Thursday 14 December 2017
(Voice of America 12/17/15)
Libya and the Sinai are “vulnerable” areas that the Islamic State group would like to exploit for potential oil revenue and recruits, officials say, as oil production and moving fighters have become more difficult in Syria and Iraq. “They are looking at the oil assets in Libya and elsewhere, but we’ll be prepared,” a senior U.S. official told reporters. The official said the U.S. is taking a “very hard look” at what’s going on at every part of the oil pipeline system in Libya, Sinai and elsewhere, from the wells to the trucking routes. Oil production in Libya has fallen from 1.5 million barrels of oil per day at the beginning of the Moammar Gadhafi-era civil war in 2011 to...
(Voice of America 12/16/15)
Africa cannot be left to foot the bill for climate change, so say leaders and specialists from the continent who attended the recent climate conference in Paris. Nearly 200 nations adopted a historic deal December 12 that aims to slow the pace of global warming and provide billions of dollars for climate change remediation to poorer countries. While it's hard to predict the impact the deal will have on Africa, it's significant that there is recognition of the continent's vulnerability, says Edith Ofwana-Adera, a senior program specialist on climate change for the International Development Research Center (IDRC), who attended the summit. "Agriculture is the backbone of many African economies,” she said. “So what's foremost in the minds of African stakeholders...
(Voice of America 12/16/15)
GENEVA— A senior U.N. official warns that increasingly children are being killed, maimed, and recruited as soldiers and suicide bombers in armed conflict. Leila Zerrougui was appointed the U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in 2012. She says the plight of children has worsened every year under her watch. 2015 is shaping up to be the worst year of all. The United Nations is tracking the status of children in 20 conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and one in Latin America. Zerrougui notes six ongoing major crises are putting the lives and futures of children at particular risk. She says tens of thousands of children are being killed and maimed, recruited as child...
(Voice of America 12/09/15)
Developing countries in Africa are battling a host of deadly infectious diseases, from diarrheal conditions to malaria to HIV, and some think India may have a way to help. But complications arise. India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, met recently with the heads of state of more than 50 African countries to discuss ways India — which has become the world's leader in the manufacture and export of generic drugs — can improve the continent's health infrastructure.
(Voice of America 12/07/15)
Ten African countries have committed to restore 31 million hectares of degraded and deforested land, under a new push to make 100 million hectares productive again by 2030. The AFR100 scheme, launched on Sunday in Paris, will be backed by $1 billion from the World Bank and additional funds from Germany, as well as $545 million in private-sector investment. "Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity," said Rwanda's Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta.
(Voice of America 12/02/15)
PARIS— France announced it will provide $2 billion to help develop renewable energy in Africa as a second day of climate talks got underway outside Paris as negotiators race to reach a climate deal by the end of next week. About $6.4 billion, over the next four years, is the amount French President Francois Hollande has promised to help with electrification in Africa. Of that, one third is to help the continent develop renewable energy. Hollande’s announcement came during a meeting with about a dozen African leaders to discuss climate threats in their countries.
(Voice of America 12/02/15)
A new study finds the rapid economic development in Africa may have serious social and environmental consequences. Huge investment projects are speeding ahead to address the urgency to expand agricultural production to feed a population that is expected to nearly quadruple this century. At the same time the continent is opening up to extensive mining, largely driven by foreign money. No overall plan or strategy exists to coordinate the many players, both foreign and domestic. “These gigantic proposals will create roads, pipelines, highways, railways and port facilities,” says William Laurance, director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. “These development corridors are going to penetrate into remote regions of Africa,” he...
(Bloomberg 12/01/15)
Naspers Ltd. plans to increase its exposure to U.S. technology startups as Africa’s biggest company by market value seeks to limit the impact of a U.S. interest-rate rise and identify new Internet growth prospects, Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk said. The company invested $100 million in September in Letgo, a U.S. mobile-only classifieds-ads application, and plans further spending on companies based around San Francisco, the CEO said in an interview on Nov. 28. Naspers could base “a number of investment professionals” in the Bay Area to identify the right deals, he said. “We will probably have more focus on the Bay Area than we’ve had previously,” Van Dijk said. “If we see the right opportunities we could see ourselves...
(BBC News Africa 11/23/15)
A giant plant using energy from the Sun to power a Moroccan city at night will open next month. The solar thermal plant at Ouarzazate will harness the Sun's warmth to melt salt, which will hold its heat to power a steam turbine in the evening. The first phase will generate for three hours after dark; the last stage aims to supply power 20 hours a day. It is part of Morocco's pledge to get 42% of its electricity from renewables by 2020. The UN has praised Morocco for the level of its ambition. The UK, a much richer country, is aiming for 30% by the same date. The Saudi-built Ouarzazate solar thermal plant will be one of the world's...
(BBC News Africa 11/13/15)
The $1.9bn (£1.2bn) European fund to tackle African migration is not sufficient, several African leaders have said after crisis talks with their European counterparts. It was one of several measures European and African leaders agreed to reduce the flow of people into Europe. The leaders said their aim was to "address the root causes of migration". The Europe-Africa meeting was planned after around 800 migrants died when their boat sank off Libya in April. Senegal's President Macky Sall, who currently heads the West African regional group Ecowas, told journalists on the sidelines of the summit that the money pledged was "not enough for the whole of Africa". Later, at the closing press conference, he said he was pleased with the...
