Sunday 22 October 2017
(The Guardian 08/25/17)
US labour unions cite Mauritania’s unwillingness to act on slavery as Trump administration is urged to deny country duty-free exports. The routine abuse of thousands of enslaved Mauritanians, including rape, beatings and unpaid labour, should prevent the African republic from receiving US trade benefits, American labour unions have said. Mauritania, which has one of the highest rates of modern-day slavery in the world and has been roundly criticised for its poor human rights record, is currently on a list of countries that benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The act, designed to promote the economic development of countries that can show they uphold human rights and meet labour standards
(APA 08/25/17)
Mauritania has more than 900 varieties of mineral, including iron, gold, copper, quartz, uranium, phosphate, manganese and chromium, the Secretary General of the Mauritanian Ministry of Oil, Energy and Mines, Mohamed Ould Chrif Ahmed said. Speaking at a mining seminar on Thursday in Nouakchott, Mohamed Ould Chrif Ahmed said in order to create the conditions for optimal investment, the government of Mauritania has adopted a strategy to modernize and develop mineral resources via an incentive mining code, a favorable competitiveness and the construction of basic infrastructures. Emphasis was also placed on good governance, the Mauritanian official said; commending the results obtained which enabled the country to occupy the top ranks on the transparency and good governance index. Mauritania produces iron,...
(Bloomberg 08/24/17)
Every African nation that’s sold dollar debt now has at least one junk rating, but it would be hard to tell by looking at the bond market. The average yield on sovereign Eurobonds in Africa has hovered near the lowest level in two years this month, according to a Standard Bank Group Ltd. index, even after Moody’s Investors Service cut Namibia to below investment grade on Aug. 11. The world’s biggest producer of marine diamonds had been the continent’s only dollar-bond issuer without a junk rating. A low interest rate environment in the developed world has encouraged investors to look past the problems plaguing African economies, including low commodity prices, dollar shortages in some of them and rising political tension...
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
China is dedicated to enhancing its cooperation with Africa in human resource development through knowledge and technology transfer, a Chinese diplomat said Tuesday. Liu Tao, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, made the remarks at the Chinese Government Training Program Fellowship Reception in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. He said China, since the year 2000, has sent over 2,000 agricultural experts and over 7,000 medical personnel to Africa, and has trained more than 80,000 Africans from more than 50 countries. China has pledged that it would, in three years, train 200,000 technicians and provide 40,000 training opportunities in China, and will offer 30,000 government scholarships, he said. Stating that 1,100 Ethiopian candidates are invited this year to attend short-term...
(Xinhuanet 08/22/17)
African officials on Monday called for urgent infrastructural development and regional integration to boost the continent's economy. At the Infrastructure Africa 2017 in Johannesburg, Zambian Minister of Finance Felix Mutati encouraged Africans to speedily address infrastructural deficit. "We have to inject some sense of urgency in ourselves. If we remain captured by business as usual, we are headed for disaster," said Mutati at the opening ceremony of the two-day event. "Competitiveness in Africa is being constrained by infrastructure deficit. We need about 93 billion U.S. dollars every year to address the infrastructure gap in the continent. We need to urgently implement projects," he said. Mutati said Africa has to narrow focus to innovative financing and design, better use of existing...
(AFP (eng) 08/21/17)
Kenya are to play friendlies against Togo and Mauritania in Morocco as part of their build-up for the African Nations Championships (CHAN) which they are hosting in January 2018. The warm-ups featuring local-based players will be played in Rabat on August 31 and September 4. "Whereas AFCON 2019 qualifiers and the FIFA Rankings remain crucial for us going forward, CHAN 2018, which will be hosted in Kenya is equally important, and we are happy to have secured the two friendlies," Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chief executive officer Robert Githiomi said. The CHAN 2018 championship scheduled to be held between January 11 and February
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “Smaller towers can run...
(AFP (eng) 08/16/17)
Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has approved a newly drafted law abolishing the senate, the most controversial measure in a package of reforms passed by referendum this month. Government spokesman Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheikh confirmed that the president had given final approval to the law, in comments to reporters on Tuesday evening. The law was passed the same day the constitutional council cleared the results of the August 5 referendum in which 85 percent of those who voted approved the measure. But the official turnout figure for the vote was 53.73 percent...
