Friday 22 September 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 07/31/13)
LAGOS, July 31 | Wed Jul 31, 2013 (Reuters) - The chairman of African lender Ecobank Transnational (ETI) has repaid a set of loans he took from the bank and no company rules were broken by the transactions, Chief Executive Thierry Tanoh said on Wednesday. South African sovereign fund manager PIC, a 20 percent shareholder in the African bank, has said they would wait for the board of directors to investigate and draw conclusions over the allegations around debt taken out by chairman Kolapo Lawson on August 5. The lender itself has said previously that the loans, which the Financial Times reported were the subject of a boardroom battle, were performing. Tanoh said on Wednesday they were contracted two years...
(CNN 07/31/13)
(CNN) -- A decade after Angola emerged from devastating civil war, the sea front road that winds around the bay of its capital, Luanda, is now dotted with multi-million dollar condominiums, exclusive clubs, and boutique stores catering for the country's elite. Most of Luanda's population, however, live in the nearby slums, where health facilities are non-existent and children must work, not study, to survive. Africa's natural resource wealth has certainly fueled a decade of rapid growth, but most Africans have still not seen the benefits. More urgently, rapid population growth combined with deepening inequality could one day prove explosive. It does not have to be this way, of course. Botswana successfully used its diamond wealth to develop quickly, growing from...
(AFP (eng) 07/28/13)
PARIS, July 28, 2013 (AFP) - Disappointment over the lack of democratic progress in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya is understandable, but the so-called Arab Spring of 2011 will take time to mature, analysts say, warning that the process will be chaotic. "We have to stop using seasonal metaphors. We are in a revolutionary process that will take at least a decade," says Karim Emile Bitar, an expert on Arab affairs at the Paris-based Institute of International and Strategic Relations. "And 'revolutionary process' means revolution, counter-revolution, efforts to fix the revolution, and that's exactly what is happening," he added. In Egypt, the army ousted democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood; Tunisia has seen sometimes violent demonstrations against the...
(Huffingtonpost 07/27/13)
South Africa's failure to successfully engage some of Africa's most troublesome conflict zones has undermined the country's credibility and cast doubt about whether South Africa should be perceived as the continent's regional military and political leader. Ineffectual leadership is at the heart of the matter. President Zuma has made some dubious decisions regarding South Africa's regional foreign policy, and his inability to meaningfully address the plethora of domestic problems facing the country raises question about its suitability as Africa's de facto leader. Attempts to promote human rights -- a trademark of South Africa's foreign policy for the past 20 years -- have resulted in the adoption of some erratic policy decisions. For example, the South African government has numerous times...
( 07/26/13)
Successful elections in Zimbabwe are crucial both for that country's own socio-economic development and for improved security in the southern African region, says South African Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim. Speaking to journalists in Pretoria on Thursday, Ebrahim said the South African government welcomed the fact that the overall atmosphere in Zimbabwe remained calm ahead of next week's elections, with no major instances of violence or intimidation having been reported so far. Ebrahim added that South Africa hoped there wouldn't be a repeat of Zimbabwe's previous election in 2008, when the announcement of the results had been delayed, stoking concerns about poll rigging. Over six-million Zimbabweans who have registered to vote will go to the polls next Wednesday to...
(Business Daily 07/26/13)
Global food prices fell by 2 per cent in the latest four-month period, marking the third straight period of declines, as declining imports in the Middle East and North Africa, and lower demand pushed prices down 12 per cent from their August 2012 peak, the World Bank said on Thursday. The World Bank's Food Price Index showed international prices of wheat fell by 2 per cent, sugar by 6 per cent, soybean oil by 11 per cent, and maize, or corn, by 1 per cent during the four-month period between February and June. The index, which weighs export prices of food, fats and oils, grains, and other foods in nominal U.S. dollars, fell by 2 per cent. Improved weather conditions...
