Thursday 29 June 2017
(The Wall Street Journal 03/15/17)
Ndalo Media founder Khanyi Dhlomo and Mara Group founder Ashish Thakkar on where the potential is and what’s blocking it How is innovation in Africa different from innovation in Silicon Valley? And how can innovation in Africa be encouraged? Dan Keeler, frontier-markets editor of The Wall Street Journal, discussed those questions with Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and chief executive of Ndalo Media, a publisher based in South Africa, and Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group, a pan-African investment group with operations in banking, real estate, infrastructure and technology. Edited excerpts follow. MR. KEELER: What about innovation in Africa? Khanyi, what sort of things are you seeing that are inspiring you? MS. DHLOMO:There’s a lot of innovation happening in Africa. But it’s...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/17)
Hama Amadou, an opposition leader in the Sahel state of Niger, was sentenced to a year's jail Monday on a charge of baby smuggling after a one-day trial that his attorneys denounced as a fix. Amadou -- who competed against President Mahamadou Issoufou in March elections in 2016 -- had left for France and was tried in absentia. He was one of a group of people accused of smuggling babies from Nigeria via Benin to wealthy couples in Niger. Shortly before the verdict, defence lawyers walked out of court, saying legal procedures had not been upheld and that the goal was to prevent Amadou from running again for office. "Hama Amadou lives in France and so all procedural documents must...
(Agence Ecofin 03/14/17)
The Land Policy Initiative (LPI), a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched a pilot project to track progress in implementing in the AU Declaration on land issues in Africa. This was revealed by the ECA in a press statement dated March 7. In collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the project will assess progress made in implementing the key decisions and commitments of the AU Declaration on Land adopted in July 2009 by the General Assembly of the pan-African institution. “We are to a large extent in unchartered waters given many of our Member...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
The United Arab Emirates, one of the Middle East's largest economies, wants to expand trade ties with faster growing nations in Asia and Africa, a senior official said on Sunday. Rich Gulf Arab states are looking at ways to diversify their economies, including who they trade with, after more than two years of depressed oil prices forced a rethink of government spending. The pace of economic growth in Asian and sub-Saharan African economies has made them ideal partners, Abdullah al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade and industry at the UAE ministry of the economy, told Reuters in an interview in Dubai. Asia's two largest economies China and India are expected to grow by 6.5 percent and 7.2 percent this year whilst...
(AFP (eng) 03/11/17)
More than half of schoolchildren have quit class in some parts of Niger due to drought which is forcing entire families of farmers to move to seek better pastures, the UN said Friday. Some 33,000 farmers' children have abandoned class to follow their parents, with the worst hit areas including the central regions of Maradi and Zinder, Agadez in the north and Tahoua in the west. In January the government said there had been a "feed deficit" of over 12 million tonnes for 2016, meaning there was simply not enough feed for the country's 40 million livestock animals. To help ease the crisis the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey said it was organising stocks...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
Niger has begun the trials behind closed doors of about 1,000 suspected fighters from the Boko Haram jihadist movement, officials said Friday. Chief prosecutor Chaibou Samna told AFP that the trials, on charges of terrorist links, had begun on March 2. Those facing trial are from several countries including Niger and Mali, Samna said, as well as neighbouring Nigeria where Boko Haram's deadly insurgency began in 2009 before spreading abroad. Some of the suspects were "captured during combat" in southern Niger across the border from Boko Haram's stronghold in Nigeria, a security source said. Samna said the trials will last several months and mostly arise from offences
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity," said Dlamini-Zuma, who will next week hand power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates...
(Libya Herald 03/09/17)
The Italian government is looking to seal a deal with Niger that it hopes will dramatically cut back migration from sub-Saharan Africa through Libya and from there across the Mediterranean to Italy and elsewhere in Europe. “After the deal with Libya, the Italian government is now focusing on reaching a deal with Niger – the southern neighbouring country of Libya, and the main transit country for migrants coming from the Horn of Africa,” said Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano at a meeting yesterday in Turin. In fact, the overwhelming bulk of all migrants crossing the Sahara into Libya pass through Niger, with the central Nigerien town of Agadez now the main migrant portal into Libya. The Libya deal to which...
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that investments in training for community health workers will have multiplier impact on Africa's socioeconomic development. "We require highly skilled and motivated cadre of community health workforce to deal with a high diseases burden in disadvantaged settings in this continent. These...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/17)
At least four police officers from Niger were killed in what a security source described Monday as a "terrorist" attack near the west African nation's border with Mali and Burkina Faso. The attack on Sunday struck Wanzarbe, a town located in the western region of Tillaberi -- one of a string of areas where Niger declared a state of emergency Saturday. "The provisional toll is four police officers killed in a clear terrorist attack on Sunday night," the security source said. The assault targeted a police station, he added. Tillaberi and neighbouring region Tahoua have witnessed several deadly attacks on army posts and refugee
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(AFP (eng) 03/04/17)
Niger on Friday declared a state of emergency in several western areas flanking Mali after a spate of deadly attacks blamed on jihadists from its restive neighbour. A government statement read on state television said a state of emergency would be enforced in seven departments of the regions of Tillaberi and Tahoua. Security forces would now be granted additional powers including the right to search homes at any time, it said. The statement said repeated attacks in these areas "have endangered the security of the peaceful population and public order." The zones affected are "Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilare, Abala and Banibangou in Tillaberi and Tassara and Tilia in Tahoua".
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
UN Security Council envoys on Thursday travel to Africa's Lake Chad region, where famine, the Boko Haram insurgency, climate change and poor governance have collided to create one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The 15 ambassadors from the UN's top decision-making body hope to draw global attention to the emergency affecting 21 million people across four countries: Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The visit could also pave the way to stronger action by the Security Council to address what has been a largely ignored crisis, relegated to the bottom of the diplomatic agenda as war in Syria and South Sudan escalated. British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the visit will "shine a spotlight of international attention on the humanitarian crisis"...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
An African road movie about four women wowed its audience Sunday as it kicked off the Panafrican cinema and television festival (Fespaco), a showcase for the continent's burgeoning film industry. "Borders" ("Frontieres") directed by Apolline Traore, a Fespaco laureate in 2013, sweeps across Africa as its protagonists journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin on their way to Nigeria. Along the way the women -- Ivorian, Senegalese, Burkinabe and Nigerian actresses -- are spared nothing as they are beset by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(AFP (eng) 02/26/17)
France is to send a contingent of counterterror forces to help the army in Niger after militants ambushed a military patrol killing 16, the defence ministry said. The decision, announced late Saturday, was taken following a request from President Mahamadou Issoufou after Wednesday's attack near the border with Mali. The deadly ambush, which took place in an area some 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Niamey, the capital, also wounded another 18 Niger troops, with the army blaming "terrorist elements". Following talks with Issoufou, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was preparing to send a detachment of troops "to help our Niger colleagues." A French military source said it would include 50 to 80 troops, most of them...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/17)
Donor countries meeting in Oslo on Friday pledged $672 million (634 million euros) in emergency aid for people threatened by famine in the Lake Chad region, which has been hard hit by Boko Haram, hosts Norway said. The amount was pledged over three years, and was aimed at helping 10.7 million people in need. The UN has previously said it hoped to raise $1.5 billion in 2017 for the region, which includes Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad. The United States, whose new administration has said it intends to slash its development aid budget, was not among the 14 countries that pledged money in Oslo. "The US said they would come back with their contribution, so it is not factored in"...

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