Sunday 21 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
South Africa's central bank chief Lesetja Kganyago will take over as chair of the International Monetary Fund's policy advisory committee, the IMF announced Thursday. Kganyago, who has served as governor of the South African Reserve Bank since late 2014, takes on a three-year post as head of the International Monetary and Finance Committee. He replaces Agustin Carstens, former head of the Bank of Mexico, who resigned in December to take over as head of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). His first major role will be to oversee the IMF's Spring meeting in Washington in mid-April. The 24-member IMFC is the primary advisory body of the IMF Board of Governors on the principal policy issues facing the fund. Kganyago is...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s government needs to explain the benefits and risks of its new flexible currency system, which will stoke inflation, the head of the state High Planning Commission told Reuters on Wednesday. Ahmed Lahlimi said annual inflation will rise to around 1.6 percent in 2018 from 0.2 percent last year as oil prices have been rising and because imports of food and other goods will become more expensive. The North African country launched this week a more flexible foreign exchange system, part of free-market reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund to protect the economy against external shocks and safeguard its foreign reserves. The dirham has hardly moved since against major currencies, easing worries about a devaluation. The...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
The European Union late Wednesday suspended a large-scale water conservation project in Kenya after evictions of local indigenous people turned fatally violent this week. The indefinite suspension of the $38 million (31 million euro) project follows the reported killing of a member of the local Sengwer community by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers on Tuesday. Regarded as squatters by government, the Sengwer people have resisted efforts to move them from the Embobut Forest, which they see as ancestral lands. The scheme aims at conserving forested areas in Kenya's western highlands that are a crucial rainwater catchment area.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
ACCRA (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp signed a deal with Ghana on Thursday to explore for oil in the Deepwater Cape Three Point offshore (DWCTP) oilfield. The signing followed direct negotiations between Ghana and Exxon Mobil without an open competitive tender due to the nature of the field, where the depth ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 meters, Ghanaian officials said. Ghana, which exports cocoa and gold, began commercial production of oil from its flagship Jubilee reserves in late 2010. Other firms drilling in the West African country include UK’s Tullow oil and Kosmos Energy. The Exxon Mobil deal is the first to be signed after the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea last September drew an ocean boundary...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - About 6.2 million people in Somalia - half the population - need emergency aid, such as food, water and shelter, due to unprecedented drought and ongoing conflict, the United Nations said on Wednesday, appealing for $1.6 billion. The drought - spanning four consecutive poor rainy seasons - has forced millions from their homes and left hundreds of thousands of children malnourished. One in four people in the Horn of Africa nation faces the risk of hunger. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said donors raised enough funds in 2017 to avert famine and stave off an outbreak of cholera, but the situation was set to worsen this year without sufficient aid...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
MARSABIT, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Widow Ahatho Turuga lost 20 of her goats to drought early last year, but the shopkeeper is planning to reinvest in her herd once she has saved enough money. “I think I will start with four goats and see how it goes,” she said, rearranging soap on the upper shelf of her shop in Loglogo, a few kilometers from Marsabit town. She recalled how frequent droughts had left her on the edge of desperation, struggling to care for six of her own children and four others she adopted after their mother died. But Turuga is finding it easier to cope since taking part in a rural entrepreneurship program run by The BOMA Project, a...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has fired his powerful intelligence chief, state media said Thursday, in the latest shake-up of the country's security services. Sisi appointed his chief-of-staff and close ally General Abbas Kamel as interim replacement for outgoing intelligence head General Khaled Fawzy, according to state media. No reason was given for the move, which comes ahead of presidential elections to be held in March. Sisi, who has run the country with an iron fist since 2014, has not yet officially declared himself a candidate, but he is widely expected to stand and win. A former army chief, Sisi was elected in 2014 a year after leading the military's overthrow of his predecessor Mohamed Morsi amid mass protests against...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday called on prosecutors to act urgently in pursuit of a firm owned by friends of scandal-plagued President Jacob Zuma, as pressure mounted on him to step down. Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma as head of the ruling African National Congress last month, making him likely to replace Zuma as the country’s next president in 2019 - or even earlier, if Zuma resigns. In recent days he has gone on the offensive against companies controlled by the Gupta family, businessmen friends of Zuma accused of unduly using political...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
President Macky Sall on Thursday suspended all authorisations for logging and ordered an overhaul of Senegal's forestry laws after a massacre connected to the illegal trade in timber. In a statement, Sall said he had instructed the government "to suspend until further orders all authorisations for logging and to immediately proceed with a revision of the forestry code." He also urged the armed forces to "use all necessary means to permanently neutralise all armed groups" operating on national soil. On January 6, 14 young men were murdered, most of them in execution-style killings in the forest of Borofaye in the southern Casamance region. Twenty-two people have been arrested.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The only functioning airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli remained shut for a third day on Wednesday after fierce clashes between armed groups damaged planes belonging to all four of the airlines that operate there. The fighting erupted on Monday after one of the city’s many armed groups launched an attack at Mitiga Airport in an apparent effort to secure the release of prisoners held in an adjacent prison. At least 20 people were killed and 60 wounded. “Mitiga’s air space remains closed and it is up to the authorities to decide when it will be reopened,” the airport administration said in a short statement on Wednesday. Petro Air, which operates flights to Libyan oil fields, also said...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
The Nigerian armed forces have joined the hunt for two Americans and two Canadians who were kidnapped in an ambush, a military source told AFP on Thursday. Kidnappers seized the four on Tuesday evening in northern Kaduna state, shooting dead two of their Nigerian police escorts in the latest abduction targeting foreigners. "We are on it and making some progress," said the military source in Kaduna, on condition of anonymity. "We have a special team now that arrived from Abuja, they have now joined with the team that are here."