(This Day Live 07/25/13)
African countries and their communities have been told they can effectively end ‘land grabs,’ grow significantly more food across the region, and transform their development prospects if they can modernise the complex governance procedures that govern land ownership and management over the next decade. This was revealed in a new World Bank report titled Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity released on Monday in Washington, US, which also noted that Africa has the highest poverty rate in the world with 47.5 per cent of the population living below $1.25 a day. The detailed report noted that sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly half of the world’s usable, uncultivated land but so far the continent has not been able to develop...
(Voice of America 07/25/13)
CAPITOL HILL — Prospective U.S. diplomats to Africa say President Barack Obama’s recent trip to the continent underscored persistent challenges and vast opportunities that cry out for robust and sustained American engagement. Administration nominees for the State Department’s top Africa post, as well as numerous ambassadorships, testified Wednesday at their Senate confirmation hearing. During his three-nation trip to Africa earlier this month, Obama unveiled initiatives to boost electric service on the continent, increase trade and commercial ties, and help groom Africa’s next generation of leaders. But more must be done, according to Democratic Senator Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa. “President Obama’s recent trip was a positive demonstration of U.S. commitment, and the president’s initiatives...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
Malaria infections, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 newborns and 10,000 new mothers each year. The parasitic illness can also cause miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the risk of death. There are low cost, lifesaving interventions to prevent infection, yet, according to a new study, there are significant barriers to implementing them. For the past 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that pregnant women in areas with high rates of malaria receive insecticide-treated bed nets and periodic doses of a cheap drug to prevent the disease. Yet, despite relatively high attendance at clinics for expectant mothers and their newborns throughout sub-Saharan Africa, statistics show that just a little over 21 percent...
(Ghana Business News 07/24/13)
It will cost Africa $4.5 billion over the next ten years in order to bring proper reforms into managing the continent’s ‘rich’ land, says a new World Bank report published July 22, 2013. According to the report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity,” African countries could effectively end ‘land grabs,’ if the complex land ownership and management is mordernized through governance procedures. The World Bank therefore suggests a number of steps and policies that can bring major changes in the continent’s land governance. “It would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector, $4.5 billion spread over ten years to scale up these policy reforms and investments,” said the Bank. The report suggests that Africa could finally...
(Reuters 07/24/13)
(Reuters) - It was late afternoon as the speedboat cut across the waters off West Africa for its rendezvous with guns and drugs. Behind lay the steamy shore of Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Ahead lay the Al Saheli, a luxurious 115-foot white motor yacht with tinted black windows. Riding in the speedboat was Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto - a Guinea-Bissau former naval chief and war hero and, according to U.S. investigators, a kingpin of West Africa's drug trade. Na Tchuto was allegedly hoping to seal a deal involving millions of dollars and tons of cocaine. He was also in for a surprise. "Once onboard (the Al Saheli), we were offered champagne," said Vasco Antonio...
(Voice of America 07/23/13)
Tree loss in the Congo Basin rainforest is slowing down, according to a new study published Monday. The Congo Basin rainforest is the world's second largest, after the Amazon, and scientists say the study is good news for the global environment. "What we saw is in the 1990s about 285,000 hectares each year removed over Central Africa. And this has declined by over 100,000 hectares in the 2000s. So there was a big drop in deforestation rate in Central Africa between the 1990s and the 2000s, which is quite a surprising result," said Simon Lewis from the University College London. The study, which is based on analysis of satellite images, shows the deforestation rate in the Congo Basin is lower...
(AFP (eng) 07/23/13)
UN says although genital cutting is on decline, female genital mutilation remains "almost universal" in some countries. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, and 30 million more girls are at risk in the next decade, UNICEF said. Although genital cutting is on the decline, the practice remains "almost universal" in some countries, said the report by the United Nations Children's Fund, released on Monday. The report compiles 20 years of data across 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The tradition involves removal of some or all of a female's external genitalia. It can include cutting out the clitoris and sometimes sewing together the labia. Laws are not enough to stop...
