Friday 23 June 2017
(The Guardian 05/22/17)
Dazed and exhausted, Joyce Mori sits on the floor cradling her sleeping daughter as they wait to have their fingerprints taken. One of 1,600 refugees who have arrived at the Imvepi reception centre in the West Nile region of northern Uganda, she has finally made it out of South Sudan’s war but, like many others, is thinking about loved ones left behind. Leaving her village of Mukaya, she travelled to the town of Yei with her four children. From there it took eight days to walk to the border, pushing her three-year-old on a bicycle while the others followed on foot. “My husband is a soldier and was forced to stay and fight. I have no hope he will find...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(AFP (eng) 05/20/17)
Sweat soaks into the bright red neckerchiefs of the soldiers slouching to attention on a steamy parade ground deep in the inaccessible forests of Central African Republic (CAR). The military display marked the end of a failed years-long hunt for Joseph Kony, leader of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has its origins in 1980s Uganda. Arrayed against this elusive, lonely and brutal figure and his dwindling band of fighters, were a host of regional militaries supported by US special forces. And yet, as Ugandan and American troops abandon their "capture or kill" mission, Kony remains at large. The job of finding him now rests with the under-manned and poorly-trained Central African forces. Lieutenant Hubert Zinja,...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(Voice of America 05/19/17)
Police in Uganda have come under fire for allegedly torturing suspects, with both the president and interior minister publicly recognizing the problem this week and calling for it to end. On March 17, Uganda's assistant inspector general of police was gunned down in Kampala. Five days later, police said they were holding 17 suspects; however, it was a month before those individuals appeared in court. While media was blocked from the proceedings, leaked photos of the inmates appeared to show clear signs of abuse. When the suspects were brought to court for a second time
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Uganda, which wants to start building part of a multi-billion-dollar rail line to Kenya, must wait for its neighbor to decide on plans for its portion of the track before the project’s main funder makes money available, the country’s finance minister said. Export-Import Bank of China will arrange financing for Uganda only when it’s sure that Kenya “is willing and able to extend its railway to the border, so that they don’t fund a white elephant,” Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said. Kenya has committed to the line, but wants to start building when it’s in a position to borrow more money, he said. Eximbank will provide 85 percent of the $2.3 billion Uganda needs for the line, Kasingye Kyamugambi, the...
(Daily Monitor 05/18/17)
Kampala — The High Court in Kampala has rejected the plea by a section of Ugandans who were seeking its intervention to prevail over various telecommunication service providers, not to switch off unverified SIM cards when the deadline (May 19) reaches. The rejection by Justice Stephen Musota to prevail over the telecommunication service providers, paves way for the providers to switch off all the unverified SIM cards come mid night tonight. The government through Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, had extended the deadline for SIM card verification for one more month following public outcry up to May 19. Justice Musota in his ruling, held that the government had given Ugandans two years to register their sim cards and that they can't...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday said the use of torture was "wrong" but faced criticism from a top rights monitor for not demanding an enquiry on alleged police excesses. "The use of torture is unnecessary and wrong and must not be used again if it was being used as I see some groups claiming in the media," Museveni wrote in a letter to police and intelligence chiefs. He expressed concern that security operatives "may torture the wrong person, somebody who is totally innocent," adding: "This is very unfair." "Somebody may admit guilt when he is innocent in order to be spared being tortured," said the longserving leader. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has repeatedly cited use of torture of detainees...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(The Observer 05/16/17)
A contingent of the Ugandan soldiers returning from the Central African Republic (CAR) are being accused of having sexually exploited or abused at least 13 women and girls since 2015. A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) says at least one rape was registered. In a statement issued by its Nairobi office, HRW says it interviewed 13 women and 3 girls early this year. The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers had been deployed in CAR since 2009 as part of the African Union's Regional Task Force to eliminate the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels. In April this year, the ministry of defence announced the withdrawal of UPDF troops from CAR, saying the mission to neutralise the LRA had been...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
A Ugandan academic was released on bail on Wednesday after spending more than a month in jail on charges related to posts she made on Facebook criticizing the country's leader of three decades, Yoweri Museveni. Stella Nyanzi repeatedly accused Museveni and his wife Janet, who is the education minister, of breaking an election promise to offer free sanitary pads to schoolgirls so they do not have to skip classes. In the posts, made over several months, Nyanzi also accused Museveni - often in colourful language - of nepotism, extravagance, corruption and human rights violations. Appearing in court in the capital Kampala on Wednesday, she seemed to be walking with difficulty. A prisons spokesman said Nyanzi had been ill but that...
(Daily Monitor 05/11/17)
Uganda's electricity exports to Kenya grew 300 per cent in the four months to April as drought cut the neighbouring country's local generation of hydro-electric power by 347 million kilowatt hours. Kenya imported 92.3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) from Uganda in the four months compared to 13.66 million units in the same period last year - marking a 302 per cent growth, according to official data. This is a departure from last year when Kenya cut by half electricity imports from Uganda following the injection of the additional 280 megawatts geothermal power to the national grid a year earlier. But the drought, which follows low rainfall during the October and November rainy season, has left at least 1.3 million people...
(Daily Monitor 05/11/17)
Kampala — President Museveni has taken a leap of faith by deploying the military to fight reported graft in Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and restore foreign investors' confidence. Gen David Muhoozi, the Chief of Defence Forces, will according to a source, this or next week name the team which will report to the President through State Investment and Privatisation minister Evelyn Anite. This newspaper understands that Mr Museveni last Friday instructed Ms Anite to set up a customised anti-corruption office at UIA headquarters on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala and a toll-free line to enable investors and members of the public report corruption cases to UPDF. The soldiers, according to Ms Anite, will also handle complaints about delays in approving investment...
(Xinhuanet 05/11/17)
African states are scheduled to meet in Uganda next week to formulate a common position on migration and refugees in the international arena. Obiga Kania, minister of state for internal affairs told reporters on Tuesday that the three-day meeting that will also bring in experts from the UN and civil societies will start on May 15. The meeting dubbed Third Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFoM) will be held under the theme, ‘Towards a Common African Position on the Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees’. Kania said the meeting is intended to be an open and all-inclusive platform for dialogue; bringing in national and regional perspectives and best practices of all relevant stakeholders. He said the overall goal is...
(AFP (eng) 05/10/17)
A Ugandan court ordered the release on bail Wednesday of a prominent academic charged after she called President Yoweri Museveni a "pair of buttocks" in a Facebook post. Outspoken university lecturer Stella Nyanzi, 42, who had been detained for more than a month, collapsed as she entered the court in Kampala for the hearing. Nyanzi was initially arrested a month ago for posting critical comments about the president's wife Janet Museveni, who is also education minister, after the government reneged on plans to supply free sanitary pads to poor schoolgirls. She was subsequently charged with cyber harassment for calling Museveni "a pair of buttocks"
(Reuters (Eng) 05/10/17)
Uganda hopes to raise $2 billion in donations at a U.N. refugee summit next month to help fund relief operations for refugees flowing in from neighboring South Sudan, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said on Tuesday. The east African country hosts a total of 1.2 million refugees, of which almost 800,000 are South Sudanese who fled the world's youngest country since the outbreak of civil war. Rugunda said Uganda faced difficulties in coping with the influx, which ballooned recently since the latest wave of violence erupted in July. "The ... numbers are placing a huge strain on our already stressed ability to cater for food," he told a news conference. "We are hoping that ... we will be able to raise...

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