Wednesday 22 November 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
Germany on Monday lent support to France's push to make operational a new multinational military force that will tackle Islamist militants in Africa's Sahel region and urged other powers to contribute funds at an Autumn donor conference. On a joint visit to Niger's capital, Niamey, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, said the Sahel force was West Africa's best hope for defeating the militants. Some observers see the G5 Sahel force — comprised of troops from Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands in 2015. The British broadcaster said the bribery was revealed by a former employee, Paul Hopkins. At the time, BAT said “we do not tolerate corruption in our business, no matter where it takes place.” The SFO investigation adds to...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Germany's defense ministry on Thursday defended the performance of its Tiger helicopters as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali amid indications that Wednesday's deadly crash of one of the aircraft was due to technical factors. Two crew members were killed when one of Germany's four Tiger helicopters crashed in the West African nation's desert north on Wednesday, but there were no signs that it was downed by an attack, German officials said. It was the first deadly accident involving Germany's Tiger helicopters. Two crew members escaped with minor injuries during an earlier crash in 2013 during a training flight in Bavaria. There was no indication that the two crashes were related. The Tiger helicopters, which first began flying...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15 percent, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent as it shifts its focus back to Britain and the United States. The losses from the sale of unwanted assets including the Africa business showed the costs...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/27/17)
A German military helicopter assigned to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali crashed in the West African nation's desert north on Wednesday, killing the two crew members, the German military said. The Tiger helicopter crashed around midday about 70 km (45 miles) north of Gao, burning out completely with no survivors. The crash was reported by a second helicopter following in the mission. "We have now certainty that two soldiers have given their lives in the service of our country," German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with Jean David Mihamle.
(AFP (eng) 07/26/17)
A UN helicopter crashed in northern Mali on Wednesday in an apparent accident while serving with the 12,000-strong peacekeeping force in the country, a UN source told AFP. "One of our helicopters crashed in northern Mali today... This was an accident. We will release the toll later," the source in the northern city of Gao said. The UN source added that "nothing at this stage" would suggest the aircraft "was hit or shot at". Northern Mali is the site of frequent fighting between armed groups, as well as a haven for jihadist activity. The United Nations force, known as MINUSMA, is considered the UN's most dangerous peacekeeping mission. In 2012, Mali's north fell under the control of jihadist groups linked...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
A Malian activist whose fierce criticism of politicians and religious figures on YouTube has made him a cult figure, survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday, his family told AFP. "Marshall Madou", real name Madou Kante, called for calm following the attempt on his life, as his supporters rallied around. Kante was driving in the capital Bamako at around 1:00 am on Tuesday when a gunman fired several times at him, Kante and his family told AFP. "They just took the bullet out of my body," he said from hospital. "I was in my car in Bamako when someone shot me in the chest. "I want to call for calm. I am not accusing anyone at the moment and I don't...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
Senior politicians in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday called for measures to cut the birth rate in the region in order to bring the population explosion there under control. Deputies of ECOWAS, Mauritania and Chad should be aiming to cut back the birth rate to three children per woman, said Salifou Diallo, Burkina Faso's speaker of parliament. The idea, he said, was to cut the birth rate in half by 2030, in a region that has the highest fertility rates in the world. He called for countries to adopt measures including universal access to family planning, improved education for women and better health care of children, to bring about "a rapid, voluntary decline" in the...
(AfricaNews 07/21/17)
A Malian fisherman who found the body of the late Bishop of Bafia, Jean-Marie Bénoit Bala, has been rewarded with FCFA 2 million ($3,545) by the Cameroonian government. 27-year-old Ali Aoudi Dienta who found the body two days after the bishop went missing in the Sanaga river was handed cash by the Governor of the Centre Region Naseri Paul Bea on Thursday, local media CamerounWeb reported. Bishop Jean-Marie Bénoit Bala was reported missing on May 31 after leaving his residence in the evening. His car was later found on the bridge over the Sanaga river with a suspected suicide note that read: “Do not look for me, I’m in the water.” His body was found by the fisherman floating downstream...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
The bodies of eight Malian soldiers killed in an ambush by suspected Islamist fighters last week have been discovered in the West African nation's desert north, a local lawmaker and army officer said on Monday. The soldiers went missing a week ago after their convoy was attacked on the road between the towns of Gao and Menaka. "They were killed in the fighting last week ... There are eight of them. I have two nephews who were killed," said Badian Ag Hamatou, a member of parliament from Menaka. "They were encircled by the jihadists." A senior army officer, who asked not to be named, said a team sent to the scene had been able to identify the bodies as those...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
The conflict in Mali is spilling over to Burkina Faso and Niger, with a significant surge of attacks by extremist groups in border areas over past months, the UN envoy for West Africa warned Thursday. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said deadly attacks along border areas were having an impact on the local economy in the northern provinces of Burkina Faso and western regions of Niger. "In the Sahel, persistent instability in Mali is spilling over to Burkina Faso and Niger, with deadly attacks along border areas," Chambas told the UN Security Council. The Liptako Gourma region, which encompasses the border areas of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, "has seen a significant expansion of violent extremist and terrorist activities in the past...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/13/17)
Tuareg separatists have seized a town in Mali's desert north from a pro-government ethnic Tuareg militia after days of fighting, the separatists and a local legislator close to the government side said Wednesday. Fighting between rival Tuareg factions has intensified and threatens to derail a 2015 peace deal meant to end years of conflict and instability in the landlocked West African nation, a major gold producer. The rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) and the pro-government Gatia are locked in a bitter power struggle in northern Mali, despite the return of state authority to its cities
(Reuters (Eng) 07/12/17)
In an effort to save one of Africa's last desert elephant herds, Mali has employed Mitch, Bobby and Amy - Dutch spaniels with a nose for sniffing out illegal ivory. The chocolate-colored spaniels are the newest members of an anti-poaching brigade set up to dismantle ivory trafficking networks that have devastated elephant herds in Mali, General Birama Sissoko, an advisor to the environment ministry, told Reuters. Poaching has been rampant since Tuareg rebels and Islamists took over the north of the country in 2012. French forces pushed them back a year later, but lawlessness still reigns and ivory smuggling has flourished. Trade in elephant tusks funds militants, the United Nations says.

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