Tuesday 24 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
Morocco's phosphate industry giant OCP on Thursday accused South Africa of "political piracy" by detaining a Moroccan cargo vessel loaded with phosphate from the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The South African judiciary had "passed an eminently political decision and committed a gross abuse of power", Morocco's state-run group said in a statement. The 34,000-tonne ship bound for New Zealand via Port Elizabeth in South Africa has been blocked from sailing since the start of May following a court application seeking that the vessel return its cargo. The application filed by the Polisario Front, which seeks the independence of Western Sahara, asks for the return of the phosphate "removed in contravention of the international principle", said Webber Wintzel, a lawyer...
(AFP (eng) 07/12/17)
Egypt and Morocco's airlines have said a ban against carry-on laptops on US-bound flights has been lifted, leaving only two Saudi airports under the restrictions put in place in March. Morocco's Royal Air Maroc said in a statement Wednesday that the ban, imposed amid fears the Islamic State group was developing a bomb concealed in electronics, would be lifted as of Thursday. EgyptAir said late Tuesday that the United States had also lifted the ban for the carrier's flights to New York from Wednesday. The ban remains in place for Saudi Arabia's two main international airports in Riyadh and Jeddah. The original ban affected airports in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, as well...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/11/17)
Morocco's general prosecutor said he would investigate the leaking of a video of a detained protest leader from the northern Rif region that has sparked widespread anger and accusations he had been abused. Protest organizer Nasser Zefzafi shows his arms, legs and torso to the camera in the video, posted on Monday by a website known for its ties to the security services. The website framed the video as evidence against claims of ill-treatment, but marks and bruises are visible on Zefzafi's face and lower back. Within hours, the site removed the video as Moroccans, including some who usually support the government, expressed outrage on social media. Before his arrest on May 29, Zefzafi led protests against corruption and unemployment...
(APA 07/11/17)
Moroccan peacekeepers deployed in Bria in the north central region of the Central African Republic (CAR) have been withdrawn, MINUSCA announced on Monday. MINUSCA the UN Integrated Multidimensional Mission for Stabilization in the Central African Republic said on a private radio station in Bangui, the nation’s capital, that the decision came at the end of the demonstration staged by inhabitants of Bria last Thursday, demanding the withdrawal of the Moroccan contingent from Bria, for “bias” in their security activities. “Depending on operational requirements, we very often have contingents or parts of the contingents across the country that move from...
(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 ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(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, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(AFP (eng) 07/05/17)
Morocco's top diplomat said Tuesday that the United Nations is to lead efforts to end a dispute over a partially recognised state in Western Sahara that Rabat considers its territory. Speaking in Addis Ababa at his first African Union summit since Morocco returned to the bloc in January, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the AU had backed the move. Morocco left the AU in 1984 after the latter admitted the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, proclaimed by the separatist Polisario Front in Western Sahara. Bourita said he was "very satisfied" by the AU decision to allow the UN to lead attempts to resolve the Western Sahara question, with a resolution urging "appropriate support" of the UN Secretary General's efforts. "The manoeuvres,...
(AFP (eng) 07/04/17)
Moroccan security forces have begun withdrawing from the restive northern cities of Al-Hoceima and Imzouren, which have been rocked by weeks of social unrest, officials and residents said. A "gradual" pullback from both cities began on Monday at the request of King Mohammed VI, the governor of Al-Hoceima province, Fouad Chourak, told reporters. A resident of Al-Hoceima, who spoke to AFP by telephone Tuesday, confirmed the pullback. "Policemen have withdrawn from the central square in Al-Hoceima," the resident said. "Only a few policemen in civilian clothes are left."
(Reuters 07/04/17)
Morocco's surprise delay in announcing its proposed currency liberalization came only because the government needed "further studies" of the plan, Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani said, dismissing speculation that it ran into significant problems. Last week, Morocco's central bank postponed for "a few days" its planned announcement of the first phase of liberalizing the dirham, a key reform backed by the International Monetary Fund. The central back gave no reason for the delay. In a weekend interview on Morocco's two public television channels, Othmani said he met with Finance Minister Mohammed Boussaid and central bank Governor Abdellatif Jouahri to discuss the move to a flexible currency regime and...
(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 to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(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 so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(Agence Ecofin 07/03/17)
What if land was the answer to the protests currently taking place in Al Hoceima ? Well, it seems the government believes so, according to the minister of agriculture, Aziz Akhannouch, who made the announcement while commencing a visit in the region last Thursday. Others issues brought up by the official on that occasion include land property in rural areas which is one of the main sources of conflicts and anger of protestors. “In Béni Amaret, the minister attended a meeting where Karm Tajmouati, head of the national land conservation agency, revealed that all rural lands situated in the Al Hoceima province will be registered by 2021. A decision which falls under a programme launched this year in nine communities,...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(APA 06/27/17)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) provided Morocco a $88 million loan to support its National Programme to Promote the Economic Usage of Irrigation Water (PAPNEEI 2). The scheme’s total cost is $96.9 million of which government provides $8.9 million. The initiative which is to last six years (2017-2022) aims to improve the living conditions of rural populations and agricultural production through the sound and sustainable management of irrigation water. In details, it will cover an area 25,758ha regrouping 10,250 farms in the river basins of Oum Errabia and Loukkos in the North...
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
Morocco's king has rebuked ministers over delays to a development programme meant to pump investment into a region rocked by months of protests over unemployment and perceived state neglect. Mohammed VI told ministers Sunday of his "disappointment, dissatisfaction and concern" that the $670 million (600 million euro) programme in the northern Rif region was behind schedule, according to a cabinet statement. He also cancelled the annual leave of ministers involved in programme so they can "monitor" its progress, it said. The Rif's main port, Al-Hoceima, has been rocked...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Authorities in Morocco on Thursday dismantled a suspected "terrorist cell" linked to the Islamic State group and accused of plotting major attacks on tourist sites, the government said. Four suspected cell members were detained and weapons were seized from them during the arrest operation in the Atlantic coast resort town of Essaouira, said the interior ministry. They had been planning to carry out "large-scale" attacks on "sensitive installations and tourist sites of Essaouira", it said in a statement. The group also intended to "broaden the scope of its terrorist operations to other cities of the kingdom," it alleged. The security services in Morocco have regularly announced the dismantling of IS cells and arrests of suspected jihadist recruiters in the past...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...

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