Saturday 16 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 08/06/17)
The United Nations said Saturday it was investigating mass graves found in a northern Mali town along with a slew of human rights abuses committed by armed groups vying for control of the area. The pro-government Platform group has clashed repeatedly with the former rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) since June, violating a 2015 peace deal they signed aimed at ending separatist unrest and jihadist inroads into Mali's north. The UN mission in the country said in a statement that human rights investigators had uncovered evidence of forced disappearances, kidnapping and robbery around the strategic city of Kidal. The investigators further uncovered "the existence of individual tombs and mass graves" in the town of Anefis, the...
(AFP (eng) 08/03/17)
A South African held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 has been freed, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday. "Our fellow South African Stephen McGown was released on 29 July 2017," Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters. McGown, 42, was abducted in Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011 along with Swede Johan Gustafsson and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke by a group of armed men while on the terrace of their hotel. Gustafsson was released in June while Rijke was freed in April 2015 by French special forces.
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
French and German support for a regional Sahel force to battle jihadists will persuade other European nations of the benefits of backing the counter-terror measure, Germany's defence minister said Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen spoke to journalists in Bamako after talks with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, arriving six days after a helicopter crash in the country's north killed two German crew who were monitoring clashes for the United Nations mission to Mali. Von der Leyen said the discussion had centred on the autumn deployment of the force from the so-called "G5 Sahel" countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger)
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. "I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons." Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity...
(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...

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