(BBC News Africa 07/22/13)
Tree loss in one of the world's largest rainforests has slowed, a study suggests. Satellite images of Africa's Congo Basin reveal that deforestation has fallen by about a third since 2000. Researchers believe this is partly because of a focus on mining and oil rather than commercial agriculture, where swathes of forest are cleared. The work is published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. It is part of a series that is examining the state of Africa's forests. Dr Simon Lewis, from the University of Leeds and University College London, said: "Most of the focus has been on the Amazon and on South East Asian tropical rainforests, and a big bit of the missing picture is what...
( 07/22/13)
African governments must improve their support for agricultural research organisations, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has said. “The need for action on agricultural research is urgent. African Governments must increase funding for agricultural research and extension; farmers’ innovations must find their way into the research agenda to enable Africa achieve its goal of food sufficiency,” Mr. Amissah-Arthur said in Accra at the opening ceremony of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW). AASW, hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, brought together over 1,300 scientific researchers, extension officers, farmers, policymakers, development partners, civil society and NGO groups from across the world to discuss the theme “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural...
(The Guardian Nigeria 07/21/13)
DESPITE the fall in productivity of Africa’s agriculture over the years occasioned by seasons of under-investment and an ill-advised structural adjustment, there is yet a lot to be done to feed the continent’s huge and fast-growing population. Global figures in agriculture and research agree, as they met in Accra, Ghana that ‘funding to agriculture, to universities and to research centres fell steadily and steeply,’ leading to a reversal of the many gains of the past. Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President articulated as much when he addressed the Sixth Forum of Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) summit in the Ghanaian capital during the week. He said, “Our universities lost good people. The quality of education declined,”...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/13)
(Reuters) - The African Union will form a new 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission for Central African Republic (CAR) to step up efforts to stabilize the fractious country, officials said on Friday. Admore Kambudzi, secretary of the AU's Peace and Security Council, said an existing regional peacekeeping mission known as MICOPAX would be rolled into the larger new force from August. He said its mandate would be to protect civilians and help stabilize the country and restore the central government in the former French colony, which is rich in gold and diamonds. Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million at the heart of the continent, has suffered decades of instability. Seleka rebels toppled the president in March, causing chaos and a...
(Voice of America 07/19/13)
The International Federation for Human Rights [FIDH] says heavily-armed Seleka rebels have murdered at least 400 civilians with near impunity since seizing control of the Central African Republic on March 24. FIDH says it also has documented numerous rapes and forced disappearances connected to the rebels, as well as the continued use of child soldiers, during a research mission to the CAR in July. State prosecutor for the Central African Republic, Alain Tolmo, said Wednesday that he has opened an investigation into the murder of five people whose bodies were found with their hands and feet tied in the Oubangui River in the capital, Bangui, on July 16 and 17. He said two of the bodies have been identified and...
( 07/19/13)
The incorrect use of bulletproof vests during the Battle of Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR) in March was probably why South African soldiers were killed, according to a report on Friday. Colonel Renier "Doibi" Coetzee, a senior South African Special Forces officer, made this statement on behalf of his superiors at a press conference in Pretoria earlier this week. Coetzee said soldiers who had worn their jackets correctly withstood several bullets and survived the ordeal. He said that after the March 23 battle it had emerged that some of the South African troops had not worn their jackets in the prescribed way. "Some took out the bulletproofing plates, while others just wore breast plates. This left their backs...
(Voice of America 07/17/13)
The Central African Republic's (CAR) rebel leader-turned-interim president, Michel Djotodia, said late Monday that "security has returned' to much of the CAR despite continued reports of disappearances, theft and other alleged abuses against civilians by rebels and other armed groups. Interim CAR president Michel Djotodia visited Burkina Faso Monday to request the support of Burkinabe president and regional powerbroker, Blaise Compaore. Djotodia led the Seleka rebel coalition that toppled CAR's government on March 24. On Monday, he dismissed media reports of "rampant insecurity in the country." He said he does not know what is behind these reports of insecurity. He said the capital, Bangui, is calm now. He said the "big problem" that remains is the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA),...

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