largest economies, wants to expand trade ties with faster growing nations in Asia and Africa, a senior official said on Sunday. Rich Gulf Arab states are looking at ways to diversify their economies, including who they trade with, after more than two years of depressed oil prices forced a rethink of government spending. The pace of economic growth in Asian and sub-Saharan African economies has made them ideal partners, Abdullah al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade and industry at the UAE ministry of the economy, told Reuters in an interview in Dubai. Asia's two largest economies China and India are expected to grow by 6.5 percent and 7.2 percent this year whilst...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/11/17)
Mali's government proposed a bill on Friday to establish a new Senate chamber as part of a shake up of its constitution designed to reinforce democracy in the West African country, according to a government statement. The body will be one of eight key institutions of state that include the president, government, national assembly and supreme court, the government said after an extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers headed by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. "The draft law gives the president of the republic the responsibility to determine the policy of the nation and the right to appoint
(Agence Ecofin 03/10/17)
On a sensizibilation mission on land ownership and rights in the Kayes region, in the South Western part of Mali, the minister of public domains and land affairs, Mohamed Ali Bathily, recalled how important it is to respect land legislation in order to tackle land conflicts. The official in fact blamed local authorities of contributing to the sustaining of the phenomenon. “Administrators, local elects and often village chiefs, in order to satisfy their personal interests, and those of the highest bidders, to the detriment of real owners, change rules. Legal procedures and means to award lands are the only way to have a peaceful social environment, insure cohesion and stability in the country,” the minister said. In response to complaints...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity," said Dlamini-Zuma, who will next week hand power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates...
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that investments in training for community health workers will have multiplier impact on Africa's socioeconomic development. "We require highly skilled and motivated cadre of community health workforce to deal with a high diseases burden in disadvantaged settings in this continent. These...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/17)
At least 11 soldiers were killed in Mali on Sunday in an attack on an army base near the border with Burkina Faso, as rival armed factions surrounded the flashpoint city of Timbuktu. The jihadist attack on the border village of Boulekessi killed 11 troops and wounded five more, according to an official toll from the defence ministry read out on national television. "One of our positions was attacked early Sunday morning by terrorists, on the border with Burkina Faso," a highly-placed Malian military source told AFP on condition of anonymity earlier Sunday.
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Three jihadist groups operating in the Sahel region have merged to form one single organisation, Mauritania's private news agency ANI said Thursday, citing a video distributed by the Islamists. Among the groups joining the merger south of the Sahara are Mali's Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine and Al-Murabitoun, led by Algerian extremist Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The new movement will operate under the name the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, and will be led by Ansar Dine's Iyag Ag Ghaly, ANI said, adding that it had received the video Wednesday. The Macina Brigades group, active in central Mali, has also joined the merger. ANI distributed a screenshot of the video showing five jihadist leaders seated together, with Iyad Ag Ghaly in the centre...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Interim authorities for Mali's troubled northern regions of Gao and Menaka were installed Thursday in a step toward improving security enough to allow local elections in former rebel strongholds. Mali's north fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels and jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012. The Islamists sidelined the rebels to take sole control. Although they were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013, implementation of a 2015 peace accord has been piecemeal but the long-delayed installation of interim authorities is a key step.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/03/17)
Mali's main jihadist groups said on Thursday they will merge under Islamist leader Iyad Ag-Ghali whose fighters have claimed multiple attacks on Malian, French and U.N. peacekeeping forces, Mauritania's Nouakchott News Agency (ANI) reported. ANI said Ag-Ghali's Ansar Dine would join with al-Mourabitoun, led by Algerian jihadist and smuggler Mokhtar Belmokhtar, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a military camp in northern Mali that killed up to 60 people and wounded more than 100 in January. France intervened in Mali in 2013 to drive back Islamist groups that seized the desert north a year earlier, but despite that and a costly U.N. peacekeeping presence, Islamist militants conduct frequent attacks in northern Mali and use it as a...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(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 the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(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 by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/26/17)
Armed groups in northern Mali have agreed on the return of interim authorities to towns there next week, a government statement said, overcoming a stumbling block in the implementation of a 2015 peace deal. Most government posts in northern Mali have been empty since desert jihadists usurped them in 2012 before being chased out themselves by a French military intervention. However, an attempt by authorities from the southern capital Bamako to visit the Tuareg rebel bastion of Kidal in 2014 led to heavy fighting between the army and local fighters who were formerly allied with the jihadists.
(AFP (eng) 02/24/17)
Senegalese police have arrested two Malians suspected of involvement in a jihadist attack on an Ivory Coast beach resort last year that killed 19 people. More than 10 suspects have already been detained in relation to the March 13 assault, when assailants armed with grenades and assault rifles stormed three hotels in Grand-Bassam, a beachside resort popular with foreigners 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Abidjan. The attack, the first of its kind in the Ivory Coast, was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has also carried out assaults on tourist hotspots in Mali and Burkina Faso.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/24/17)
Senegalese authorities have arrested two suspected foreign jihadists in Dakar, including one who had been in contact with the mastermind of an attack on an Ivory Coast hotel a year ago. Police spokesman Henry Cisse said an operation in Dakar on Thursday had led to the arrest of Ould Sidy Mohamed Dina, a Malian, as he was trying to leave his home. He had been in Senegal for a month, he said. Another suspected jihadist, whom he did not name, from Mauritania, had been arrested trying to board a bus to Gambia. The suspects have not yet been charged.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/23/17)
The German military plans to beef up security for a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali by deploying a number of tethered aerostats - small airships with threat-tracking sensors - like those used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, a spokeswoman for the armed forces said. U.S. officials said they had provided information to the German Bundeswehr about a range of options, including the possibility of buying used aerostats built by Lockheed Martin Corp for the U.S. Army. The dangers facing the U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali were highlighted last month when a suicide bombing killed 77 people at a military base housing government soldiers in the northern town of Gao.
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...

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