Friday 15 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/28/17)
Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, head of a group of five countries in Africa’s Sahel region, has asked the United States to remove a travel ban on Chadian nationals, saying that a failure to do so could affect Chad’s security commitments. Security analysts expressed surprise when Chad, a key U.S. security partner since the Cold War, was named last week alongside North Korea and Venezuela as part of an eight-country the travel ban. Chad’s army acts as a bulwark against local and regional armed movements and played a critical role in pushing back troops from jihadist group Boko Haram when they made a bid to expand beyond northeastern Nigeria in 2015. Its troops continue to hold front-line positions in unstable...
(Xinhuanet 09/27/17)
The UN Security Council on Monday condemned "in the strongest terms" Sunday's attack by unknown assailants against a convoy of the UN mission in Mali, which killed three peacekeepers of Bangladeshi origin and injured four others. The members of the Security Council, in a press statement, expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to the Bangladeshi government and the UN mission in Mali, or Minusma. They called on the government of Mali to swiftly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law and involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks
(APA 09/27/17)
The Kingdom of the Netherlands has contributed 200 million fCFA to the Invest-in-Mali Forum scheduled for December 7-8, 2017, and which has an estimated budget of 1.5 billion CFA, APA can report on Wednesday. The financing agreement was signed by Dutch Ambassador to Mali Jolke Oppewal and Investment Minister Konimba Sidibé. The organizers are looking for further funding because the budget of the forum is still not completely funded. Speaking at the signing of the convention, Minister Konimba Sidibé urged “Mali’s partners and friends to accompany the country in successfully organizing the forum.” The two-day forum will feature high-level conferences and panels on economics, finance, credit, small and medium-sized enterprises, among other topics. It will also be an occasion for...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/25/17)
Three United Nations soldiers from Bangladesh were killed by an explosive device that detonated as they were escorting a convoy in northern Mali on Sunday, the West African country’s peacekeeping mission and Bangladesh’s military said. Attacks on peacekeepers in Mali, where Islamist groups continue to operate in the vast desert in the north of the country, have made the U.N. mission there, MINUSMA, the organization’s deadliest. Another five U.N. troops were seriously wounded in Sunday’s explosion, which occurred at around 7 a.m. (0700 GMT) on the main road between the towns of Anefis and Gao, MINUSMA said in a statement. “Our thoughts go firstly to the families and loved ones. We pledge our complete support to them during this painful...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the Global First Ladies Alliance (GFLA) and Facebook. Geingos credited the quota enacted by the ruling SWAPO party of her husband, President Hage Geingob. But she said a similar quota might be needed for Namibia’s private sector, where only 10 to...
(AFP (eng) 09/24/17)
At least three UN peacekeepers were killed Sunday when their vehicle hit an explosive device in Mali's troubled north, the UN's mission to the conflict-torn country said. MINUSMA said the attack, which also left another five soldiers seriously wounded, took place early Sunday on a road between the city of Gao and a village called Anefis. In a separate statement, the Bangladeshi armed forces said three of its soldiers had been killed and another four wounded when their vehicle hit the explosive device. The blast came a day after Bangladeshi peacekeepers successfully fended off another armed attack, it said.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
Rival Tuareg groups said on Thursday they had signed a peace deal in northern Mali, raising hopes of an end to years of fighting and broken ceasefires. Senior members of the separatist CMA and their pro-government opponents known as the Platform said they had settled their differences in the arid region, which is still reeling from a 2012 Islamist insurgency. Past deals have fizzled as goodwill faded - though observers said they were optimistic, as the pact had been signed in Bamako on Wednesday night under the watch of the United Nations, government officials and international mediators. “We assure that in future we will respect all the commitments we have made before you and before the international community,” senior Platform...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...
(AFP (eng) 09/21/17)
A Malian soldier was killed and a number of others were injured Wednesday in an ambush in northern Mali, where gunmen also attacked two military camps, including a UN mission, a military source said. The ambush took place 55 kilometres (34 miles) from Menaka, when one of the unit's vehicles ran over a landmine, the source said. Meanwhile, in the northern region of Kidal, gunmen attacked a camp run by the UN mission in the country, known by the acronym of MINUSMA, and another camp due to host so-called mixed patrols, another security source said. Intended to provide security for the troubled region, mixed patrols comprise regular army soldiers; pro-government armed groups known as Platform; and ex-members of a predominantly...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year. Global health experts hope the deal will help address two looming problems in the HIV epidemic - the rising threat of resistance developing to standard AIDS drugs, and the need for more investment in manufacturing capacity. Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, a so-called integrase inhibitor that avoids the drug resistance that often develops with older treatments. In return the drugmakers, India-based Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma, will agree the maximum...
