Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects for greater African integration. However, the agreement will still have to be ratified at a national level, and is only due to come into force in 180 days. The full list of countries which did...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
The African Export-Import Bank said it will invest up to $1.5 billion (1.2 billion euros) in fishing, mining and financial projects in Mauritania, as the mineral-rich north African desert nation seeks to diversify its economy. Afreximbank, based in Cairo, was set up by African countries in 1993 to promote and finance trade within the African continent and trade between Africa and other continents. Speaking to reporters on a visit to Nouakchott late Monday, Afreximbank president Benedict Okey Oramah said that the money was being earmarked for infrastructure projects and the private sector and banks in particular. Mauritania has seen economic growth pick up in recent years, with rural development helping to reduce poverty, according to the World Bank. Around $1...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
The International Monetary Fund is holding a two-day regional conference from Monday in Morocco with a message of reform amid growing "frustration" among the population of some Arab states. "Rising social tensions and protests in several countries across the Middle East and North Africa are a clear indication that the aspirations of the people of the region, for opportunity, prosperity and equity, remain unfulfilled," said Jihad Azour, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department. "Reforms are the...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Sitting by a tent in the vast, sun-bleached Mauritanian desert, 71-year-old Elisabeth Godin smiles, unconcerned about her safety despite warnings from her friends and family. For most of the last decade, the spectacular dunes, barren canyons and oases of the Adrar region have been a no-go zone for European nationals. The danger of terrorist attacks and kidnappings is still real, reflected by Mauritania's decision to join four other countries in fighting jihadism in the Sahel. But after France eased its...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Standing around market stalls in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, currency traders have twin causes for celebration -- the New Year and a surge in business. A revamp of the national currency is prompting many Mauritanians to haul out stashes of old banknotes, which they are rushing to convert into dollars and euros. The rise in demand follows a decision by the Mauritanian government to knock a zero off the currency, the ouguiya. On January 1, new polymer bills were introduced...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Small lines formed at banks in Mauritania on New Year's Day as customers withdrew new banknotes and swapped cheque books after the government revamped the currency, the ouguiya, in a bid to fight inflation. Ten ouguiyas became one ouguiya as of January 1, requiring new banknotes and a six-month phasing out of the old ones, starting with the largest denomination of 5,000 ouguiya ($14.10, 11.76 euros). President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced the change on November 28, the West African state's national holiday. The revamp, he said, would the ouguiya "to resume its place in financial transactions...
(Agence Ecofin 12/15/17)
On Monday, December 6, the IMF’s executive board approved a 3-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility for Mauritania. The arrangement is for 115.92 million Special Drawing Rights (SDRs); this equals to $163.9 million. It will support the economic and financial reforms program in the country. The board’s decision enables an immediate disbursement of 16.56 million SDRs (about $23.4 million) for Mauritania. The remaining amount will be paid in various instalments over the program’s period, subject to semi-annual reviews. According...
(APA 11/14/17)
Nigeria, Senegal and Cape Verde dominate the West African hotel pipeline with 77 percent of the total planned hotel rooms. W Hospitality Group’s 2017 Hotel Chains Pipeline report shows that hotel groups need tackle lengthy development periods in West Africa, according to a press release issued by API Events and seen by APA Tuesday. West Africa has been at the heart of the continent’s growth and economic transformation in recent years. Notwithstanding the sharp slowdown experienced in 2016 and 2017,...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/14/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - The global airline industry has $1.2 billion blocked in nine dollar-strapped African countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday. The global commodities price crash that began in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, particularly big resource exporters such as Angola and Nigeria. Low oil and mineral prices have reduced government revenue and caused chronic dollar shortages and immense pressure on local currencies. The fiscal slump has meant governments have not allowed foreign airlines to...
(Agence Ecofin 10/31/17)
Having become an Associated State last August, Mauritania now, after 17 years of absence, wishes to become a full ECOWAS member. The first session of the ECOWAS-Mauritania integration council was thus held last October 27. Present at the session were Robert Dussey, the Togolese minister of foreign affairs who is also the actual president of ECOWAS ministers’ council, Naha Mint Hamdi Ould Mouknass, Mauritania’s minister of trade, industry and tourism, Isselkou Ahmed Izid Bih, head of the Mauritanian diplomacy and...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
The United States will pledge $60 million to support the new G5 Sahel regional counter-terrorism force, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday, ahead of UN talks on the operation. "This is a fight we must win, and these funds will play a key role in achieving that mission," he said, describing G5 members Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger as "regional partners." Washington has previously expressed support for the force, and has troops and drone operators in the...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/30/17)
UNITED NATIONS/ABIDJAN (Reuters) - The United States has promised up to $60 million to support the Group of Five Sahel States (G5 Sahel) Joint Force’s counter-terrorism efforts, the State Department said on Monday. The force - which will eventually comprise nearly 5,000 troops units from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania - is meant to counter a growing jihadist threat in West Africa’s arid Sahel region that includes groups linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic State. It is due...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
Mauritania on Monday called for more support to roll out an anti-jihadist force in Africa's Sahel region where the deployment of 5,000 troops has been delayed by a lack of financing. The new joint force being set up by five countries of the Sahel region -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- has an annual budget of about $496 million (422 million euros) a year, but only about $127 million has been pledged so far. Khadijetou Mbareck Fall,...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...

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