| Africatime
Tuesday 28 March 2017
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
One early morning last week, Adam's fellow migrants managed to climb over the high border fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. Adam, a 17-year-old from Guinea, failed and suffered a dangerous concussion in the process -- but he has not given up his dream of reaching European Union territory. "It was night-time and I was very scared. I was hit on the head as I climbed the fence and lost consciousness," he said, lying in a hospital bed in the northern town of Tetouan, a blood-soaked bandage on his head. His shredded clothes still bear the marks of that traumatic night, when hundreds of migrants stormed the border in a final attempt to reach Europe after months,...
(AFP (eng) 02/17/17)
Hundreds of migrants stormed into Spain's North African territory of Ceuta from Morocco early Friday, the emergency services and police said, adding that some were injured in the process. "The Civil Guard at Ceuta estimates that 500 people could have succeeded in entering the town," the emergency services said on Twitter. The Civil Guard, or paramilitary police, meanwhile told AFP that "several hundreds" crossed over and many of them were hurt, as were members of the security forces. The last such attempt took place on New Year's Day when more than 1,000 migrants tried to jump a high double...
(Xinhuanet 02/17/17)
A Moroccan court sentenced on Thursday 26 people to up to 7 years in jail in terrorism-related cases. In the first case involving 14 people, the main defendant was sentenced to seven years in prison, while another received a six-year jail sentence and the remaining 12 got four-year jail sentences. The culprits were sued for "forming a gang to commit terrorist attacks within the framework of a collective plot to seriously undermine public order, and praising terrorist acts". In other cases, the defendants, including a minor, were sentenced in prison ranging from two to six years, for "forming a gang to commit terrorist attacks, praising terrorist acts and failing to report a terrorist crime." According to official figures, Morocco busted...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready to make a new deal to help Nigeria "in terms of military weapons." The statement said Trump also commended Buhari for the strides Nigeria is making against Islamist radical group Boko Haram, and invited Buhari to come to Washington at...
(Xinhuanet 02/10/17)
Morocco's 23rd international book fair, which brings together 100,000 books and expects hundreds of thousands of visitors, kicked off on Thursday in the financial city of Casablanca. This year's edition was inaugurated by Morocco's king brother prince Moulay Rachid. Organized by Morocco's Ministry of Culture on Feb. 9-19, the annual book fair is attended by 54 countries. According to the organizers, the fair expects to welcome about 350,000 visitors who will discover titles from 702 publishers. This book fair will host the 2nd edition of the "copyright assignment platform," and will award the Ibn Batouta Prize for travel literature. It will also feature thematic conferences, poetic evenings, signatures of books and workshops for children.
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first choice for regular Champions League entrants Coton Sport from northern Cameroon cotton town Garoua. Coton qualified for the 2008 final, losing to Al Ahly of Egypt, but have fared poorly recently with first round exits in the past two seasons...
(Standard Digital 02/09/17)
Hundreds of business and political personalities yesterday attended a German-African economic summit in Nairobi, where German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Mueller talked about his “Marshall Plan” for Africa. The plan is “with Africa, not for Africa,” Mueller (pictured) said, stressing that it would be based on cooperation between equals rather than the principles of traditional development aid. The plan, which Mueller presented to the German parliament’s development committee on Wednesday, is based on fair trade conditions, investment and increasing aid for educational projects. One of the goals of the plan, which the German opposition received with scepticism, is to curb migratory flows from Africa to Europe. Mueller called on German companies to focus on Africa, which he...
(AL Jazeera 02/08/17)
The EU must espouse a transnational approach with a clear development agenda that replaces its current security policy. One year ago, 22-year-old Patrick left Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, to become a football star in Europe. A talented midfielder and an ambitious young man, Patrick felt compelled to reach Europe to help him to realise his dreams. But, as he passed through Agadez in Niger, which has become a major transit hub for migrants taking the Central Mediterranean route, reality proved to be grimmer than he had anticipated. Patrick and two of his male relatives, also travelling from Douala, were beaten, robbed and held captive by organised predatory groups. Finally, their tumultuous journey came to an end in Algeria,...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/17)
The EU and Morocco agreed Tuesday to push ahead with an agriculture trade accord, a day after Rabat warned Brussels that failure to do so would damage ties. "Ours is a model partnership, rich and multi-dimensional. The EU and Morocco are determined to preserve and develop it," EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said in a joint statement with Nasser Bourita, a senior Moroccan diplomat, after talks in Brussels. "Talks between the EU and Morocco will continue in an atmosphere of serenity and mutual confidence," they said. Morocco suspended ties with Brussels last year after an EU court annulled the trade deal on the grounds
(AFP (eng) 02/06/17)
Morocco's government on Monday warned the European Union that its failure to fully implement an agriculture deal with Rabat would have severe consequences and could spur illegal migration. The North African nation and the European Union signed in 2012 a multi-million-euro fishing and agriculture trade agreement. Two years later the deal was quashed by a European court after a challenge from the Polisario Front which seeks independence for the disputed territory of Western Sahara. But the EU's top court of justice overturned that verdict in December 2016, setting the stage for the reinstatement of the agreement although the ruling did not say so explicitly. Morocco's agriculture and fisheries ministry said in a statement Monday that the last ruling "in all...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is expected to raise about $500 million for its new African investment fund, attracting less than its original goal as investor interest in the region proved weaker than anticipated, according to people familiar with the matter. The Toronto-based insurer sought to raise as much as $1 billion at $10 a share for Fairfax Africa Holdings Corp. in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a regulatory filing in December. Fairfax said it had secured as much as $416 million in commitments for the African venture from both its own funds and partners, including the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, a Canadian pension fund and CI Investments Inc., according to the...
