Saturday 16 December 2017
(Voice of America 04/30/16)
More than 200 people, including three African presidents, attended the opening of a three-day summit Friday near Mount Kenya, where activists and officials have gathered to discuss the future of Africa’s elephants and their habitats. Poaching has escalated to alarming heights in recent years, as 100,000 African elephants were killed between 2010 and 2012 alone. Tens of thousands continue to be poached every year across the continent. The goal of the event is to find ways to stop the slaughter of Africa’s elephants, protecting at least 50 percent of these animals and their landscapes by 2020. And to do so, conservationists say that government leaders must flex their political muscle in support of the cause. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta gave...
(BBC News Africa 04/28/16)
A conflict in the disputed territory of Western Sahara in north-west Africa may flare up again if the UN's peacekeeping mission is not fully restored, an African Union (AU) envoy has warned. The UN brokered a truce between Morocco and the indigenous Saharawi people in 1991, ending a 16-year insurgency. Last month, Morocco expelled 84 UN civilian staff after the UN chief used the term "occupation" about the region. This has hampered the UN mission, whose mandate is up for renewal this month. Morocco has threatened to pull out the soldiers it contributes to UN global peacekeeping missions, mainly in Africa, over the row. "The Western Sahara problem may be seen as a small problem, but let us not forget...
(BBC News Africa 04/28/16)
The call for better management of sport is heard across Africa - often as a lament, more regularly as an outburst of barely contained frustration. In football, former Ajax and Juventus defender Sunday Oliseh recently quit as Nigeria's national football coach, citing contractual violations and lack of support from his local federation. Months earlier, Zimbabwe were disqualified from the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament after its football association failed to pay a former national coach. In athletics, Kenya only recently averted the threat of disqualification from the 2016 Olympic Games because of its previously long-standing failure to implement robust drugs-testing procedures - nearly 40 athletes have failed tests in the last four years. And yet Kenya would surely be far...
(Voice of America 04/25/16)
Foreign policy almost always takes a back seat to domestic concerns during the U.S. presidential campaign season. Candidates rarely win over any voters in diners in New Hampshire or town hall events in Iowa touting their plans for economic investment and security frameworks in Africa. In 1999, then-candidate George W. Bush went so far as to declare Africa “irrelevant” to U.S. foreign policy during his first presidential run.
(Voice of America 04/21/16)
Starbucks, the coffee chain ubiquitous in U.S. cities, has spread to sub-Saharan Africa with the opening Thursday of a new location in Johannesburg. The company announced in July it would be partnering with Taste Holdings to bring a number of stores to South Africa. A group of people lined up outside the Johannesburg store before it opened, including some who waited there for seven hours. Starbucks has more than 23,000 locations around the world. Before Thursday, the only African locations were in Egypt and Morocco. The company says it gets a "considerable amount" of its coffee from farms in sub-Saharan Africa working with its centers supporting farmers in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. Those centers opened not long after Ethiopia accused...
(BBC News Africa 04/12/16)
A Moroccan man has gone on trial in the German city of Duesseldorf accused of sexual assault - the first such trial for New Year's Eve sex crimes which shocked the nation. Most of the attacks took place in Cologne, where more than 550 complaints of sexual assault were made. Police say many of attackers may never be caught. Several North African men have been convicted of theft. A woman identified the Duesseldorf suspect when he was interviewed on TV. The 33-year-old man, identified only as Toufik M, was allegedly in a group of men who surrounded the woman and sexually molested her. Accused of sexual coercion and assault, he entered the courtroom hiding his face with a coat. Giving...
