Sunday 22 October 2017
(The Associated Press 08/28/17)
European Union funding is being looked at as a potential tool for ending the dependence of some local economies in Africa on migrant trafficking. Italy's foreign ministry hosted a meeting of interior ministers from Italy, Libya, Chad, Niger and Mali on Monday to discuss strategies for foiling the human traffickers who have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants toward Europe. The migrants are often put on unseaworthy vessels and are brought to Italy when they are rescued at sea. But unlike refugees, economic migrants aren't eligible for asylum.
(AFP (eng) 08/28/17)
Authorities in Niger urged thousands of residents on Sunday to evacuate homes threatened by heavy rains that lashed Niamey, following floods that have killed 16 people in the capital since June. "I am calling on all residents to evacuate the flood zones and immediately leave homes that are close to collapsing," the governor of the Niamey region, Soumana Ali Zataoua, said in a televised address. Two people, a father and son, were killed Saturday when a wall collapsed, according to TV reports, after more than 100 millimetres (nearly four inches) of rain fell in just a few hours in the capital. Many of the homes at risk are located in the former bed of the Gountou-Yena river, which is now...
(AFP (eng) 08/28/17)
Leaders from seven African and European countries meet in Paris on Monday for a mini-summit to discuss how to ease the EU's migrant crisis. French President Emmanuel Macron has invited his counterparts from Niger and Chad as well as the head of the Libyan unity government Fayez al-Sarraj, whose countries lie on the main transit route for migrants heading to Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish and Italian prime ministers Mariano Rajoy and Paulo Gentiloni, and Europe's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, will join the talks. European nations are keen to offer development aid and funding to their African partners in return for help in stemming the flow of economic migrants and asylum seekers. A total of 125,000 migrants have crossed...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/28/17)
Getting Europe’s migrant crisis under control will be in focus at a summit of Europe’s “big four” continental powers and three African nations in Paris on Monday, with French President Emmanuel Macron seeking concrete action. The 28-nation European Union has struggled to agree on a coherent answer to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa, and the crisis is testing cooperation between member states. Over the summer, Macron sought to take the initiative on managing the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya, mainly into Italy. He proposed hotspots in Africa to handle asylum requests. The viability of such centers was questioned by European and African allies and on Monday...
(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...
(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...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
Islamist militant attacks in West Africa are increasing in intensity. High-profile strikes on resorts and restaurants that have shattered the area’s tourist industry get most of the attention. Yet barely a week goes by without a deadly incident in a remote rural zone where some of the world’s poorest people live. Instability in the region affects Europe because it benefits organized crime networks which are engaged in the smuggling and trafficking of migrants to the shores of Italy. 1. What’s the source of the trouble? Mainly continuing instability in Mali and, further afield, in Libya, where turmoil has opened up smuggling routes and access to weapons. A French military intervention in 2013 dealt a heavy blow to jihadist groups that...
(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...
(APA 08/10/17)
The third edition of the International Youth Forum kicked off in Niamey on Wednesday under the theme "Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250-2015 and illegal migration in West Africa and Sahel.” 16 African countries are represented at this meeting of African youth organized jointly by the regional office of the Pan-African Union of Youth and Niger’s National Council of Youth (CNJN). For two days delegates will discuss the UNSC resolution which Niger’s minister of State, Albade Abouba said "urges us to examine ways and ...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 08/09/17)
Rescue teams have saved a thousand African migrants abandoned by people smugglers in the Niger part of the Sahara desert in recent months, the UN's International Office of Migration (IOM) said Wednesday. "A total of 1,000 migrants have been rescued since April of this year in northern Niger by the (IOM's) search and rescue operations," the agency said. "More dangerous routes are being used by smugglers," it said, after carrying out a six-day assessment of the Tenere desert and in Niger's border region with Libya, where migrants wait to cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe. The IOM is running search and rescue operations under the so-called ...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/09/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Traffickers in Niger are taking African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe on more dangerous routes through the Sahara desert in order to avoid detection after a government crackdown on smuggling, the U.N. migration agency said on Tuesday. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it had rescued 1,000 migrants since April in Niger's desert north, a transit point to Libya, from where more than 600,000 people have set out on flimsy boats for Europe in the past four years. Fewer smugglers are setting off from the Nigerien city of Agadez - a smuggling hub until the European Union last year bankrolled a clampdown - and are now taking more treacherous routes through the Sahara, far...
(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) 08/03/17)
Niger's president has sounded the alarm over his country's world-leading birth rate, labelling the average of over seven children per household a "handicap" to development in the impoverished west African nation. Mahamadou Issoufou said that at the current rate, Niger's population would more than double by 2035 and hit 75 million by the middle of the century. "Common sense compels us to reflect now on this future," he said Wednesday during a televised address on the 57th anniversary of Niger's independence from France. "If we cannot educate, train and care for our youth and offer them employment opportunities... they will become a handicap, or even a menace to social cohesion and prosperity." Deeply poor Niger has the world's highest birth...
(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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