Wednesday 22 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Warning of a risk of ethnic cleansing, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged the Security Council to beef up the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic with 900 extra troops. In a report to the council, Guterres said the 12,000-strong MINUSCA mission had reached its limit and was struggling to cope with the worsening violence in the impoverished African country. "Since late 2016, the security situation progressively deteriorated outside Bangui, with growing sectarian violence and a heightened risk of ethnic cleansing in parts of the country," Guterres said in the report, which was obtained by AFP. "I therefore recommend an increase of 900 military personnel," including two infantry companies and a battalion to be deployed in the east...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
At Bouar appeal court, presiding judge Aime Pascal Delimo twiddles his thumbs, surveys his empty office and then, with a sigh, closes his door to leave early. Delimo wields jurisdiction over territory in western Central African Republic (CAR) that is the size of Austria. Violent crime here is chronic. But he has no work. In one of the world's poorest countries, the criminal justice system in Bouar and many other of CAR's provincial towns has quite simply broken down. "Normally we would be finishing at 3:30 pm, but given the pace of the court, I leave in the early afternoon, around 2:00 pm," Delimo says. "It's been four years I've been here and no criminal cases have been heard." He...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/12/17)
Peacekeepers in the Central African Republic are accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl, the United Nations said Wednesday, the latest in a spate of rape claims that have hit the UN mission. The minor was taken to hospital after being allegedly assaulted on September 30 in the southern town of Bambari, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. The UN said the girl was 16 years old, but Amnesty International, which interviewed her, said she was 19. News of the allegation came as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is preparing to meet victims of sex abuse by UN peacekeepers when he visits the Central African Republic later this month. It will be the UN chief's first visit to the poor African country...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
The Central African Republic (CAR) is not in a "pre-genocide" state despite its problems, a United Nations expert said Wednesday, touching on comments by a former UN official that have sparked a storm. CAR "is not in a pre-genocide situation," Adama Dieng, the UN's special advisor for the prevention of genocide, said. Genocide "is a long process," he explained. In August, the UN's then-aid chief, Stephen O'Brien, said he was deeply worried about the mounting violence in CAR. He said he saw "the early warning signs of genocide" and urged more troops and police to bolster the UN peacekeeping mission there. That assertion was strongly contested by CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera.
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
The head of a notorious rebel group in Central African Republic (CAR) has brushed off allegations of atrocities, portraying himself instead as the defender of a neglected and persecuted minority. In an interview with AFP in the town of Alindao, Ali Darassa hit back at accusations of abuse by rights watchdogs and said his group had acted to defend the Fula people, a largely nomadic group also called the Fulani. In September, Amnesty International blamed a wave of brutal attacks in Basse-Kotto province on Darassa's Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC). It accused the group of systematically using "rape as a weapon of war, and as a means of violently humiliating and degrading its victims". "Where is...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria contracted by 1.6 percent in 2016, but is predicted to grow by 0.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent next year. The IMF said Nigeria was benefitting from "recovering oil production and ongoing strength in the agricultural sector", but the...
(AFP (eng) 10/05/17)
Armed groups in the Central African Republic are using rape and sexual slavery to terrorize women and girls, led by commanders who appear to have ordered the assaults, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. In a new report, the rights group documented 305 cases of rape and sexual slavery carried out against 296 women and girls, but these reflect only a fraction of the sexual violence, it said. The assaults were carried out from early 2013 to mid-2017, even as the large-scale violence that convulsed the country following the overthrow of Francois Bozize four years ago has subsided. "Armed groups are using rape in a brutal, calculated way to punish and terrorize women and girls," said Hillary Margolis, women's rights researcher...
(AFP (eng) 10/05/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Armed groups in Central African Republic are using rape and sexual slavery as weapons of war in an abuse that may amount to crimes against humanity, a rights group said on Thursday. Thousands have died and a fifth of Central Africans have been uprooted in a conflict that broke out after the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in early 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka militias. Both the Seleka and the anti-balaka have sexually assaulted, raped and enslaved civilians as revenge against those believed to be supporting the other side, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. Yet not a single militant on either side of the conflict has been arrested or tried...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation. Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years. “The model of converting existing...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers and reports on agriculture, rural development, water and environment and recommendations and guidance on issues in the 2063 Africa Development Agenda, including agriculture, environment, climate change, and youth engagement. Among the points chosen for the discussions are the assessment of...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 09/27/17)
The president of the Central African Republic pushed back Wednesday against UN warnings of looming genocide in his country, saying the complex crisis could not be reduced to religious and ethnic strife. "We think that to talk about genocide at this stage is going too far... it is not justified," President Faustin-Archange Touadera told reporters in Geneva after addressing the Human Rights Council. He was asked about comments from the recently departed United Nations humanitarian chief, Stephen O'Brien, who said renewed clashes in the country had "the early warnings signs of genocide". Touadera countered that the factors fuelling the violence varied significantly in different places, with cases where people were fighting members of their own ethnic group or even their...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(AFP (eng) 09/26/17)
Wildlife guards funded by the WWF and other conservation groups have carried out systematic abuses against tribes in central Africa, an activist group claimed on Monday. Survival International, a British rights group, published a report containing more than 200 reported incidents against the Baka and Bayaka Pygmies in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic since 1989. It claimed some of the world's largest conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have illegally evicted the tribes from their ancestral homelands "in the name of conservation".
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(APA 09/25/17)
APA-Bangui (CAR) - The NGO Plan International, with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), will take care of the schooling and economic reintegration of 74 children who fought among the ranks of ex-Selekas rebels groups. It was the armed groups themselves who, in the presence of the local authorities, handed over the children to UNICEF on Sunday in Kaga-Bandoro. They include 26 boys and 48 girls who took part in the activities of ex-Selekas, already demobilized. This was done within the spirit of the commitment between the UN children’ agency and the representative of the Selekas, signed at the Kaga-Bandoro area. This was the second group of children recruits handed over to UNICEF by armed groups in...

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