(APA 08/16/17)
APA-Nouakchott (Mauritania) - The Constitutional Council in Mauritania has announced the final results of the August 5 referendum, confirming victory for the Yes vote. Speaking in Nouakchott on Tuesday, the president of the council, Sghair Ould M'Bareck said the Yes vote won with 85.70 percent, endorsing the proposed amendment to the constitution, which include scrapping the Senate and modifying the national flag and anthem. Ould M'Bareck added that all the appeals they received challenging the validity of the exercise were baseless given that “no convincing evidence was provided to the judges of the council." On 6 August, the Independent Electoral Commission had indicated that the provisional results of the referendum were 85.67 percent in favor of constitutional change with a turnout of 53 percent.
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all, but that’s still subject to...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the word for "ancestor" in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed. The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) in adulthood. It had a brain...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal of establishing a true partnership for the future", Lighthizer said. "By lowering barriers and tackling other constraints that impede trade and investment, we are poised to see U.S.-Africa trade flourish", he said, underscoring that "much more work needs to be...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be at his best in the 800m, where a clutch of athletes are suddenly dreaming of glory in the absence of Kenya's injured champion David Rudisha. Kenya is expected to continue its dominance of the men's 3,000m steeplechase - though American...
(AFP (eng) 08/05/17)
Mauritanians began voting Saturday on several contentious changes to their constitution sought by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz but opposed by a wide swathe of opposition lawmakers and civil society groups. Aziz is pushing to abolish the country's Senate and several other state bodies and to make a small alteration to the national flag, measures that have galvanised a boycott movement hoping to sap the vote's credibility by forcing a low turnout. Polling stations opened at 7:00 am (0700 GMT) and were due to close at 7:00 pm (1900 GMT) in the conservative west African nation, where violent clashes have broken out after the authorities banned several rallies planned by opponents of the changes. The president is due to vote...
(AFP (eng) 08/04/17)
The head of a boycott movement opposed to a constitutional referendum in Mauritania accused the country's rulers on Friday of planning "massive fraud" on the eve of the vote, and warned of violence. Saturday's referendum follows a tense campaign punctuated by massive protests that have been at times violently put down by the security forces. Jemil Ould Mansour, head of the Islamic Tewassoul party spearheading the movement against the vote, said President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and his supporters had fixed "the electoral roll and voting materials to prepare fraud on a massive scale." "Those in power are pushing people to violence by not allowing any kind of protest not in line with their own views," Mansour told reporters. The...
(AFP (eng) 08/04/17)
Police and opposition activists clashed Thursday in Mauritania's capital on the final day of campaigning for a controversial constitutional referendum. The authorities refused to give the green light for protests opposing the constitutional changes in Nouakchott and three regions of the west African country, leading to what activists said was "excessive" use of tear gas in an area to the west of the capital. A coalition drawn from a broad political spectrum including Islamists and anti-slavery activists in the conservative west African nation opposes measures including abolishing the senate and changing the national flag, and some are boycotting Saturday's vote. Saleh Ould Henenna, a spokesman for the protesters, said "we have to inform the authorities of our activities but we...
(AFP (eng) 08/03/17)
The sole Mauritanian political party urging citizens to vote "No" in a controversial referendum on abolishing the Senate complained Wednesday their ability to campaign had been severely restricted. The National Democratic Convergence (CDN) is alone in campaigning for a "No" vote as other opposition parties are either calling for a total boycott of the referendum on Saturday, or joining the ruling party of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in calling for a "Yes". "Campaigning is difficult and unequal in terms of time allocated for broadcasting...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
French and German support for a regional Sahel force to battle jihadists will persuade other European nations of the benefits of backing the counter-terror measure, Germany's defence minister said Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen spoke to journalists in Bamako after talks with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, arriving six days after a helicopter crash in the country's north killed two German crew who were monitoring clashes for the United Nations mission to Mali. Von der Leyen said the discussion had centred on the autumn deployment of the force from the so-called "G5 Sahel" countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger)
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. "I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons." Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity...

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