| Africatime
Thursday 30 March 2017
(The Guardian 11/23/16)
Rulers of the DRC, Burundi, Zimbabwe and others say tide has turned after Obama’s efforts to promote democracy abroad. As the sun rose over Kinshasa on 9 November, Martin Fayulu was awoken by a phone call from a relative in the US telling him to switch on his television – Donald Trump appeared set to become the next US president. Fayulu, an opposition politician at the forefront of recent protests calling for elections to be held on time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, immediately switched on a French channel. “Many Congolese were watching, and a lot had mixed feelings,” he said. Across Africa the interest was equally intense, with the surprise result prompting fierce speculation about the unexpected...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/22/16)
African states failed on Monday to halt the work of the first U.N. independent investigator appointed to help protect gay and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination. The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, created the position in June and in September appointed Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand, who has a three-year mandate to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. In an unusual move, African states put forward a draft resolution in the 193-member U.N. General Assembly third committee, which deals with human rights, calling for consultations on the legality of the creation of the mandate. They said the work of the investigator should be suspended. However, Latin American countries, supported by Western...
(AFP (eng) 11/21/16)
Alleged jihadists killed five Malian soldiers transporting ballot boxes while a civilian also died in separate attacks aimed at sabotaging Mali's municipal elections, security sources told AFP on Monday. Mali voted Sunday in its first elections since 2013, with turnout low as security jitters remained elevated despite an international military intervention. "After the voting on Sunday, an army convoy taking the ballot boxes for counting was attacked in the north by jihadists. Five Malian soldiers were killed," the security source said. Another Malian security source said the assailants were unable to make off with the ballots, but confirmed the jihadists "wanted to sabotage the elections". Separately, a local official recounted an attack on the town of Dilli, southwestern Mali, where...
(AFP (eng) 11/21/16)
Mali was voting Sunday in its first elections since 2013, with turnout low as security jitters remain high despite an international military intervention. Voters are electing 12,000 councillors across Mali as the government wrestles with implementing a peace deal and warding off the stubborn jihadist threat in the north. French troops were deployed in 2013 to repel Al-Qaeda-aligned jihadists who had overrun several northern towns, joining forces with Tuareg-led rebels. Some 11,000 UN military and police followed, but the jihadists were never defeated, merely displaced.
(AFP (eng) 11/21/16)
The number of HIV-infected people taking anti-retroviral medicine has doubled in just five years, the UN said Monday, while highlighting high infection rates among young African women. A new report by UNAIDS said it was on course to hit a target of 30 million people on ARV treatment by 2020. "By June 2016, around 18.2 million people had access to the life-saving medicines, including 910,000 children, double the number five years earlier," UNAIDS said in a statement. But the report showed the huge risks that some young women face. Last year more than 7,500 teenagers and young women became infected with HIV every week worldwide, with the bulk of them in southern Africa. "Young women are facing a triple threat,"...
(AFP (eng) 11/20/16)
Above the sacks of seeds and coal, three kerosene lamps gather dust in the tiny shed that Kenyan chicken farmer Bernard calls home. He prefers to use solar energy to light up his evenings, listen to the radio or watch television, after abandoning a diesel generator he said was expensive to maintain and burned fuel too quickly. "Solar panels are a good, cheap solution," he told AFP. Across the continent, consumers are opting for their own off-grid solar solutions to power homes and small businesses, even as African governments unveil massive new solar projects seemingly every month to expand their grids. According to International Energy Agency projections, almost one billion people in sub-Saharan Africa will gain access to the grid...
(Agence Ecofin 11/19/16)
Mali’s rice output for the 2016-17 season stood at 2.81 million metric tons. This is 20% more than what the nation produced the previous season thus exceeding government’s initial forecast, Reuters reports. The West African country indeed forecast an output of 2.71 million Mt of paddy rice this season after recording 2.33 million Mt in 2015-16. Now, the farmers’ performance provided the nation a surplus of 565,000 Mt, said Namory Diabate, an official from the national statistics office. According to him, the increase is due to good rains, greater areas dedicated to the crop, the modernization of agricultural equipment and to a good fertilizer distribution strategy. In Mali, Africa’s second largest rice producer after Nigeria, the rice season is divided...