(The Wall Street Journal 04/12/16)
Fortune seekers across Africa are clambering down gold shafts closed by some of the world’s biggest miners, fueling dystopian conflicts between companies waiting out a commodity rout and poor villagers with little to lose. The result is a chaotic and often deadly tableau playing out deep underground across the mineral-rich continent. Dozens of miners have been killed in subterranean gunfights over turf ceded by mining companies, many of whom fear the collateral damage to shaft walls and winches could make it impossible to open them again. In Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s No. 3 gold producer, closed shafts at its Obuasi mine in late 2014, as the mine hemorrhaged cash amid sinking metals prices. Early this year, hundreds of...
(BBC News Africa 04/09/16)
A mobile insurance scheme to help small-scale farmers in Kenya ensure their agricultural produce against drought and other natural disasters is spreading to other parts of Africa, as Neil Ford explains. A greater proportion of sub-Saharan Africans work in agriculture than anywhere else on the planet but only 6% of the population of Africa and the Middle East have any form of agricultural insurance. "The insurance man" was a feature of many Western countries in past decades. Local agents collected tiny sums on a weekly basis to provide cover against long-term illness, funeral costs and unemployment. Kenya has now adopted this model for the 21st Century via mobile handsets. Farmers with as little as one acre of land can insure...
(Forbes 04/01/16)
Africa seems to be the only continent today that is regularly referred to as a country. It bristles me every time I hear it said. It’s reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s chatter with the press aboard Air Force One in late 1982 on his way back to the US from a Presidential visit to Latin America: “I learned a lot down there…You’d be surprised, because, you know, they’re all individual countries.” As a relatively freshly minted PhD in international business economics at the time, I thought a statement like that coming from the President of the United States was more than odd. Just as such an utterance was, of course, grossly naïve, if not insulting, to Latin Americans, so too is...
(Voice of America 03/25/16)
Morocco's foreign minister says the government's decision to reduce the number of United Nations staff at the Western Sahara mission is "irreversible." The Moroccan government and the U.N. have been at odds since Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon visited a camp in Algeria housing refugees from Western Sahara and used the term "occupation" in reference to their plight. Thousands of people demonstrated against the U.N. across Morocco in response last week, carrying banners like "Ban Ki-moon threatens the U.N. process," denouncing Ban's "lack of neutrality" on the issue.
(BBC News Africa 03/25/16)
Local authorities in Morocco have banned the activities of 'ultra' fan groups following Saturday's riot in Casablanca that left three people dead and 54 reported to have been injured. Rival Raja Casablanca fan groups fought among themselves after their side's 2-1 victory over Chabab Rif Al Hoceima. It is understood fans will still be allowed at the Mohammed V stadium. However, items such as flares and banners are expected to be prohibited under the new ruling. Three-time African champions Raja and its fans have come under intense pressure since the trouble. Two fans were reported dead on Saturday before a third succumbed to his injuries earlier this week. "To ensure the safety of citizens and preserve public order, it has...
(Bloomberg 03/22/16)
The corn that is a food staple for much of southern Africa is now so expensive it has become a luxury many can’t afford, after the worst drought in three decades damaged crops from Ethiopia to South Africa. In Malawi, one of a dozen nations affected by the dry spell, Meleniya Mateyu says she has to forage for wild water-lily roots called nyika from streams and swamps to feed her two orphaned grandchildren. The small amount of grain she gets from an aid agency is barely enough for them to eat during one meal a day. “We are surviving on nyika,” Mateyu said in an interview at her village in the southern district of Chikwawa, about 50 kilometers (31 miles)...
(BBC News Africa 03/21/16)
Two people were killed in fighting among fans of Raja de Casablanca on Saturday, the Moroccan Football Federation (FMRFF) has confirmed. Fans threw flares and ripped up parts of the Mohammed V stadium after Raja's 2-1 victory over Chabab Rif Al Hoceima. The country's DGSN security service said in a statement that 31 people were arrested for "acts of vandalism". FMRFF has banned fans from the next five Raja home matches and fined the club 100,000 dirhams (£7,170). Footage on Moroccan media showed the fans, dressed in the club's green colours, charging at each other. It was unclear how the clashes had erupted. DGSN revealed 10 people had been arrested prior to the game. Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into the fan trouble.
