Monday 22 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 11/22/16)
African states failed on Monday to halt the work of the first U.N. independent investigator appointed to help protect gay and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination. The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, created the position in June and in September appointed Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand, who has a three-year mandate to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. In an unusual move, African states put forward a draft resolution in the 193-member U.N. General Assembly third committee, which deals with human rights, calling for consultations on the legality of the creation of the mandate. They said the work of the investigator should be suspended. However, Latin American countries, supported by Western...
(AFP (eng) 11/21/16)
The number of HIV-infected people taking anti-retroviral medicine has doubled in just five years, the UN said Monday, while highlighting high infection rates among young African women. A new report by UNAIDS said it was on course to hit a target of 30 million people on ARV treatment by 2020. "By June 2016, around 18.2 million people had access to the life-saving medicines, including 910,000 children, double the number five years earlier," UNAIDS said in a statement. But the report showed the huge risks that some young women face. Last year more than 7,500 teenagers and young women became infected with HIV every week worldwide, with the bulk of them in southern Africa. "Young women are facing a triple threat,"...
(AFP (eng) 11/20/16)
Above the sacks of seeds and coal, three kerosene lamps gather dust in the tiny shed that Kenyan chicken farmer Bernard calls home. He prefers to use solar energy to light up his evenings, listen to the radio or watch television, after abandoning a diesel generator he said was expensive to maintain and burned fuel too quickly. "Solar panels are a good, cheap solution," he told AFP. Across the continent, consumers are opting for their own off-grid solar solutions to power homes and small businesses, even as African governments unveil massive new solar projects seemingly every month to expand their grids. According to International Energy Agency projections, almost one billion people in sub-Saharan Africa will gain access to the grid...
(AFP (eng) 11/19/16)
Ten Mauritanian anti-slavery activists were on Friday handed their freedom in a partial appeal court victory that left three of their fellow accused in jail, a judicial source said. An appeals court in the northern town of Zouerate acquitted three of the activists, while seven others were handed jail sentences that they have already served. Three more, however, must still spend time behind bars. "The court has corrected an error by qualifying the events as an offence, and not a crime. That's very positive," one of the defence lawyers, Bah Ould Mbareck told AFP.
(Agence Ecofin 11/19/16)
To boost internet access and provide better services to users, especially to those living in places far from its terrestrial networks, mobile telephony operator Mattel, subsidiary of Tunisie Telecom, has decided to modernize its VSAT equipment. It has to this end called unto the expertise of Global Technologies which specializes in the installation, operation and maintenance of critical technical infrastructures and systems. Global Technologies, in collaboration with Internet Service Provider via satellite Eutelsat, will upgrade Mattel’s network until a latest generation solution is deployed in the country. Once this is achieved, Mattel will have VSAT antennas all over the territory with which it will connect its mobile and internet base stations to the Eutelsat 8 West B satellite, without using...
(The Guardian 11/19/16)
At COP22, the African Development Bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, tells of strategies to improve energy supplies and fight the impact of climate change “We lose 5% of our potential GDP every year, and African industries cannot be competitive without access to electricity,” says Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank. “I believe that’s why we can’t break away from reliance on exporting our raw materials – new industries will only go to where there’s power.” He is speaking on the sidelines of the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, which ends on Friday. Adesina and colleagues from the bank have been using the conference to highlight its new initiatives on energy, including the New Deal on Energy for Africa,...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/16)
Prosecutors at a Mauritanian appeal court have requested 13 anti-slavery activists have their sentences increased to 20 years each for protesting against a forced slum clearance, a judicial source said. Defence lawyers for the activists from the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) had called this week for the case to be thrown out saying their clients were tortured in police custody. The activists were intially sentenced to between three and 15 years at their trial in the capital in August, on charges of using violence, attacking security forces, gathering while armed and membership of an unrecognised organisation. "The prosecutor demanded 20 years of imprisonment against the whole group," a judicial source told AFP on Wednesday. The...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/16)
African leaders met in Morocco Wednesday on the sidelines of UN climate talks to agree a joint stance to fight global warming on the continent. "Africa is paying a heavy price over the climate issue and is without doubt the continent worst affected," Morocco's King Mohammed VI told the summit attended by 20 African leaders. "These disruptions... greatly hamper Africa's development and gravely threaten the basic rights of tens of millions of Africans," he said. He said the continent needed to "speak in a single voice, demand climate justice". France's President Francois Hollande and UN chief Ban Ki-moon also attended the summit which took place alongside the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakesh. Ban said Africa was at the forefront...