(The Guardian 11/19/16)
At COP22, the African Development Bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, tells of strategies to improve energy supplies and fight the impact of climate change “We lose 5% of our potential GDP every year, and African industries cannot be competitive without access to electricity,” says Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank. “I believe that’s why we can’t break away from reliance on exporting our raw materials – new industries will only go to where there’s power.” He is speaking on the sidelines of the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, which ends on Friday. Adesina and colleagues from the bank have been using the conference to highlight its new initiatives on energy, including the New Deal on Energy for Africa,...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/16)
With Mali's hard-fought peace deal foundering and jihadist groups back on the offensive, the west African country could be headed for fresh chaos, experts say. Malian, French and UN forces deployed to safeguard the country after a 2013 jihadist offensive in its vast arid north have increasingly come under attack this year. Only last week, militants with the Al-Qaeda-linked group Ansar Dine briefly seized a town alarmingly close to the capital, Bamako, raiding a police station, bank and a prison. Meanwhile, pro-government militia groups and former rebels who signed a 2015 peace deal are intermittently fighting each other in northern areas where the state remains
(AFP (eng) 11/17/16)
African leaders met in Morocco Wednesday on the sidelines of UN climate talks to agree a joint stance to fight global warming on the continent. "Africa is paying a heavy price over the climate issue and is without doubt the continent worst affected," Morocco's King Mohammed VI told the summit attended by 20 African leaders. "These disruptions... greatly hamper Africa's development and gravely threaten the basic rights of tens of millions of Africans," he said. He said the continent needed to "speak in a single voice, demand climate justice". France's President Francois Hollande and UN chief Ban Ki-moon also attended the summit which took place alongside the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakesh. Ban said Africa was at the forefront...
(AFP (eng) 11/16/16)
"Don't go!" That was the heartfelt appeal to African nations as the International Criminal Court opened its annual meeting Wednesday under the cloud of a wave of unprecedented defections. Gambia on Monday formally notified the United Nations that it was withdrawing from the court, following in the wake of South Africa and Burundi. "Don't go," pleaded Senegalese politician Sidiki Kaba, the president of the ICC's Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague. "In a world criss-crossed by violent extremism... it is urgent and necessary to defend the ideal of justice for all," he said. The tribunal opened in 2002 in The Hague as a court of last resort to try the world's worst crimes. But in his passionate plea,...
(Forbes 11/14/16)
Africa will have 1-billion mobile subscriptions by the fourth quarter of 2016, while data use will drive the next phase of growth in Africa’s telecoms market, according to researchers Ovum. Mobile subs will reach 1.02-billion by the end of 2016 and will reach 1.33-billion by 2021, says Matthew Reed, Ovum’s practice leader, for the Middle East and Africa. “The take-up of mobile broadband will rise strongly, as operators continue to roll out 3G and 4G LTE networks and as smartphones become increasingly affordable,” says Reed. “There will be 1-billion mobile broadband connections in Africa in 2021, including 157.4-million 4G LTE connections. “Additionally, the number of smartphone connections on the continent will reach 929.9-million at the end of 2021. And non-SMS...
(AFP (eng) 11/12/16)
Across Africa, the approaching presidency of Donald Trump has provoked deep uncertainty over how the United States will pursue policies ranging from counter-terrorism and trade, to aid and climate change. Many African countries had high hopes that Barack Obama would bring transformative benefits to the continent and were left disappointed as he winds down his time in office. But Trump's rise to power poses fresh questions that reveal the lack of concrete detail on his foreign policy plans -- while the president-elect himself has seldom addressed African issues directly. One possible pointer is Trump's often repeated vow to kill "terrorists", which may lead to more aggressive US intervention against Islamist forces such as Nigeria's Boko Haram, linked to the Islamic...
