Wednesday 25 April 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
ACCRA (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron fears Islamist militants have scored military and symbolic victories in West Africa while a regional military force has struggled to get off the ground, a French presidential source said on Thursday. To help get the new G5 Sahel force operating effectively, he said, France has invited the United States to a summit with the five participating countries as well as the African Union and European Union in Paris next month. Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers, French troops and U.S. military trainers and drone operators have failed so far to stem a growing wave of jihadist violence, leading world powers to pin their hopes on the new G5 Sahel force. The G5 Sahel initiative -...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A new national flag for Mauritania flew for the first time on Tuesday, the country's independence day, following a contested constitutional referendum that prompted a senator's arrest and hunger strike. Two red bands were added to the old green-and-yellow standard, meant to signify the blood spilled in the fight for freedom from France, its colonial master, but the adoption of the design has been fraught with dramatic twists. The new national symbol was part of a package of measures passed by referendum in August, including a new national anthem, that required a constitutional amendment -- one that also abolished the country's senate. Senators from the ruling party of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz joined opposition parties in seeking to block...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(AfricaNews 11/21/17)
The African Union has called for an investigation on the Libyan authorities regarding the ‘slave markets’ of African migrants in the conflict torn nation. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Professor Alpha Conde, strongly condemned the despicable acts which are at odds with the ideals of the Founding Fathers of the Organization and relevant African and international instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. He calls for an immediate end to these practices and other criminal acts of human trafficking. He calls for a swift action to be taken and identify all perpetrators and accomplices, with the view of bringing the criminals to justice. This comes following the release of shocking images showing the sale of...
(AFP (eng) 11/20/17)
srael's cabinet voted on Sunday to close a migrant detention centre, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced an agreement to deport 40,000 Africans who entered the country illegally. Ministers unanimously approved plans to shutter the Holot centre in southern Israel and gave migrants a three-month deadline to leave the country or face deportation, said the interior and public security ministries. "The infiltrators will have the option to be imprisoned or leave the country," the public security ministry said in a statement. Israeli official figures from June 30 show a total of 38,043 African migrants in the country. They include 27,494 Eritreans and 7,869 Sudanese, and their presence in south Tel Aviv has raised discontent among Israelis there and elsewhere. Speaking...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
he African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate "slave markets" of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men. The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400. Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a "despicable trade... from another era". Meanwhile Senegal's government. commenting on Facebook, expressed "outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,"...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Showing repentance will no longer prevent the death penalty from being applied for blasphemy and apostasy, Mauritania said Friday, as the conservative Muslim nation hardens up its religious laws. The decision follows the release on November 9 of a blogger previously condemned to death for criticising religious justification for discrimination in Mauritanian society. A new bill will "harden up expected sentences for blasphemers," the government of the west African nation said in a statement released by the official AMI news agency. "Every Muslim, man or woman, who mocks or insults Mohammed (peace be upon him), his angels, books... is liable to face the death penalty, without being asked to repent. They will incur the death penalty even if they repent,"...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Africa is making only faltering progress towards food and nutrition security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. "Multiple forms of malnutrition coexist, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition or anaemia as well as high rates of obesity," it says in a new report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, "progress towards the World Health Assembly global nutrition targets has been generally poor," the Rome-based agency says, referring to goals to end hunger by 2025. The annual document came out Thursday at the start of a two-day food and health seminar in Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan. Around 200 people from 47 African nations are gathered to discuss "sustainable food systems...
(AFP (eng) 11/16/17)
The recently launched G5 Sahel force must ensure human rights are respected as it combats jihadists and criminals in this troubled swathe of Africa, officials say, to avoid further radicalisation of the population. The five-nation counterterrorism force has completed its first operation in a zone covering the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, all of which face an Islamist insurgency that has tacit support in areas where a state presence is near absent. Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said abuses under the guise of counter-terror "create more terrorists than there were before". The viability of the force rested on its ability to gain the trust of local populations and maintain the support of the international...
(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, the region’s economy is expected to rebound in 2017 onwards. Commodity-based economies, like Nigeria, are slowly recovering from the fall in oil prices and oil production, while countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal have shown economic resilience and sustained...
(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 repatriate their dollar profits in full. At an aviation meeting in the Rwandan capital, IATA’s Vice President for Africa, Raphale Kuuchi, said that airlines were in talks with “a few governments to unblock airline funds”. He did not specify the...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route to North Africa," Switzerland, which hosted the third meeting of the so-called contact group on the crisis, said in a statement. Thousands of migrants and refugees who attempt to travel along this route "find themselves in catastrophic situations," it said,...
(AFP (eng) 11/10/17)
Mauritanian prosecutors on Friday said they had appealed against a two-year prison term served on a blogger who had earlier received a death sentence for blasphemy. Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir was given the two-year term on Thursday by an appeals court in the northwest town of Nouadhibou. "The prosecutors immediately filed an appeal to the Supreme Court" to ensure "a sound and rigorous application of the law," prosecutors there said in a statement. Mkheitir has been in custody since January 2014 and thus was eligible for immediate release after Thursday's ruling. He was also fined 60,000 ouguiyas (146 euros, $169).
(AFP (eng) 11/09/17)
A Mauritanian appeals court Thursday reduced the death penalty for a blogger accused of blasphemy to a two-year jail term, a legal source said, after a case that had drawn protests from rights watchdogs. Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir, who will be released as he has been in custody since January 2014, was also fined 60,000 ouguiyas (146 euros, $169) by the court in northwestern Nouadhibou, the source said. Mkheitir, a Muslim in his thirties who is also known as Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, was sentenced to death in December 2014. In a blog, he allegedly challenged decisions taken by the Prophet Mohammed and his companions during holy wars in the seventh century. He also attacked the mistreatment of the...
(AFP (eng) 11/09/17)
Maghreb neighbours Algeria and Mauritania are to open their first border post more than 50 years after independence from France, the Mauritanian news agency AMI reported Thursday. Mauritanian Interior Minister Ahmedou Ould Abdallah and Algerian counterpart Noureddine Bedoui signed an accord Bedoui ended a visit to Nouakchott on Wednesday, according to AMI. The two states have a common frontier stretching across 460 kilometres (285 miles) of western Saharan desert. However, the frontier has been declared a military zone on the Mauritanian side, and the movement of people is banned. Trafficking of weapons, oil, drugs and migrants...
(AFP 11/09/17)
France said Wednesday it will increase its development aid to the troubled Sahel by more than a third, linking the extra funds to the fight against jihadist groups in the vast African region. The five nations in the sprawling area south of the Sahara -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- pooled their military resources to create the G5 Sahel force, which began operations on November 1. The fledgling group is tasked with combatting Islamist terrorism after thousands of civilians have died in fighting, many of them in suicide bombings, and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes. France, the former colonial power in the Sahel, is the scheme's biggest political backer and provided a hefty...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A Mauritanian court on Wednesday began hearing an appeal into a blogger sentenced to death over an article deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed, a case that has spurred protests from rights watchdogs. Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death in 2014 before the supreme court sent his case back to appeal in 2016. The large audience in the court in the northwest town Nouadhibou was under strict surveillance with cameras, mobile phones and laptops banned, a judicial source told AFP. Mkheitir, a Muslim in his 30s who is also known as Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed...

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