Friday 18 August 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(AFP (eng) 07/19/17)
Twenty-three west African migrants, including a seven-year-old girl, were found alive after being abandoned in the depths of the Sahara, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday An IOM worker told AFP the migrants were found some 300 kilometres (180 miles) from the Niger city of Agadez, a key hub on the edge of the Sahara for African migrants trying to reach Europe. The group, which included Gambians and Senegalese, told the IOM they had been abandoned by their driver. They waited for him for six days before giving up and walking for two more days in the desert.
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Denied an education by the Islamist insurgency of militant group Boko Haram, tens of thousands of children across the Lake Chad region are instead tuning into lessons broadcast over the radio, the United Nations children's agency (UNICEF) said on Tuesday. The radio syllabus is providing lessons on literacy and numeracy, and staying safe amid the violence, to about 200,000 displaced and out-of-school children in the Far North region of Cameroon and Niger's southern Diffa region, according to UNICEF. "The level of boredom among children in camps for the displaced is tremendous," said UNICEF spokesman Patrick Rose. "With this radio education program, children will receive lessons in a structured way, that keeps them in a rhythm...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
The conflict in Mali is spilling over to Burkina Faso and Niger, with a significant surge of attacks by extremist groups in border areas over past months, the UN envoy for West Africa warned Thursday. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said deadly attacks along border areas were having an impact on the local economy in the northern provinces of Burkina Faso and western regions of Niger. "In the Sahel, persistent instability in Mali is spilling over to Burkina Faso and Niger, with deadly attacks along border areas," Chambas told the UN Security Council. The Liptako Gourma region, which encompasses the border areas of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, "has seen a significant expansion of violent extremist and terrorist activities in the past...
(Agence Ecofin 07/13/17)
UNESCO has added to its World Heritage list the W-Arly-Pendjari (Wap) Complex, according to a statement released by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last Friday. This natural reserve spans across three nations, namely: Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. It is the largest protected reserve of West Africa. For the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the Wap complex “includes the largest and most important continuum of terrestrial, semi-aquatic and aquatic ecosystems in the West...
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
At least 27 hippos have been slaughtered in a touristy zone in western Niger by villagers who blame them for destroying crops and harming livestock, local authorities said on Thursday. The "massacre ...started in March and then assumed dramatic proportions" mainly in island settlements on the Niger river, the prefect of the Ayorou region, Jando Rhichi Algaher, told AFP. Large numbers of hippos and several bird species have made Ayorou, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the capital Niamey, a popular place for tourists. Patrols by troops "have helped slow the slaughter", Algaher said. "The locals have killed a large number
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(AFP (eng) 07/11/17)
As West Africa declares war on the market for expired and counterfeit medicines, start-ups are putting quality control in the hands of patients to stop them risking their lives trying to get well. Not only can such drugs fail to treat the diseases they are bought to combat, experts say, but they may encourage resistance to antibiotics and even cause death as diseases continue to course unchecked through the body. At an April meeting in Liberia, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced a region-wide investigation into the trafficking of expired and counterfeit drugs, and a public awareness campaign. Traffickers in bad medicine prey on some of the world's poorest and most in need, who also face...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(AFP (eng) 07/07/17)
Niger authorities rescued 67 West African migrants in Niger's northern desert this week after traffickers left them there without food or water, a humanitarian source told AFP on Friday. One of the migrants later died. "Sixty-seven migrants near death were saved (Wednesday) by defence and security forces near the town of Seguedine in the middle of the desert," the source said. The migrants had left the town of Agadez "on three vehicles" before being "abandoned without provisions by the traffickers," the source added. Agadez is a remote town in Niger on the edge of the Sahara that has become the smuggling capital of Africa...
(AFP (eng) 07/07/17)
An air strike by Niger's army has killed 14 displaced people who were mistaken for jihadists in the restive southeast where Boko Haram Islamists have staged regular attacks, regional officials said Thursday. The victims were farmers who had fled the area around the village of Abadam on the Nigerian border due to the raging insurgency. They were killed in an air strike Wednesday as they returned to check on their crops, officials said. Abadam lies within an evacuated no-go zone which is only accessible with prior authorisation and officials said military personnel assumed they must have been Boko Haram...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/06/17)
Soldiers in Niger killed 14 unarmed civilians after mistaking them for Boko Haram militants during a patrol in the remote southeast of the country, a senior regional official said on Thursday. Nigerien soldiers were patrolling a militarily restricted zone around the village of Abadam near Lake Chad on Wednesday afternoon when they opened fire on what turned out to be farmers, according to Yahaya Godi, the Secretary General of the Diffa region of southeast Niger. "Fourteen people are dead. Abadam is a village located in the red zone and has been prohibited for a very long time," said Godi. "Any individual seen in the area is considered Boko Haram." He said two of the dead were from Niger and the...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(AFP (eng) 07/05/17)
A dozen Niger journalists' groups condemned Wednesday the jailing of a fellow journalist, saying it was "in total violation" of press law in the west African country. Journalist Ali Soumana, founder of the weekly Le Courrier known for its often harsh criticisms of President Mahamadou Issoufou's government, was charged on Monday after many days in detention for obtaining a document through "fraudulent means". The document in question is related to a five-year-old legal case between Niger and a Lebanese company. "The press house protests all violations against laws governing the occupation of journalists in Niger," the journalists' associations said in a letter, adding that it firmly supported Soumana. Under a 2010 law, journalists in Niger are no longer detained for...
(Voice of America 07/05/17)
More than 7 million children in West and Central Africa are displaced every year, the United Nations children's agency said in a report released Wednesday. Lack of economic opportunities, wars and climate change are forcing more than 12 million people in West and Central Africa to migrate annually, the report said. "Children in West and Central Africa are moving in greater numbers than ever before, many in search of safety or a better life," UNICEF regional director Marie-Pierre Poirier said. Climate change is already a harsh reality in many parts of Africa, where rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall have disrupted food production, fueled widespread hunger and forced farmers to abandon their land. A half-million people have crossed the Mediterranean...

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