Wednesday 24 May 2017
(Voice of America 01/20/17)
By most measures, Africa is safer today than it has been in the modern era: Diseases are less deadly and wars are less frequent. But recent years have also been marked by a rise in radical extremism on the continent, and the terror threat could derail some of the world's fastest-growing economies. Dealing with the spread of radicalization has been a central focus of U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy during his time in office. Few areas have been spared over the past eight years, with much of the continent living in the shadow of a violent extremist group: al-Shabab in Somalia and East Africa, Islamic State (IS) in Libya, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, the Lord's...
(Xinhuanet 01/18/17)
The Chinese government's decision to terminate ivory processing and trade by the end of 2017 marked a critical milestone in the journey toward eliminating poaching and other threats to Africa's elephant species, a conservationist group said on Wednesday. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) hailed China for taking bold measures to revitalize global efforts to save African elephants whose numbers had declined this decade due to poaching and climatic stresses. "The recent announcement by the central government of China to ban all domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017 offers a glimmer of real optimism in the fight against elephant poaching," Sebunya said in a statement issued in Nairobi The Chinese authority in December 2016 announced the...
(New Vision 01/17/17)
“I can tell you that rats destroy up to 60% of health equipment in Africa,” Ssali said. Ssali sought to highlight the dangers that exist when biomedical engineers are not consulted in the management of health equipment including x-rays and CT scans. For instance, he narrated, cables of a CT scan installed at one unnamed facility were eaten up by rats, costing the institution over $5,000 to replace. Biomedical engineers are professionals who maintain and repair machines for diagnosing medical problems. They design medical equipment and devices, artificial internal organs or synthetic body parts. In Africa, the profession is relatively new-just about 10 years old in Uganda, it has been in existence in the developed world for nearly half a...
(AFP (eng) 01/14/17)
The 15-nation ECOWAS West African bloc will ask the UN Security Council to approve the deployment of troops to the Gambia if its longtime leader Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down, a UN envoy said Friday. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said a delegation of ECOWAS leaders to Banjul were to make clear to Jammeh that they were prepared to use force to ensure a handover of power to president-elect Adama Barrow. "They plan to leave no doubt about the determination of ECOWAS to use all necessary means, including force, to have the will of the Gambian people upheld," Chambas told the Security Council. "Should this be deemed necessary, ECOWAS intends to seek the endorsement of the AU Peace and Security Commission...
(RFI 01/14/17)
The 27th Africa-France Summit kicked off on Friday in the Malian capital Bamako with more than 30 African heads of state meeting French officials to discuss the threat of jihadists in the Sahel region and improve democracy in Africa. the meeting is also an opportunity for French president François Hollande to showcase his legacy. The choice to hold the 27th Africa-France summit in Mali is not insignificant. Bamako is where president François Hollande first revealed himself as an international statesman, when France's military launched Operation Serval in January 2013 as jihadists allied to Tuareg rebels took control of the north of the country. "I took the necessary steps and we intervened militarily, and what we did there in terms of...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
France's top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault struck a defiant tone at a summit on Friday with foreign ministers from across Africa as he urged them to show confidence and hope despite the deadly jihadist threat. With the battle against extremists, the struggle to improve governance and the migrant crisis high on the agenda, ministers from at least 30 nations met in Mali's capital Bamako ahead of heads of state due on Saturday. Mali called on France four years ago to help force jihadists out of key northern cities. To this day, 4,000 French troops remain in the country and across the Sahel region. "(Choosing) Bamako as the venue is an act of confidence after the intervention," Ayrault told journalists as the...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
Talks gathering some 30 African states and France begin in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday, with leaders expected to focus on Africa's battle against jihadists and bid to improve its democratic record. The summit, also due to take in the migrant crisis, will see foreign ministers gather first, with heads of state expected to follow Saturday, according to Malian and French conference organisers. Many of the nations taking part were once ruled by France, which in recent years has boosted its military involvement in the continent. Several English-speaking African countries will also be present. In a bid to help crush the growing jihadist threat, France has trained more than 20,000 African soldiers every year since a Paris summit in 2013,...