(Xinhuanet 02/03/17)
Morocco has strongly denounced Sunday's attack against a Saudi frigate west of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, the Moroccan foreign ministry said Thursday in a statement. According to Saudi Press Agency, Houthi militants attacked the Saudi warship with three suicide bombing boats, causing an explosion that killed two crew members and injured three others. While expressing deep condolences and compassion to the Saudi government and people, Morocco reaffirms its full solidarity with Saudi Arabia and its support to Saudi efforts aiming at restoring legality in Yemen, the statement pointed out.
(Xinhuanet 02/03/17)
T20 Africa Conference, the meeting for the G20 think tanks and African countries, ended on Friday in Johannesburg with a commitment to accelerate cooperation between the G20 and Africa. The three-day conference aimed to chart a course for the future cooperation between Africa and the G20. The day ended with the formulation of the communique which will be given to the current G20 chair Germany. The communique will also be the reference for further discussion between Africa and T20. T20 comprises of the G20 think tanks. Dr. Christine Hackenesch, researcher at the German Development Institute (DIE) said, "There was an agreement that there must be a continuous and sustained engagement between G20 and Africa because there is a strong dependence...
(Agence Ecofin 02/02/17)
Morocco is looking at issuing bonds worth about $1 billion on the international market this year. According to a senior official from Morocco’s ministry of finance who asked not to be named, the fundraising will be the Kingdom’s first step toward plugging its budget deficit, Reuters reports. While this deficit is expected to expand to 3% of the gross domestic product for 2017, the nation might issue its first Islamic bond on its domestic market during the first half of the year. Morocco is thus taking advantage of the favorable rates of the debt market. Based on forecasts by the International Monetary Fund and on its Finance bill, the economy should grow by 4.4% - 4.5%. Aaron Akinocho
(Reuters (Eng) 02/02/17)
African leaders have backed a "strategy of collective withdrawal" from the International Criminal Court (ICC), but it came with unspecified reservations, an African Union official said on Wednesday after this week's African Union summit. The official did not give details about the strategy or the reservations, but it highlights broad antipathy towards the court among Africans who feel the ICC unfairly targets them. A document seen by Reuters before the summit proposed a co-ordinated withdrawal unless the ICC was reformed. It included a call for "regionalization" of international law, a reference to proposals for an African war crimes court. Almost a third of the ICC's 124 members are African, and a withdrawal by a large number of them would cripple...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/01/17)
Morocco rejoined the club of African states on Tuesday, 33 years after quitting over recognition of Western Sahara, bringing one of Africa's largest economies into the fold and raising hopes of a softening of one of its thorniest territorial disputes. Capping a year-long charm offensive that mirrored a broader investment push into Africa, Morocco's King Mohammed VI was cheered as he took his seat for the first time in the Addis Ababa headquarters of the 55-nation African Union (AU), one of the few international fora to recognize rival Western Sahara. Rabat left the AU's predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, in 1984 in anger at its acceptance of the phosphate-rich territory on Africa's north Atlantic coast as a full-blown member...
(Xinhuanet 02/01/17)
South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday expressed regret over the readmission of Morocco to the African Union (AU). The ANC "notes the regrettable decision" by the AU to readmit Morocco into the organization, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement. The 54-member AU voted overwhelmingly to readmit Morocco following a lengthy debate at the 28th AU Summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Monday. Thirty-nine of the 54 states approved Morocco's return to the AU. "This decision represents a significant setback to the cause of the Sahrawi people and their quest for self-determination and independence in the Western Sahara," Kodwa said. The ANC notes that the AU decision paves the way for the...
(Xinhuanet 02/01/17)
Newly elected senior officials of the African Union (AU) Commission, including Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, were sworn in on Tuesday at the conclusion of the 28th AU summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. In addition to the two top officials, other officials took the oath for positions including, peace and security; political affairs; trade and industry; social affairs; infrastructure and energy; and rural economy and agriculture. The 28th AU summit also elected Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea, for a rotating chairmanship of the African Union. In his acceptance speech on Monday, Conde said, "It is with honor and humility that I accept to preside at the destiny of our Organization during the year...

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