(Dw-World 11/12/15)
Political leaders at an EU-Africa summit in Malta remain divided over conditions for curbing a mass influx of migrants. Merkel said that a relationship with Africa includes aid but also 'clear demands and expectations.' European and African leaders on Wednesday met in the Maltese capital Valletta to hash out a deal that would provide African countries with aid and improved access to the EU in exchange for assistance in curbing migration flows to Europe.
(Voice of America 11/03/15)
Backed by tanks, armored vehicles and plenty of EU cash, thousands of African soldiers took on an imaginary enemy in the arid heart of South Africa last week, the last joint exercises before a homegrown continental strike force goes live. Standing on far-away hilltops, commanders peered through night vision goggles and issued orders through helmet-mounted radios to the 5,400 troops simulating a dawn assault on rebels in the fictitious city of Kalasi marked out in the bush. The orderly maneuvers and high-tech kit elicited purrs of approval from military chiefs who tout the rapid-reaction battalion - a key part of a long-awaited African Standby Force (ASF) - as the antidote to insurrections spiraling into civil war or even genocide. "This...
(AL Jazeera 11/02/15)
In an attempt to boost trade and investment opportunities abroad, India has welcomed heads of state, policymakers, and businessmen from every country in Africa, marking the largest ever India-Africa summit. Leaders from some 54 nations descended on New Delhi this week for a summit aimed at ushering in a 'partnership of prosperity' for Africa and Africans. In contrast to the economic powerhouse China, which has been accused of exploiting the continent's vast mineral and energy resources, India positioned itself as a fairer partner to a continent tipped as the global economic growth engine of the coming decades.
(BBC News Africa 10/29/15)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced $600m (£393m) in assistance for development projects in Africa at a major summit in Delhi. More than 50 African leaders are attending the India-Africa Forum Summit, unprecedented in scale, in the Indian capital. Although India's trade with Africa has more than doubled to $72bn since 2007, it is still comparatively small. The meeting is being seen as an attempt by India to improve ties with Africa.
(BBC News Africa 10/28/15)
A parasitic-worm-killing drug, whose discovery won the Nobel prize, may also cut cases of malaria, say researchers. Early data coming out of trials of ivermectin in Burkina Faso suggest it leads to 16% fewer cases of childhood malaria. Scientists at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's conference, said the drug was toxic to blood-drinking mosquitoes. They said their findings were pretty exciting, but still at an early stage. Ivermectin is already used to kill parasitic worms, which affect a third of the world's population and cause illnesses including river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. Its discovery won this year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Mosquitoes, which spread the malaria parasite, are weakened or die if they drink the...
(Voice of America 10/19/15)
VATICAN CITY— Pope Francis will meet slum dwellers and refugees and call for dialogue between Christians and Muslims when he visits Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic next month, the Vatican said on Saturday. The trip, his first to Africa, is fraught with security concerns and the pope will spend about two days in each country and visit only the capitals. Since his election as the first Latin American pope, Francis has met the most needy on each of his 10 foreign tours. In Nairobi, he will visit Kangemi, a slum that is home to 650,000 people. He will also hold an interreligious meeting and say a Mass at a university in the capital. Late November The Kenya stop had...
(Voice of America 10/19/15)
The head of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) says it is the responsibility of African regional blocs to prevent heads of state in their respective regions from changing the constitution that paves way for them to seek new terms after their terms expire. NEPAD is an economic development program of the African Union, which aims to provide the vision and policy framework for accelerating economic co-operation and integration among African countries. In an interview with VOA, Dr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki says the African Peer Review Mechanism is not to blame for the lack of action on strengthening democratic institutions on the African continent. Several African countries including Rwanda and Congo Republic plan to change the constitution that would...
(Ips News 10/17/15)
London — My friend Kofi Boa is a Ghanaian agronomist who is probably the biggest advocate for conservation farming in Africa. For decades, Kofi has taught farmers how to increase their yields using no-till, cover crops and other techniques. He once showed me a demonstration plot I've never forgotten: it was a sloped field planted with corn, divided into three equal areas. On the first section, he used traditional plowing and at the bottom were five barrels full of soil - the run-off from a single rainy season. The second plot he strip-tilled, and there was one barrel of soil that had washed down. On the third section he never tilled the soil at all. That field had a strong...
(African arguments 10/14/15)
The economist celebrated for putting inequality on the mainstream agenda visited the world's most unequal country. French socialist and economist Thomas Piketty was in Johannesburg last week to deliver the 13th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture. While it's now a huge cliché to refer to him as the 'rockstar economist', there is no denying Piketty's arrival created a flurry of hype among savants and dilettantes alike - united in the fact that few of them had actually read his magnum opus Capital, pretty much like the other famous Kapital*. Piketty was received in Africa as if the Pope or MJ were in town. Attending the lecture at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto camps required facing an epic traffic jam in the...
(Voice of America 10/10/15)
In the next few months, African voters will go the polls in several countries, including Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Guinea and the Central African Republic. In many instances, it is not clear who is likely to win, even in countries where polls show the leadership to be unpopular. That’s because there are competing pressures between pro-democracy reformers and governments exercising new ways to maintain power. Often, long-established governments have retained the upper hand. The days of overt ballot box stuffing may be over, but Jennifer Cooke, the Africa director for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said authoritarian regimes are now using subtle and even legalistic ways to defeat opponents. They include strict media regulations, broadly interpreted security...

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