Friday 20 April 2018
(Financial Times 09/28/17)
Albert Woodfox spent 44 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana. At 1,440 square feet, Albert Woodfox’s new house is nearly 27 times the size of the place he called home for more than four decades. When he meets me at the door, one of America’s most famous prisoners is smiling brightly, and squinting into the Louisiana sun. He has reason to be happy. It has been a year and a half since he was released after serving nearly 44 years in solitary confinement in one of the country’s most notorious prisons. “By any standards I am extraordinarily lucky . . . I lost family members but never the support of my family. The African-American community embraced me when I was released from prison and...
(Voice of America 09/28/17)
Business activity has come to a standstill as Cameroon has sealed its northern border with the troubled Central African Republic following escalating violence in the neighboring country. Cameroon says several of its citizens have been kidnapped and taken to C.A.R. by armed groups. Hundreds of villagers in the Cameroon northern town of Mayo Rey celebrated the return home of three traders captured by armed groups from their town two weeks ago. They were taken across the border to the Central African Republic and their families asked to pay $10,000 each the hostages release. Among the crowd was Julie Nelem, 25, whose uncle was kidnapped . She is very happy her uncle has returned, allowing her to continue to have money...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
South Africa’s potential bailout of the state-owned airline could place pressure on the nation’s finances because other government-run companies that are cash-strapped and mismanaged may come to expect the same, Moody’s Investors Service said. “It generates moral hazards because then larger state-owned enterprises see it and there perhaps will be the perception that the government will always come and bail out, without reforms,” Zuzana Brixiova, Moody’s senior vice president for sovereign risk and its lead analyst for South Africa, said in an interview in London Wednesday. Loss-making South African Airways needs a recapitalization of at least 10 billion rand ($738 million) and there are plans to strengthen its board, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said last month. In addition, the government...
(AL Jazeera 09/28/17)
Trade union confederation says time has come for 'workers and citizens to stand up and push back against this rot'. Thousands of workers have taken to the streets in cities across South Africa to protest against government corruption, state capture and job losses. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), both in alliance with the ruling ANC, say the strike on Wednesday is largely against corruption, but the call to take to the streets is also seen as an indictment against President Jacob Zuma. Protests took place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, among other cities, with marchers carrying 'Zuma Must Fall' placards and singing anti-Zuma songs. COSATU wants Zuma to appoint...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Coca-Cola Co.’s Nigerian operation will invest $600 million by 2020 to boost sales, in line with a global strategy to extend the product range beyond its soft drinks. The unit of the Atlanta-based beverage maker plans to expand its offering of drinks to include flavored and condensed milk, iced tea and bottled water to meet demand in Africa’s most populous country, Peter Njonjo, the president of the West Africa operation, said in an interview at his office in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. “Our objective is to provide whatever beverages you need across your life stages,” he said. The money is part of a pledge by Coca-Cola to invest $17 billion in Africa by 2020. Global Chief Executive Officer James Quincey...
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
South Sudan President Salva Kiir's spokesman said Tuesday that Juba would like to negotiate with the U.S. government over recently imposed sanctions on three individuals, including two senior government officials. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, however, defended the sanctions in a briefing to the U.N. Security Council in New York and called on the UNSC to act. “The United States is not waiting to act. Earlier this month, we imposed economic and financial sanctions against individuals who have obstructed the peace process, denied access to humanitarian assistance and interfered with the peacekeeping mission,” Haley said.
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
Chad’s appearance on a new U.S. government list of countries subject to travel restrictions has the central African country bewildered. “The Government of Chad expresses lack of understanding of the official reasons for it,” Chad's communications minister and government spokesperson, Madeleine Alingue, said in a statement in French. The administration of President Donald Trump issued new travel rules Sunday, building on and adding to a March executive order that banned travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. The new rules added three countries
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Joao Lourenco was sworn in as president of Angola in a ceremony marking the first leadership change in almost four decades in sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest oil producer. The 63-year-old former defense minister takes over from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who steps down after 38 years in office but will continue to lead the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola until next year. The MPLA won 61 percent of votes in elections last month, securing 150 seats in the 220-member parliament. “Joao Manuel Goncalves has been named president of the republic following general elections that expressed the will of the people,” Rui Ferreira, chairman of Angola’s Constitutional Court
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Kenya’s main opposition group began protests in the capital to press its demand for changes to the electoral commission before next month’s presidential election rerun, as it accused the body of working with the ruling Jubilee Party to prepare another fraudulent vote. Police fired teargas to disperse hundreds of National Super Alliance supporters who gathered outside the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission’s offices in the Nairobi city center on Tuesday. More demonstrations were held in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, Nairobi-based broadcaster Citizen TV reported. “The tragedy we face today, and which we have to confront before it consumes us, is not that elections were stolen,” opposition presidential
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
Malawi is on the road to recovery after years of drought, floods, poor crops and budget deficits, the country’s president has told VOA. This year, the economy could grow by 5 percent, said President Peter Mutharika, nearly double the 2.7 percent growth recorded last year. And the inflation rate is just over 9 percent – the first time in seven years it’s been a single-digit figure. Malawi remains one of the world’s poorest countries, according to the International Monetary Fund, with half the population living in poverty and a quarter in extreme poverty. Massive floods in early 2015 were followed by two years of drought
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
Al-Shabab militants have launched what appears to be a forced recruitment campaign in Somalia's southwestern regions of Bay and Bakool, according to Somali officials. The group, which controls large parts of both regions, is pressuring leaders of local villages to make sure teenagers join its ranks, according to the governor of Bay region, Ali Wardhere Doyow. "They have been holding meetings for clan elders and told them to meet specific numbers of recruits they want collected from clans," Doyow told VOA's Somali Service. Doyow said many families and their children have fled their villages to larger towns in the Bay region
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he won’t ask Africa’s biggest money manager to provide funds to bail out state-owned companies that will put the pensions of government workers at risk. “There is no attempt to dip into pensions for reasons that are unscrupulous,” Gigaba told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday after a meeting with the board of the Public Investment Corp. The event was scheduled after media reports said that the National Treasury is seeking to use PIC funds to put into struggling government entities such as South African Airways. The Treasury is in talks with the PIC about buying part of its 39 percent stake in phone company Telkom SA SOC Ltd., and the discussions are ongoing,...