(The Toronto Star 11/11/16)
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada has committed to a three-year deployment in Africa that will be reassessed each year to ensure it has an “enduring” impact. Canadian troops headed to Africa will operate in dangerous territory where peacekeepers have been killed, says Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. In an exclusive interview with the Star from Vancouver Sajjan said Canada has committed to a three-year deployment that will be reassessed each year to ensure it has an “enduring” impact. It will be spread among a number of unspecified African countries, have a major focus on training and increasing “capacity” of the host nation as well as other countries’ troops, and build on existing social, economic and deradicalization programs on the ground...
(AFP (eng) 11/10/16)
All CAF competitions will offer increased prize money from 2017, the Cairo-based African football body said Wednesday. The announcement came months after French oil-gas company Total signed an eight-year sponsorship deal with CAF reportedly worth more than one billion dollars (915 million euros). Winners of the biennial Africa Cup of Nations will receive $4 million, up from the $1.5 million pocketed by 2015 champions the Ivory Coast. CAF Champions League title-holders are going to collect $2.5 million -- $1 million more than South African club Mamelodi Sundowns received last month. There is an even bigger percentage increase for winners of the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup with first prize increasing from $660,000 to $1.25 million. Both the Champions League and Confederation...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/09/16)
Islamist militant group Ansar Dine has claimed responsibility for an attack on a town in southern Mali in which 21 prisoners were freed from jail, according to a social media posting monitored by the SITE Intelligence Group. Six attackers tried to release two prisoners from jail in the town of Banamba on Sunday, Mali's Justice Minister Mamadou Ismael Konate said, but the prisoners had already been moved to another town. Ansar Dine said in its statement that it had killed one soldier and captured another in the attack and that it had taken three vehicles and some other gear. Reuters was not immediately able to verify Ansar Dine's account. Islamist groups such as Ansar Dine have stepped up their insurg
(Dw-World 11/09/16)
Africans across the continent followed the US presidential election with keen interest. While some fear that a Trump presidency could have disastrous consequences, others remain cautiously optimistic. Tanzania's President John Pombe Magufuli was one of the first African leaders to congratulate Donald Trump on his election victory. "Tanzanians and I assure you of continued friendship and cooperation," he wrote on his Twitter account. Burundi's controversial leader Pierre Nkurunziza - the subject of intense US and international criticism for his decision to stay in power beyond a constitutional two-term limit- followed suit. "Your victory is the victory of all Americans," he wrote on Twitter. Buzz on social media Social media platforms were abuzz with reactions just moments after the poll results...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/08/16)
Gunmen attacked a bank and a prison in the southern Mali town of Banamba in the early hours of Monday, freeing 21 prisoners and looting cash, a security ministry spokesman said. Amadou Sangho told Reuters by telephone that the assailants had arrived in three armed vehicles and on four motorbikes from Nara, near the Mauritanian border, shortly after midnight. They stole cash from the vault of the Mali Development Bank before breaking into the prison, he said by telephone. No one was killed but a prison guard remains missing, Sangho said. Justice Minister Mamadou Ismael Konate said the attackers had wanted to release
(Reuters (Eng) 11/08/16)
Germany on Monday pledged a 61-million-euro ($67.44 million) hike in funding for U.N. relief operations in Africa so that fewer of its people undertake perilous odysseys to Europe, which has struggled to absorb an influx of migrants since last year. The extra funding lifts Germany's total contribution to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR to 298 million euros for 2016, Foreign Ministry officials said. Its total humanitarian budget for 2016 was 1.28 billion euros, up from just 105 million euros in 2012. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced the increase during a meeting with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Berlin. Countries targeted by Germany's move are ridden by chronic conflict, disastrous climate change and poverty. Many of their citizens...
(AFP (eng) 11/07/16)
A peacekeeper from Togo and two Malian civilians were killed in an attack on a military convoy in Mali, rounding off a bloody week for foreign forces stationed there, a UN statement said. Seven other peacekeepers, also from Togo, were wounded in the attack in the central Mopti region on Sunday, according to the statement by the UN mission, known by the acronym MINUSMA. After a mine or improvised explosive device was detonated, attackers opened fire on the convoy, the UN said, without identifying the assailants. A MINUSMA spokesman said Malian police would investigate the death of the two civilians

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