(AFP (eng) 11/16/16)
"Don't go!" That was the heartfelt appeal to African nations as the International Criminal Court opened its annual meeting Wednesday under the cloud of a wave of unprecedented defections. Gambia on Monday formally notified the United Nations that it was withdrawing from the court, following in the wake of South Africa and Burundi. "Don't go," pleaded Senegalese politician Sidiki Kaba, the president of the ICC's Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague. "In a world criss-crossed by violent extremism... it is urgent and necessary to defend the ideal of justice for all," he said. The tribunal opened in 2002 in The Hague as a court of last resort to try the world's worst crimes. But in his passionate plea,...
(AFP (eng) 11/15/16)
Hundreds protested Tuesday in Mauritania calling for a blogger convicted of "infidel" behaviour to be executed, as the supreme court considered if his death sentence should be carried out. Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir was initially sentenced to death for apostasy in 2014 over a blog post deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. Though his crime was downgraded by an appeal court, the accompanying death sentence was not lifted. Demonstrators gathered as the supreme court sat to examine whether he should be executed or pardoned, with his lawyers emphasising his "unequivocal remorse".
(Reuters (Eng) 11/14/16)
Muslim clerics in Mauritania on Sunday urged the authorities to execute a blogger who was sentenced to death in 2014 for apostasy after writing a blog post on Islam and racial discrimination. Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir's article touched a nerve in Mauritania, a West African country with deep social and racial divisions. He was tried for apostasy and received the death penalty despite having repented and saying his article was misunderstood. According to the U.S.-based Freedom Now rights group who provide Mkhaitir with legal counsel, the blog post appears to have been the first he published. Prior to his arrest he worked as an engineer for a mining company and was not an activist, Freedom Now said on its...
(Forbes 11/14/16)
Africa will have 1-billion mobile subscriptions by the fourth quarter of 2016, while data use will drive the next phase of growth in Africa’s telecoms market, according to researchers Ovum. Mobile subs will reach 1.02-billion by the end of 2016 and will reach 1.33-billion by 2021, says Matthew Reed, Ovum’s practice leader, for the Middle East and Africa. “The take-up of mobile broadband will rise strongly, as operators continue to roll out 3G and 4G LTE networks and as smartphones become increasingly affordable,” says Reed. “There will be 1-billion mobile broadband connections in Africa in 2021, including 157.4-million 4G LTE connections. “Additionally, the number of smartphone connections on the continent will reach 929.9-million at the end of 2021. And non-SMS...
(AFP (eng) 11/12/16)
Across Africa, the approaching presidency of Donald Trump has provoked deep uncertainty over how the United States will pursue policies ranging from counter-terrorism and trade, to aid and climate change. Many African countries had high hopes that Barack Obama would bring transformative benefits to the continent and were left disappointed as he winds down his time in office. But Trump's rise to power poses fresh questions that reveal the lack of concrete detail on his foreign policy plans -- while the president-elect himself has seldom addressed African issues directly. One possible pointer is Trump's often repeated vow to kill "terrorists", which may lead to more aggressive US intervention against Islamist forces such as Nigeria's Boko Haram, linked to the Islamic...
(The Toronto Star 11/11/16)
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada has committed to a three-year deployment in Africa that will be reassessed each year to ensure it has an “enduring” impact. Canadian troops headed to Africa will operate in dangerous territory where peacekeepers have been killed, says Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. In an exclusive interview with the Star from Vancouver Sajjan said Canada has committed to a three-year deployment that will be reassessed each year to ensure it has an “enduring” impact. It will be spread among a number of unspecified African countries, have a major focus on training and increasing “capacity” of the host nation as well as other countries’ troops, and build on existing social, economic and deradicalization programs on the ground...