(The Guardian 09/18/17)
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation. Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop is undoubtedly the cause of this problem. But cocoa farming could also provide the solution. Recently, I was in Ivory Coast for the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. It united many different parties – governments, the UN’s Food...
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
Societe Generale SA, challenged on its home turf by Orange SA’s push into banking, is fighting back with a new mobile lender in Africa. The French lender started YUP, a new app for smartphones, in Senegal and Ivory Coast and plans to begin operating in four other sub-Saharan countries this year and next, the company said on Thursday. The bank aims to double its client base to 2 million in the region within three years. “Telcos have opened the way and they’ve gotten ahead,” Alexandre Maymat, who oversees Societe Generale’s operations in French-speaking Africa, said at a press briefing. “We’re catching up” by redefining the retail strategy and providing a broader offering than telephone companies. Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/14/17)
NIAMEY, NIGER — Mali and Niger, two of the West African nations hit hardest by jihadist violence, appealed Wednesday for international funding for a regional force they have set up to counter Islamist insurgencies. Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou said the force assembled by the G5 Sahel bloc — Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad — was crucial to fighting a threat that went well beyond their borders. "We bring this combat against terrorism not only to protect our own people and countries but for the whole world," Issoufou said at a news conference in Niger's capital, Niamey. "For terrorism knows no border. It will go to Europe, it will go to the United States,"...
(APA 09/14/17)
APA-Bamako (Mali) - Malian authorities have on Wednesday seized 58 bales of cannabis worth 120 million CFA in Koutiala in the southern region of Sikasso, according to Lieutenant Salikou Traoré, from the regional narcotics department (OCS). “We arrested two drug traffickers who had 58 bales of cannabis, all of them Malians. They were detained at Sikasso Central Prison,” Lieutenant Traore said. When asked about the origin and destination of the seized drug, Lieutenant Traoré replied: “We know that the drug came from Ghana via Burkina Faso. One part was destined for consumption in Mali; the other was to be delivered in Senegal. According to Lieutenant Traoré, his services dealing with a network of international drug trafficking.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/14/17)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Your afternoon chocolate bar may be fuelling climate change, destroying protected forests and threatening elephants, chimpanzees and hippos in West Africa, research suggests. Well-known brands, such as Mars and Nestle, are buying through global traders cocoa that is grown illegally in dwindling national parks and reserves in Ivory Coast and Ghana, environmental group Mighty Earth said. “Every consumer of chocolate is a part of either the problem or the solution,” Etelle Higonnet, campaign director at Mighty Earth, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “You can choose to buy ethical chocolate. Or you’re voting with your dollar for deforestation.” Nestle did not immediately respond to requests for comment while Mars said in an email: “We take a...
(Xinhuanet 09/13/17)
In an effort to promote economic development and solve complex conservation challenges facing world heritage sites, the African World Heritage Fund Patron and former President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba will host a business leader's breakfast event in Namibian Capital, Windhoek on Thursday. The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of the African Union and UNESCO, launched in 2006. Webber Ndoro, executive director of the African World Heritage Fund, at a media briefing on Tuesday in Windhoek said that the aim of the event is to promote a holistic private sector engagement, raise a sense of ownership and accountability for heritage protection as well as transmission of World Heritage sites in Namibia and Africa. "To...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/12/17)
Olympic boxing’s governing body, AIBA, has banned African confederation head Kelani Bayor for three years for allegedly provoking the crowd at the continental championships in Brazzaville last June. Bayor is an AIBA vice-president and executive committee member as well as chairman of Togo’s national Olympic committee. “The Disciplinary Commission found that a hostile and threatening reaction to AIBA officials by spectators after the result of a bout on the last day of the competition was exacerbated by comments from Mr Bayor,” AIBA said in a statement on Monday. It found Bayor had “committed serious and unacceptable violations of the AIBA Disciplinary Code” at the tournament in Congo Republic. AIBA said the ban was from all boxing activities and responsibilities and...

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