Wednesday 23 August 2017
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Judges order Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to pay damages for destroying 10 mausoleums and religious sites in 2012. A former Islamist militant who was jailed for destroying holy sites in Timbuktu is liable for damages of €2.7m (£2.5m), judges at the international criminal court (ICC) have ruled. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was imprisoned for nine years last year after pleading guilty to war crimes for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu in 2012. Jihadis used pickaxes and bulldozers to attack the mausoleums and the centuries-old door of the Sidi Yahya mosque. The sites were built during Mali’s golden age in the 14th century as a trading hub and centre of Sufism, a branch of Islam...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Islamist militant attacks in West Africa are increasing in intensity. High-profile strikes on resorts and restaurants that have shattered the area’s tourist industry get most of the attention. Yet barely a week goes by without a deadly incident in a remote rural zone where some of the world’s poorest people live. Instability in the region affects Europe because it benefits organized crime networks which are engaged in the smuggling and trafficking of migrants to the shores of Italy. 1. What’s...
(RFI(EN) 08/17/17)
Jihadi attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso overshadowed Tuesday's UN Security Council meeting, which discussed efforts to establish peace in Africa. Delegates were mulling plans to roll out an all-African force in the Sahel to tackle the armed Islamist threat, but the plan has been beset by challenges. The Security Council condemned Monday's attacks on two UN camps in Mali, which resulted in the deaths of one UN peacekeeper, a Malian soldier and a member of the Malian gendarmerie, along...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa,...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
Al Qaeda's branch in Mali has released a video of six foreign hostages, including French naitonal Sophie Pétronin, just before a visit by France's President Emmanuel Macron to finalise the establishment of a Sahel anti-jihadi force with the leaders of five Afican countries. The undated video by Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, also known as the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, was released on Telegram on Saturday, US-based monitoring group SITE said. It featured Pétronin, the head of an NGO...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable...
(RFI 06/30/17)
French troops will work with the new force from five Sahel countries fighting armed Islamists in west and central Africa, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Thursday. "This force is first going to secure the borders, particularly in the areas where terrorist groups have developed," the newly appointed minister said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. "Accompanying them is the priority for the Barkhane operation." France has deployed soldiers in the region since January 2013, when it spearheaded...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution to back a West African force to combat terrorism and arms, drug and human trafficking in the Sahel region after France weakened the language in a bid to appease the United States. The vast, arid region has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups - some linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State - that European nations, particularly France, fear...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including...
(BBC News Africa 06/19/17)
Two EU staff were killed when gunmen stormed a tourist resort in Mali on Sunday, the bloc's foreign affairs chief has said. One victim was a Portuguese soldier while the other was a Malian woman, Federica Mogherini added. Mali's security minister said on Sunday that a Franco-Gabonese person was also killed. It is not clear how many people in total have been killed and no group has said it carried out the attack. Africa Live: Updates on this and other...
(RFI 06/12/17)
France on Friday tried to convince the US to back a call for the UN to endorse an African military force to fight jihadists, drug smugglers and people traffickers in the Sahel region after American diplomats claimed the mandate was too vague. Following an African Union request for UN backing, France presented a draft resolution on Tuesday to back a decision by Africa's G5 - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - to set up a 5,000-strong counter-terrorism force in the Sahel region. It would give a UN mandate to the G5 troops ...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
Festus Ogbonnah used to supplement his teacher’s salary by working as a part-time farmer in southeastern Nigeria until an armed band of herders moved their cattle through his field two years ago and destroyed his crops. He decided to quit working the land. “I had borrowed money to grow corn and cassava, and I lost everything,” Ogbonnah, 40, said by phone from the town of Opanda. “The herdsmen were armed with assault rifles and we couldn’t do anything about it.”...

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