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Thursday at talks in Cairo they were opposed to any "conflict" over the sharing of Nile waters. Sisi said that Desalegn's visit was "a clear sign for our peoples and the entire world of our political will and determination to overcome all obstacles" between the two countries. The Nile should serve as "a source of cohesion... and development, not of conflict" with Ethiopia, which is building a controversial dam that has raised Egyptian concerns over water supplies, he said. "We agreed that we must make sure that this great river never becomes an object of competition, mistrust and conflict," Desalegn told a joint news conference. Sisi said Ethiopia...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged on Thursday not to let differences over a dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile river ruin relations with Addis Ababa. Ethiopia hopes the hydroelectric Grand Renaissance Dam will make it Africa’s largest power exporter. Egypt says it threatens its water supply which relies almost exclusively on the Nile that runs from Ethiopia through Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Addis Ababa says it will have no impact. Sisi said negotiations with its two African neighbors were progressing and said a deadlock over a disputed, ongoing study on the dam’s impact must end. “The Nile basin enjoys great resources and capabilities that makes it a source of interconnection, building and...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Cape Town will next month slash its individual daily water consumption limit by 40 percent to 50 litres, the mayor said Thursday, as the city battles its worst drought in a century. Mayor Patricia de Lille has warned that if rains do not materialise and drastic consumption reductions are not achieved the normal water supply will be shut off. Instead residents will have to queue at standpipes for daily water rations of 25 litres (6.6 US gallons). "We have reached a point of no return... We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water -- we must force them," De Lille said as she announced a raft of tough new measures to fend-off the so-called "Day Zero" standpipe scenario,...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa’s drought-stricken Cape Town told residents on Wednesday they would need to cut their daily water consumption by almost half from next month as authorities scramble to prevent the city running out of water as soon as in April. Struggling to cope with its worst drought in a century, Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city and a major tourist hub, last cut water consumption targets in October but its mayor said on Wednesday that too few residents were paying them any heed. From Feb. 1, the target for water consumption per person would be lowered to 50 litres (13 gallons) from 87 litres a day, and the collective consumption target to 450 million litres from...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Britain is set to send helicopters to bolster a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali in a package of measures to be agreed at a summit near London on Thursday. The commitment will come as Prime Minister Theresa May meets French President Emmanuel Macron at an army base near the British capital, with immigration and global aid also on their agenda. In a separate move, Italy's parliament on Wednesday also approved a ramped up military presence in Niger by agreeing to send an initial 120 troops with 350 more to follow as Rome looks to stem migration and people-trafficking of African migrants. European powers are desperate to stem the flow of African migrants crossing the Mediterranean and are spooked by...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, the country's new president has said, pointing to an earlier date than expected following the ousting of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office in November after a shock military takeover ended Mugabe's 37-year reign. "Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace," Mnangagwa said Wednesday during a visit to neighbouring Mozambique. Mnangagwa, 75, vowed to hold fair elections to ensure Zimbabwe "engages the world as a qualified democratic state," according to Thursday's state-owned Herald newspaper. Under Mugabe, who had ruled since 1980, Zimbabwean elections were marred by vote rigging, intimidation and violent suppression of the opposition...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Economic growth in Africa picked up steam last year and is set to accelerate strongly in 2018, but "massive investments" are needed in infrastructure, the African Development Bank (ADB) said Wednesday. Growth in Africa rose from 2.2 percent in 2016 to 3.6 percent in 2017 and is likely to rise to 4.1 percent in 2018 and 2019, the ADB said in its annual report, African Economic Outlook. "Overall, the recovery in growth has been faster than envisaged, especially among non-resource–intensive economies, underscoring Africa’s resilience," it said. "The recovery in growth could mark a turning point in net commodity-exporting countries," it added. Last year's spurt has a range of explanations, including a recovery in prices for oil, which helped petroleum exporter...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Ten people were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday in a double suicide-bomb attack in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a civilian militia leader and a resident told AFP. The blasts happened in the Muna Garage area of the Borno state capital, in a market used mainly by internally displaced people (IDPs) from a nearby camp. "I can confirm that 10 people have died in the attack," said Ibrahim Liman, of the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), which assists the military with security against Boko Haram. Liman initially gave the death toll as three but he added: "Seven more bodies were brought in from the UMTH (University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital). "Now the number of injured is 52," he said...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers killed 12 people and injured 48 others in an attack on Wednesday on the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, officials from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for Borno said. In recent weeks, Nigeria’s military has embarked on an offensive against the Islamist insurgency in the northeastern state of Borno, the epicenter for much of the conflict, which began in 2009. That has not stopped Boko Haram’s attacks, which target both civilians and the military. Two bombers struck a market in the Muna Garage area on the outskirts of Maiduguri late on Wednesday afternoon, the SEMA officials said. Muna Garage is the site of a camp for displaced people and a...

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