Friday 15 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 09/05/17)
A spurt in attacks by Boko Haram Islamists has claimed nearly 400 lives since April in Nigeria and Cameroon, double the figure of the previous five months, Amnesty said Tuesday. The increasing use of suicide bombers -- often young women and girls forced to carry and detonate explosives in crowded areas -- has killed at least 381 civilians in the two countries, the rights group said in a statement. "Boko Haram is once again committing war crimes on a huge scale, exemplified by the depravity of forcing young girls to carry explosives with the sole intention of killing as many people as they possibly can," said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International's director...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/05/17)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The number of children suffering from life-threatening malnutrition across the Lake Chad Basin - about 800,000 - has soared since last year, and could spiral further as Boko Haram ramps up attacks in the region, an aid agency said on Tuesday. The jihadists’ brutal eight-year insurgency has forced millions of people to flee their homes, driven farmers from their land and disrupted aid delivery, leading to a “devastating food crisis”, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). More than 7.2 million people across Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad need food aid, while the number of children aged under five suffering from severe malnutrition in the region has risen by two-thirds since last September, United Nations...
(Bloomberg 09/05/17)
A surge in agriculture has helped lift Africa’s biggest economies out of their slumps, but the recovery may be weak. Gross domestic product in Nigeria, the continent’s largest crude producer, advanced for the first time in six quarters in the three months ended June from a year earlier, growing 0.55 percent, the statistics agency said. In South Africa, GDP expanded 2.5 percent from the previous quarter, ending the second recession in almost a decade. Both economies had agriculture largely to thank: in South Africa, a bumper corn harvest following the worst drought in more than a century saw the sector surge 34 percent from the prior quarter, while in Nigeria, where farming vies with industries as the second-biggest contributor to...
(Bloomberg 09/04/17)
The worst may be over for Africa’s two largest economies as they likely emerged from a slump in the second quarter. Official data on Tuesday will probably show South Africa’s economy expanded in the three months through June, ending its second recession in less than a decade. Nigeria’s gross domestic product probably grew from a year earlier, and came out of its worst slump in a quarter of a century. South Africa and Nigeria together account for almost half of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and their recoveries may boost trade and production across the region. The reasons differ: while Nigeria, the continent’s biggest oil producer, is benefiting from a rebound in crude output, stronger retail sales may help drive growth in...
(Xinhuanet 08/31/17)
Cooperation between China and Africa has seen remarkable progress in renewable energy, showing the determination of developing countries to harness the huge potential of clean energy and combat climate change. China-Africa Renewable Energy Cooperation and Innovation Alliance, a coalition of financing institutions, smart grid providers and core manufacturers, on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation with Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). "Africa has the highest potential for renewable energy, but the least access to it," said Seyni Nafo, chairman of AREI endorsed by the African Union Assembly. The MOU will enable the two parties to cooperate in renewable energy generation in Africa, with Chinese smart grid providers and core renewable energy manufacturers providing technological and financial support...
(Bloomberg 08/30/17)
One Thousand & One Voices LLC, a private-equity fund started by the great-grandson of the founder of Coors Brewing Co., said it bought a producer of sushi-quality trout that is the largest such facility in Africa. SanLei’s operations are on the Katse Dam in Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South Africa, 1K1V, as the fund is known, said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The company didn’t disclose the value of the transaction. SanLei has secured a marketing and distribution agreement with CGC Japan Co., which has more than 4,000 stores and collective revenue of more than $40.5 billion, making it Japan’s largest joint-procurement supermarket chain, 1K1V said. The fund has been hunting for private-equity investments that tap Africa’s growing consumer...
(AFP (eng) 08/29/17)
African and European leaders on Monday backed proposals to screen asylum seekers in Africa as a way to prevent thousands from taking perilous journeys across the Mediterranean. Hosting the talks in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested setting up "fully safe areas" in Niger and Chad -- key transit points for migrants -- where asylum-seekers would be processed by the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The leaders signed a roadmap on the proposal, though there were as yet few details on how it might work. A joint mission will be sent to Niger and Chad soon, they said in a statement after the mini-summit.
(The Associated Press 08/29/17)
NIAMEY, Niger (AP) -- Niger's government says torrential rains have killed at least 44 people in the capital and other parts of the West African country. Director General of Civil Protection and Disasters Col. Aboubacar Bako said Tuesday that hundreds of homes were destroyed in rains just outside Niamey on Monday. He says the rains began Saturday in the capital and surrounding areas. Saley Abdouhe, the head of Gabougoura village, has appealed to residents in at-risk areas to evacuate and take shelter in schools. He says the main cause of flooding is the obstruction of drainage channels. Some neighborhoods have dug ravines to ease the damage. The government is providing emergency food assistance, and aid organizations are providing shelter and...
(AFP (eng) 08/29/17)
Gaou Moussa stands in front of his family home nestled in the dense vegetation of Chad's Tchoukouli island, where burnt straw and charred wood still litter the ground from a Boko Haram attack three years ago. "They killed my brother and we fled," he said. Tchoukouli -- one of hundreds of tiny interconnected islands about an hour's canoe ride from Lake Chad's northern banks -- is coming back to life. Despite the ongoing threat posed by the Islamist insurgents, fishermen sit mending nets and repaired ones curl in the sun nearby, while farmers guide their cattle into the water and others tend to cornfields in the distance. All of these are activities that have been absent for more than two...
(The Telegraph 08/29/17)
France, Germany, Italy and Spain have offered to support Libyan coastguards and help Chad and Niger with border control to stem migration to Europe at a summit in Paris. They also agreed on a new policy to grant asylum to vulnerable migrants who apply for protection while in Africa instead of their destination countries. President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany met with Italian and Spanish leaders as well as those of Chad, Niger and Libya - all three of them transit countries for migrants. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also attended. In a joint statement, they said that it was "important to equip and train in an adequate manner Libyan coastguards" while emphasising the importance...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/29/17)
Europe’s “big four” continental powers and three African states agreed a plan on Monday to tackle illegal human trafficking and support nations struggling to contain the flow of people across the desert and Mediterranean sea. The 28-nation European Union has long struggled to reach 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. After hosting the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Chad, Niger and Libya, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was time for greater coordination. “We must all act together - from the source countries to Europe and passing by the transit countries, especially Libya - to be efficient,”...
(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...

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