Tuesday 25 July 2017
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/02/17)
France has killed more than 20 militants hiding in a forest near the border between the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso this weekend, its regional force said in a statement. The operation followed the death of a French soldier nearby earlier this month. It involved both air and ground strikes, the statement said. It did not identify the militant group. Mali has been regularly hit by Islamist militant violence, despite a 2013 French-led operation to drive them out of key northern cities they had seized. It extended a state of emergency by six months this weekend. But violence in its southern neighbor, Burkina Faso
(Bloomberg 05/02/17)
Saudi Aramco is seeking to boost its fuel-trading volume by more than a third as the world’s biggest crude exporter expands its capacity to refine oil to grab a bigger share of growing markets in Asia and Africa. Aramco, as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is known, is building refineries in the kingdom and in Asia to help it increase sales and purchases of gasoline, diesel and other products to more than 2 million barrels a day, said Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco’s trading unit, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co. Owning refineries gives the unit, known as Aramco Trading Co., options for buying and selling fuel that some of its competitors don’t have. “The key is that you...
(AfricaNews 04/28/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth is showing signs of recovery this year after a tumultuous period in 2016. The World Bank estimates that GDP growth will rise to 2.6 percent in 2017 compared to 1.3 percent last year and rise further to 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent a year later. “Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow at a moderate rate of 2.6 percent in 2017, and somewhat improve towards three percent in 2018. This timid recovery is certainly better than the 1.6 percent we had in 2016, the lowest in a decade, but it is still below population growth in Africa,” said Albert Zeufack, Africa region chief economist at World Bank. Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow at a moderate...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating PPH. The London School...
(Xinhuanet 04/27/17)
The West African bloc is seeking to strengthen the role of the private sector in health service delivery in the sub-region as financing sources become increasingly difficult, Dr. Xavier Crespin, Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), disclosed here on Monday. He explained that, for the sub-region to be able to attain its health targets, both public and private sector support would be critical in financing the health delivery needs of the countries. Dr. Crespin emphasized this during the opening of a day’s sub-regional meeting for both public and private sectors organized by WAHO here to develop a strategic framework for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in the health sector. “We cannot really continue to do ‘Business as Usual’. It...
(Business Day Ghana 04/27/17)
There are currently 960 million mobile subscriptions across Africa – an 80 percent penetration rate among the continent’s population. Internet penetration is at 18 percent with 216 million internet users, according to the latest Jumia mobile trend report for Africa. The 2017 edition of the African Mobile Trends Paper is the third white paper presentation from Jumia delving into mobile trends across Africa and specifically Nigeria. The study takes a look at the how the market has democratised mobile internet use, the consumer behaviours driving increased smartphone adoption and the role of mobile brands, mobile operators and m-commerce in creating a synergy of an enhanced customer experience. This year’s Mobile Africa Study was carried out in 15 African countries which...
(Xinhuanet 04/26/17)
The Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative is a golden opportunity to bring about regional integration and sustainable economic growth for Africa, said Berhane Gebre-Christos, special envoy of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, on Tuesday. The special envoy made the remarks at the opening of a seminar organized on the B&R Initiative in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Welcoming the initiative, the special envoy said he is looking forward to the expected effects of the initiative. "The B&R is a project that will affect millions of people, and it will be one of the most important issues of the 21st century," he said, adding that the comprehensive approach of China means that the aspirations and development strategies of all countries involved will be...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa. The vaccine should be used alongside other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, repellants and anti-malarial drugs, the WHO...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/21/17)
Mali succeeded in restoring interim authorities to its northern cities of Timbuktu and Menaka on Thursday, ending a standoff with armed Tuareg factions that had prevented the transfer of power. The return of state authority to the north is meant to fill a power vacuum that has turned northern Mali into a launch pad for jihadi attacks across a vast region on the Sahara Desert. Most government posts have been unfilled since ethnic Tuareg separatists and desert jihadists took over northern Mali in 2012, before French forces intervened to push them back. A peace deal signed in 2015 was meant to enable authorities to return. Pro and anti-government Tuareg-dominated factions had finally agreed in February on how this would happen,...
