Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
The United States signaled on Tuesday it was ready to back a French-drafted UN resolution that would bolster the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic with 900 extra troops. The Security Council is considering the measure following a request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has warned of a risk of ethnic cleansing in parts of the impoverished African country. The draft resolution would extend the mission known as MINUSCA until November 2018 and increase the number of uniformed peacekeepers by 900, to a ceiling of 11,650, along with 2,080 police and 480 military observers. The United States, the biggest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, said it was open to beefing up the mission after repeated calls for cuts...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
Central African Republic's embattled government is in a faceoff with former fighters of an ousted militia who are occupying three barracks in the CAR capital Bangui, an AFP reporter saw Tuesday. More than 1,200 of the former rebels have been told to quit the buildings but some are refusing to leave, the reporter found. The former fighters were once with the so-called Seleka alliance, a coalition of Muslim-majority militias. They have been occupying the barracks since the Seleka overthrew the then president, Francois Bozize, in 2013. The Seleka, in turn, were ousted by a military intervention led by former colonial ruler France, and the United Nations launched a peacekeeping mission in 2014. But the country remains chronically unstable and violence-prone,...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have all the kit they need to put theory into practice, thanks to a mobile science lab that tours selected state schools. "It's an exciting experience. We were being taught only the theoretical aspect of science subjects," Amadu, who wants to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Six countries in central and western Africa have breathed life into long-running plans to allow visa-free movement of people among their nations. At a summit in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, the countries formally declared late Tuesday that the scheme had now been ratified by all members. The agreement gathers six francophone states -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo -- in a bloc called the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The association, set up in 2000, has a potential market of 30 million consumers, many of whom however, live in poverty.
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
Fighting between armed groups around the town of Batangafo in northern Central African Republic have left at least two dead and 10 wounded, aid workers said Monday. Seven of the wounded were admitted to a hospital run by Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Batangafo and three were sent to a facility in Kabo, Sandra Smiley, with MSF in the capital Bangui, said. UN sources said fighting broke out on October 24 between anti-Balaka militia -- a group that says it is defending Christians -- and another armed group, the Patriotic Movement for Central Africa (MPC). At least two people died in the village of Saraghba, a few kilometres from Batangafo, but it was too dangerous to access the zone to...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Friday came under pressure to overhaul the role of UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic as he wrapped up a visit to the conflict-torn country. Guterres's four-day visit came ahead of a Security Council decision on whether to renew the mandate of the UN's peacekeeping force and meet a request for reinforcements. In a meeting with the secretary general, a group of lawmakers called on the UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA to be more active in tackling violence. "There's been a lot of words (about MINUSCA)...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, on Thursday vowed to push ahead with a contested programme of "dialogue" with militia groups, in comments backed by visiting UN chief Antonio Guterres. At a joint press conference on the penultimate day of a four-day visit by Guterres, Touadera said a programme of "disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration" of armed groups was at the "centre" of his strategy. Guterres said Touadera had "the entire support of the United Nations" and appealed to militias to "agree to participate in the country's political life". Militia groups hold sway over most of the impoverished central African country -- the outcome of a bloody conflict in which the then president Francois Bozize was ousted by...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
UN chief Antonio Guterres arrived in the strife-ravaged town of Bangassou on Wednesday for a first-hand look at a notorious hotspot in Central African Republic's bloody conflict. Guterres, making his first visit to one of Africa's most troubled countries since he took the UN helm in January, stepped off a plane from the capital Bangui, where he arrived late Tuesday. Mineral-rich but extremely poor, CAR has been battered by a three-year conflict between rival militias that began after the then president, Francois Bozize, was overthrown. Acting under a UN mandate, the former colonial power France intervened militarily to push out the Muslim Seleka rebels who had taken over, and the United Nations launched a peacekeeping mission in 2014. But the...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in the Central African Republic Tuesday to assess the country's fragile security situation as violence between militias threatens to intensify. Crowds of people braving heavy rain lined the road from Bangui airport to the capital to greet him. On the first day of his visit, which coincided with United Nations Day, Guterres led a wreath-laying service in honour of peacekeepers killed in action. "There is nothing more precious than peace. There is nothing more noble than working to maintain peace, even if the work means sacrificing lives," he said. "As we have unfortunately seen, there are times when troops have been killed while building peace here in Central Africa." At an official welcoming ceremony...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres paid tribute Tuesday to the thousands of U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic, the site of one of the U.N.’s most dangerous missions and the most sexual misconduct allegations against peacekeepers and U.N. personnel last year. The U.N. chief attended a wreath-laying ceremony in the capital of Bangui. A dozen peacekeepers have lost their lives so far this year amid escalating violence in the long-volatile country. “We need to make sure that the world fully appreciates the heroic contributions of peacekeepers protecting civilians, sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances, like the ones we face in the Central African Republic,” Guterres said. “I am very proud to be your colleague. I am very proud to serve in the...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Christian and Muslim leaders in Central African Republic (CAR), speaking ahead of a visit by United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, have urged the UN to overhaul its strategy for the strife-torn country. Guterres is expected on Tuesday, ahead of a requested renewal in November of the UN force in CAR, called MINUSCA, which has been accused by some of passivity. "If they're just television spectators of the conflict, that won't do," Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga, the Catholic archbishop of Bangui said in a joint interview on Saturday alongside the country's Muslim and Protestant leaders. "A revision of strategy" has to go hand-in-hand with a mandate for UN troop renewal, said Protestant leader Nicolas Guerekoyamene-Gbangou.
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to arrive in the Central African Republic on Tuesday, as violence between Muslim and Christian militias has intensified in the past few months. "This is a gesture of solidarity with the peacekeepers working in one of the most dangerous environments," Guterres said in an interview with AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI). His trip to one of the world's poorest countries will be his first as part of a peacekeeping mission since taking office on January 1 -- but he regularly visited the country as former head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The secretary general's visit comes at a time when the United Nations faces a precarious financial situation, as the United...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
The Central African Republic, which the UN Secretary General is to visit on Tuesday, is one of the world's poorest nations, wracked for the past four years by civil war. The landlocked country has been struggling under international pressure to recover from conflict between Muslim and Christian militias that started after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize. The primary victims have been civilians. - History of instability - The country has enjoyed little peace or stability since gaining its independence from France in 1960. Five years later president David Dacko was ousted by Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who took charge in January 1966 and crowned himself emperor in 1977 in a wildly extravagant ceremony that made waves around the world. His...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
The Central African Republic, where UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will Tuesday pay his first visit to a peacekeeping operation, holds the record for international interventions on its soil. During a history of chronic political instability and sporadic social upheaval, the country has been the focus of more than a dozen international military interventions. Given a plethora of acronyms, the interventions took place under many different flags: the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and regional African organisations, and also France...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
"Finally in Bangui, and without incident," said Evelin Bokassa, a truck driver from the Central African Republic (CAR) who has just arrived in the landlocked capital city after completing a treacherous five-day journey from the west coast of Cameroon. He has driven along what's known as "the corridor" -- winding, dangerous roads, full of bandits and thieves, that act as the main supply route to Bangui, on the southeastern side of the country. Years of neglect have left many of the roads in ruins and outbreaks of inter-communal violence between different ethnic and religious communities have made the route even more perilous. "You arrive at a checkpoint, you need 2,000 to 3,000 CFA francs (3 to 4.50 euros, $3.60 to...

Pages