(Huffingtonpost 01/10/17)
And it’s ironic given the growing consensus that Beijing is the U.S. president-elect’s enemy number one. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden are the duo behind the China Africa Project and hosts of the popular China in Africa Podcast. We’re here to answer your most pressing, puzzling, even politically incorrect questions, about all things related to the Chinese in Africa and Africans in China. The election of Donald Trump has introduced a new era of uncertainty in global politics, especially in Africa where the president-elect has said little about his foreign policy agenda for the continent. Not surprisingly, Trump’s unpredictable, provocative style is sparking widespread concern across the continent as to whether the United States plans to remain engaged in...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results in brackets with W denoting a win, D a draw and L a loss): FAVOURITES Egypt (WWW) Back among the elite and in good form. After winning three consecutive Cup of Nations titles, they failed to qualify for the past...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/17)
Around 20 more members of the jihadist group Boko Haram have surrendered in Niger, the government says. "About 50 Boko Haram fighters have now given themselves up" since December 27, Niger's interior minister, Bazoum Mohamed, said in an interview broadcast late Wednesday on the state TV channel Tele Sahel. The combatants surrendered at Diffa, in southeastern Niger, a Boko Haram stronghold close to the border with Nigeria, where 31 fighters turned themselves in at the end of last month. Mohamed attributed the success to a military squeeze on the group, launched in July, coordinated with security forces in Nigeria and Chad, where the group also operates.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/06/17)
Women in the Lake Chad basin have been forced to sell sex to survive due to an insurgency by Boko Haram fighters that has driven millions from their homes and left children to starve, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday. The violence has displaced more than 2.4 million people across the swamplands of Lake Chad, where the borders of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria meet, and disrupted the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of others, ICRC says. Up to a million people have been cut off from humanitarian aid by Boko Haram despite a regional military offensive against the Islamist militants, according to the United Nations. "It's (extraordinary) ... to see a woman and her...
(Agence Ecofin 01/06/17)
Indian firm Aaviskaar Venture Management Services (AVMS) has announced plans to raise between $100 million and $150 million for Africa investments. “We will start the fund-raising around the middle of 2017 and we expect to close it in 2018,” said Vineet Rai, founder of Intellecap-Aavishkaar group. The new African fund will focus on investing on African low-income groups, especially in the agriculture, finance and financial technology sectors. “We will use the sow-tend-reap strategy of multiple round investing and will be an early investor,” Rai told local Indian media Regions targeted are West and East Africa, especially Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana. Investments will range from half a million to $5 million. The investment firm’s expansion strategy in Africa...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
Italy vowed Wednesday to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests have been rejected, after a riot in a reception centre sparked by the death of a young woman. The country, which has been on the frontline of migrants arriving across the Mediterranean from North Africa, is pushing for an agreement with Niger and a renewed deal with Tunisia to facilitate returns. "We have saved many lives but we cannot accept rule-breaking. We need to speed up deportations," Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the country's former interior minister, said in an interview with La Stampa daily. He was "working to tie up agreements which will reduce arrivals and prevent departures" from the coast of North Africa, he said after a record...
(BBC News Africa 01/03/17)
An electricity grid for the whole village Problem: A total of 1.3 billion people worldwide currently don't have electricity, according to Yale Environment 360. Getting people in rural areas on to the national grid is proving too difficult and traditional solar panels generate meagre amounts of energy. Solution: Steamaco makes solar and battery micro-grids which can work for a whole village. They are small electricity generation and distribution systems that operate independently of larger grids. How it works: Micro-grids are nothing new. The new part is that Steamaco's technology automates the regulation of electricity. So, if the system detects there will be a surge in demand for electricity, for example on a Saturday night when people want to start playing...
(AFP (eng) 12/30/16)
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Thursday warned troops stationed in Africa's Sahel region that they should "prepare for a long war" against jihadists. He also promised Chad, where French troops have been stationed since 2014 under Operation Barkhane, his nation's financial support. "Our country must continue to make clear and ambitious budgetary decisions in support of our armies," Cazeneuve said on his first overseas visit as prime minister. The Barkhane forces' mission is to target jihadist groups that are active in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert.
(Voice of America 12/30/16)
2016 was predicted to be a tough year for African economies, and it delivered. Traditional economic leaders faltered this year amid a storm of falling commodity prices, unpredictable and destructive weather like droughts and floods across large swaths of the the continent. Slow economic growth in China, a major investor and trading partner, only added to their challenges. “This year, you’ve seen the two Africas: the commodity exporters going through tough times, while the non-commodity exporters being more resilient,” Nigerian economist Nonso Obikili, who researches Nigerian and sub-Saharan economic trends for Economic Research Southern Africa, told VOA. He says 2016 has been hard on African commodity giants as oil prices fell to lows not seen since the global financial crisis...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/29/16)
Dozens of Boko Haram fighters have given themselves up to authorities in southern Niger, the interior minister said, days after the Islamist group suffered key losses over the border in Nigeria. "Thirty-one young people from Diffa, who were enrolled a few years ago in Boko Haram, decided to surrender," minister Mohamed Bazoum wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, above pictures of him touring the area near Nigeria's northeast border. The fighters arrived in the remote desert town of Diffa in groups and were being held by local authorities. "I learned that the first who surrendered were not arrested, and I surrendered," a former Boko Haram
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Thirty-one Boko Haram fighters have surrendered to authorities in Niger, the West African country's interior minister Bazoum Mohamed announced Tuesday. Boko Haram's seven-year insurgency began in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria but has since spread beyond its borders to Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The 31 fighters gave up their arms in Diffa, a southeast region, Mohamed said on Twitter, the first time Niger authorities have reported such surrenders. Boko Haram has been carrying out murderous attacks in Niger since February 2015. "They came one by one and are currently held in a secure centre," a security source based in Diffa told AFP, adding that they would return to their families after undergoing a "de-radicalisation"
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...

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