Saturday 24 February 2018
(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...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the Global First Ladies Alliance (GFLA) and Facebook. Geingos credited the quota enacted by the ruling SWAPO party of her husband, President Hage Geingob. But she said a similar quota might be needed for Namibia’s private sector, where only 10 to...
(AFP (eng) 09/22/17)
The Central African Republic's president urged the United Nations on Friday to send more peacekeepers to his strife-torn country and ease an arms embargo in the way of equipping his weak army. Addressing the UN General Assembly, President Faustin-Archange Touadera said a recent upsurge in violence was linked to a battle for control of the country's natural resources, implicitly rejecting the view that the clashes were sectarian. "The humanitarian situation has seriously deteriorated in many areas of my country following an increase in violence," Touadera said during his second address to the annual gathering of world leaders following his election last year.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year. Global health experts hope the deal will help address two looming problems in the HIV epidemic - the rising threat of resistance developing to standard AIDS drugs, and the need for more investment in manufacturing capacity. Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, a so-called integrase inhibitor that avoids the drug resistance that often develops with older treatments. In return the drugmakers, India-based Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma, will agree the maximum...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/20/17)
The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, on Tuesday pleaded with the world to not forget his country and urged the U.N. to bolster its peace-keeping force amid growing violence that threatens to spin the country out of control. Thousands have died and a fifth of Central Africans have fled a conflict that broke out after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka (anti-machete) militias. Although unrest has since subsided, fighting has spiked this year and the United Nations warned this month that ethnic fighting could descend again into a much larger conflict if combatants are not disarmed. “Central Africa is at a critical moment in its history. We...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/20/17)
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, on Tuesday pleaded with the world to not forget his country and urged the U.N. to bolster its peace-keeping force amid growing violence that threatens to spin the country out of control. Thousands have died and a fifth of Central Africans have fled a conflict that broke out after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka (anti-machete) militias. Although unrest has since subsided, fighting has spiked this year and the United Nations warned this month that ethnic fighting could descend again into a much larger conflict if combatants are not disarmed. “Central Africa is at a critical moment...

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