(AFP (eng) 11/10/16)
All CAF competitions will offer increased prize money from 2017, the Cairo-based African football body said Wednesday. The announcement came months after French oil-gas company Total signed an eight-year sponsorship deal with CAF reportedly worth more than one billion dollars (915 million euros). Winners of the biennial Africa Cup of Nations will receive $4 million, up from the $1.5 million pocketed by 2015 champions the Ivory Coast. CAF Champions League title-holders are going to collect $2.5 million -- $1 million more than South African club Mamelodi Sundowns received last month. There is an even bigger percentage increase for winners of the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup with first prize increasing from $660,000 to $1.25 million. Both the Champions League and Confederation...
(Dw-World 11/09/16)
Africans across the continent followed the US presidential election with keen interest. While some fear that a Trump presidency could have disastrous consequences, others remain cautiously optimistic. Tanzania's President John Pombe Magufuli was one of the first African leaders to congratulate Donald Trump on his election victory. "Tanzanians and I assure you of continued friendship and cooperation," he wrote on his Twitter account. Burundi's controversial leader Pierre Nkurunziza - the subject of intense US and international criticism for his decision to stay in power beyond a constitutional two-term limit- followed suit. "Your victory is the victory of all Americans," he wrote on Twitter. Buzz on social media Social media platforms were abuzz with reactions just moments after the poll results...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/08/16)
Germany on Monday pledged a 61-million-euro ($67.44 million) hike in funding for U.N. relief operations in Africa so that fewer of its people undertake perilous odysseys to Europe, which has struggled to absorb an influx of migrants since last year. The extra funding lifts Germany's total contribution to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR to 298 million euros for 2016, Foreign Ministry officials said. Its total humanitarian budget for 2016 was 1.28 billion euros, up from just 105 million euros in 2012. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced the increase during a meeting with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Berlin. Countries targeted by Germany's move are ridden by chronic conflict, disastrous climate change and poverty. Many of their citizens...
(The Telegraph 11/07/16)
Just a few months after being elected Conservative Party leader, David Cameron flew to Rwanda. It was a high-profile trip so he could see first-hand the development of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and launch his party’s review on globalisation and global poverty. On his first day, he visited a textile factory in Kigali, the country’s capital. Above the hum of the silk reels, he chatted to some of the workers and admired the quality of the patterned fabrics. Before he left, the factory owner, Raj Rejendran, asked for a word. Growing the business, he explained, required expanding into overseas markets. He knew there was demand in the UK for his silk fabrics, but he faced heavy import duties. Might...
(AFP (eng) 11/05/16)
"The dream becomes reality", "Our son, our hope": the headlines in the Kenyan press in 2008 captured pride and excitement after the election of Barack Obama. Eight years later, enthusiasm for the outgoing president has faded on a continent that he is accused of forsaking. The election of the first black president of the United States on November 4, 2008 sparked scenes of jubilation in Kenya, the homeland of Obama's father. A public holiday was declared in honour of his victory. There were widespread hopes that Obama would do much for Africa, but as he prepares to hand over to either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he is accused of neglecting the continent. "Africa had unrealistic expectations towards Obama given...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/16)
As Canada considers where to send troops as part of a commitment to boost UN peacekeeping efforts, its defense minister will visit Mali and Senegal starting Saturday, the government said Thursday. Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan will spend four days in the two countries to assess local security challenges and concerns. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters a decision on where to deploy Canadian peacekeepers would be announced "in the coming weeks, probably." In August, Trudeau pledged Can$450 million (US$350 million) and 600 troops for UN peacekeeping operations around the world. At the time, only 31 Canadians were deployed in a handful of locations -- Haiti, the Jerusalem region, South Sudan, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Korea. That...

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