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
In a scathing report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a senior U.N. official accuses the Democratic Republic of Congo of turning a blind eye to systematic and gross violations of human rights committed by its security forces. The report describes a justice system that shows no independence and allows impunity to flourish, leading to further violence against the people of Democratic Republic of Congo. In her presentation to the Council, U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore criticized the government of President Joseph Kabila for failing to live up to an agreement to pave the way for presidential elections this year and a peaceful transfer of power.
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
The Nigerian army says it has taken a high-level Boko Haram militant into custody. Police in Ondo state arrested Idris Ibrahim Babawo on Sunday and handed him over to the army's 32nd brigade one day later, according to a statement from the army's director of public relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman. The statement, which refers to Babawo as a "terrorist kingpin," says the suspect is 42, goes by the names Idoko and Nagada, and is on a list of wanted Boko Haram militants. It says he hails from Chinade village in the Katagum area of Bauchi state. Ondo state is in southwestern Nigeria, far from the northeastern states where Boko Haram primarily operates. "[Babawo] escaped from the North East...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
South Africa’s biggest labor organization urged workers to strike on Wednesday to protest against what it called “the cancer of corruption” spreading among business and government leaders and threatening the nation’s democracy under President Jacob Zuma. The action is the boldest step yet by the Congress of South African Trade Unions to pile pressure on Zuma, whom it helped to win control of the ruling African National Congress in 2007 and then turned against after he fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister in March. That move prompted S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. to downgrade the nation’s credit assessment to junk. “This strike is about sending a message to both government and private sector that as workers and citizens...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
SBM Holdings Ltd., Mauritius’s second-largest lender, plans more acquisitions in Kenya as it seeks to become one of the country’s top 10 banks within the next three years before expanding into West Africa. The bank, which obtained a license to begin operating SBM Kenya Ltd. in May, expects to have its systems and staff in place by December, Advisor to the Board of Directors & Group Lead Executive Moses Harding said. It will then expand by establishing brokerage, micro-finance and asset management units as well as other services, he said. “We can’t move to tier one in an organic way, so I will look at inorganic options,” Harding said in an interview Monday in the capital, Nairobi. “This is the...
(The Guardian 09/27/17)
The central African country’s inclusion on the revised list, which prevents almost all travel for its citizens to the US, has been causing confusion. It is fair to say that one of the more infrequently asked geopolitical questions of recent decades has been: “Why Chad?” The large, poor African country has rarely played even a marginal role in international power politics. Its inclusion on a newly revised list of eight countries whose citizens are subjected to an indefinite ban on almost all travel to the US has led to some bewilderment. ​ The addition of other states on to Donald Trump’s list, which will come into effect on 18 October, appear more easily explained. Trump has been trading threats and...
(The Guardian 09/27/17)
Nigerian refugees claim they have been arbitrarily punished by soldiers for Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon as study alleges 100,000 have been forced out. Refugees who fled the Islamist militant group Boko Haram are being driven out of Cameroon and back to Nigeria, where they face violence and destitution, human rights organisations have said. The Cameroonian military has forced 100,000 refugees to return to north-east Nigeria since 2015, in many cases after torturing, assaulting and sexually abusing them, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW). The study builds on figures released earlier this year by the UN High commissioner for Refugees, the UN refugee agency. The figures were accompanied by the UNHCR’s first public criticism of the authorities...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
The South African High Court in Pretoria has restricted access to 1.75 billion rand ($130 million) in rehabilitation-trust accounts for two mines owned by companies linked to the politically connected Gupta family, according to The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, a civic action group. The interim order directs India’s Bank of Baroda to continue to hold the trust funds of the Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines in accounts in the trusts’ names, the group said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The trustees or those with signing powers are barred from “directly or indirectly dealing in any way with, disposing of or removing from” South Africa any of the funds or assets of the trusts, OUTA said, citing the interim court order...
(Dw-World 09/27/17)
After an international maritime court backed Ghana in a dispute with Ivory Coast over claims to oil fields in the Gulf of Guinea, Ghanaians hope they will profit from the country's oil wealth. Isaac Kaledzi reports. Ghana and neighboring Ivory Coast have been arguing over who owns which oil field in the Gulf of Guinea for years. On Saturday, the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ruled Ghana did not violate maritime borders by conducting oil exploration in its waters along its boundaries with Ivory Coast. This means oil exploration in Ghana's waters can continue. Since 2011, the country's budget has been considerably supported by oil revenues. "Currently, over four billion dollars have been realized from...

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