(AFP (eng) 04/20/17)
A state of emergency that has been in force almost non-stop for 17 months in Mali was extended by 10 days from Thursday, the government said. The measure has been renewed several times since jihadists stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako in November 2015, killing 20 people in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda's regional branch. The west African nation's troubled north has witnessed a spate of jihadist strikes despite the emergency. On Tuesday armed men killed five soldiers and injured 10 others in an attack on an army post in the tense Timbuktu region.
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
WorldRemit Ltd., a British money-transfer operator, sees revenue from transactions involving Africans doubling by 2020 as more people on the continent access mobile-payment platforms and expatriates send cash home. The seven-year-old company, in which Facebook Inc.-backer Accel Partners LP invested $40 million in 2014, will this year open a regional office in South Africa, its largest market on the continent in terms of money-transfer value, founder and Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed said in an interview. Another site will start operating in Kenya, where the London-based business sees Africa’s highest number of individual transactions. “In the next two years we should be doubling our volume every year,” Ahmed said in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The continent accounted for half the company’s...
(AFP (eng) 04/19/17)
Suspected jihadists killed five Malian soldiers Tuesday in the restive northern Timbuktu region, the government said, while the French army said it had "neutralised" around 10 fleeing attackers. The attackers made a dawn raid on an army camp in the remote Gourma Rharous area, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) from the ancient city of Timbuktu, a statement from Mali's government said. The assault "by a terrorist group" led to "the deaths of five soldiers and around 10 wounded," the statement said without identifying the attackers. The French army said troops serving under Operation Barkhane, its counterterror operation targeting jihadist groups in the Sahel region, had arrived at the scene after Malian soldiers raised the alarm. They sent a plane and...
(Xinhuanet 04/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will convene Wedesday the first UN-AU Annual Conference. The two leaders will look into how to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations to face common challenges and opportunities in the continent, on issues of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, said Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, at a daily briefing. "They will also sign the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security," said Dujarric. It will be the first conference Mahamat will address with the United Nation since he was elected as chairperson of the African Union Commission. Although he had brief talks with Guterres in Addis...
(AFP (eng) 04/18/17)
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday forecast 2.6 percent growth in sub-Saharan Africa this year, aided by a modest recovery in large economies South Africa, Nigeria and Angola. "Growth is projected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2017 and 3.5 percent in 2018, largely driven by specific factors in the largest economies, which faced challenging macroeconomic conditions in 2016," the IMF said its latest World Economic Outlook report. A slump in commodity price in 2016 and devastating drought had affected growth in several countries in the region, resulting in 1.4 percent growth of gross domestic product (GDP). Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation and a leading oil producer, was expected to return to growth in 2017 after a challenging 2016...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that all the information people give them before they start their journey are wrong," said Nantcha. The group’s leader Sylvie Nantcha was born in Cameroon. She has lived in the German town of Freiburg for 25 years. She arrived as a...
(AFP (eng) 04/16/17)
Health workers in Mali called off a month-long strike on Sunday that paralysed hospitals after reaching an agreement with the government. The stoppage was called by the country's two main health unions, demanding raises for staff and jobs for contract workers, though a skeleton emergency service was maintained. "The demand for strike action is lifted because we are satisfied," said Yossouf Maiga, a senior official with one the unions, adding that eight of nine demands had been met. Government spokesman and commerce minister Abdel Karim Konate confirmed to AFP the strike was over. "The strikers and the government have reached agreement," he said. The strike was the longest ever to hit hospitals in Mali's history and badly affected the majority...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(AFP (eng) 04/08/17)
A Tuareg-led group in Mali said Saturday five of its fighters were killed in an attack blamed on jihadists, a week after a national peace summit called for talks with militants in the country's north. "Our base in Gargando was attacked early Saturday by Islamist terrorists," Oumar Ag Keling, a member of the Tuareg-led Congress for Justice in Azawad, told AFP. Gargando is a small town in central Mali located about 170 kilometres (106 miles) to the west of historic Timbuktu. "They killed four of our fighters, as well as the village chief," Keling said, adding that the jihadist rebels were "of many nationalities, according to the documents found at the scene". A Malian military official confirmed the deaths, saying...

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