(CNN 03/21/16)
What makes a country happy? Is it wealth, freedom or a trustworthy government? According to the latest World Happiness Report, compiled by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations, all these factors are key, and measuring happiness is fast becoming a good measure of social progress. Six key factors were measured to establish a global ranking of the happiest countries; GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption. Only five African countries rank among the top 100, and eight of the last ten overall are in Sub-Saharan Africa, having ranked very low on some of the key factors that lead to happiness. Here are the first ten African...
(Voice of America 03/18/16)
Morocco has ordered 84 U.N. peacekeepers out of Western Sahara after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Moroccan authority over the territory an "occupation." Morocco, which considers the area as part of Morocco itself, accused Ban of giving up his "neutrality" on the matter. The Foreign Ministry gave the U.N. mission three days to withdraw its members, calling its decision "irreversible." U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the forced withdrawal of such a large number of staff would "seriously impede" the mission's functioning and violated the deal between Morocco and the U.N.
(BBC News Africa 03/17/16)
Morocco has threatened to pull its soldiers out of UN global peacekeeping missions in a row over the disputed territory of Western Sahara. It is furious with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after he used the term "occupation" about the territory, which was annexed by Morocco in 1975. The foreign ministry also said it would immediately cut funding and personnel for the UN Mission in Western Sahara. Up to a million Moroccans protested in the capital Rabat on Sunday. Mr Ban has criticised Morocco for its angry response to his comments and said that the protests had shown disrespect to both him and the UN. Morocco currently contributes more than 2,300 soldiers and police to UN peacekeeping missions, mainly in African...
(The New Times 03/15/16)
In pursuit of socio-economic transformation, African countries have often tried to either follow into the Western or Asian development footprints, often too, oblivious to the fact that their systems may not be compatible back home. During the first day of the inaugural African Transformation Forum (ATF) in Kigali, yesterday, several economists said Africa does not need to follow anyone’s development model but rather chart its own path to unlock rapid and sustained growth. The two-day meeting is co-hosted by African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), one of Africa’s leading think-tanks, and the Government of Rwanda.
(Voice of America 03/10/16)
As Islamic State militants gain territory in Libya, Morocco is facing a growing threat from IS, government intelligence reports and analysts say. Moroccan authorities said Monday that an IS cell was broken up as it planned to unleash explosives in public places. The news followed the arrest in February of suspected IS militants who were allegedly plotting biological attacks. According to recent reports, jihadist Moroccans are joining IS in Libya and are increasing communication and coordination with sympathizers back home. "In 2015, reports indicated that up to 300 Moroccans were training in Libya. So it stands to reason that these militants will one day seek to return home and plan attacks when they do," said Sarah Feuer, a North Africa...
(Voice of America 03/09/16)
Climate change is threatening some of Africa's most important crops, including corn, beans and bananas, and scientists warn that the agriculture system there needs some adjustments, and fast. The problem is, as climate change has a greater impact on the continent's crops, some areas currently growing staple crops won't be able to support them. The study was done by the University of Leeds and was released in Nature Climate Change. Staple crops at risk The numbers are startling. A full 30 percent of African farmland currently growing corn and bananas won't support those crops by by the end of the century. And an even more troubling 60 percent of land being used to grow beans won't be able to support...
(Cnbc Africa 03/08/16)
Dangote Group, the company owned by Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote, said on Monday it plans to buy phosphate from Morocco and potash from Congo-Brazzaville to feed a planned fertilizer plant. Dangote has raised a $3.3 billion loan to develop a $9 billion oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer. The group has invested $3.5 billion of its own equity. Dangote told a business forum in Lagos his firm was close to sign a deal with a Moroccan firm to supply phosphate, without giving details. He also said his planned oil refinery would have a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day, up from an initial plan of 400,000 bpd. "We can actually build...

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