Friday 20 April 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
At least 26 people were killed during clashes in a southeast region of the Central African Republic where the government has struggled to assert its authority, the UN's peacekeeping force in the country said Friday. Another 11 people were wounded in the violence on Wednesday, which came ahead of a visit by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the country next week. The clashes occurred in the town of Pombolo, in a region where tensions have flared between Muslim and Christian militias since May in which dozens of civilians have been killed. Seraphin Embondza, commander of the UN's MINUSCA mission...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is traveling to the Central African Republic next week to draw attention to the world's "forgotten crisis" and its heavy toll on aid workers and UN peacekeepers. "The Central African Republic is very far from the attention of the international community," Guterres told AFP and Radio France Internationale in an interview on Wednesday. "The level of suffering of the people but also the trauma suffered by aid workers and peacekeepers are deserving of our solidarity and heightened attention," he said. Guterres will be in Bangui on Tuesday for United Nations Day, which marks the entry into force of the UN charter, and will also travel to Bangassou in the south, where heavy fighting broke out in...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Violence in southeastern Central African Republic is believed to have killed a number of civilians, in a region marred by growing unrest, the UN said Wednesday. Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for MINUSCA, the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country, said troops were sent to the region between Alindao and Bangassou after clashes erupted. The number of victims has yet to be confirmed. In August, in the nearby town of Gambo, clashes killed 60 civilians and 22 fighters, according to the UN. President Faustin-Archange Touadera visited Bangassou on Tuesday in a bid to reassert authority in the region. One of the world's poorest nations, the Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from a three-year civil war between the Muslim and...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
The crises in DR Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi and South Sudan are expected to come under the microscope at a 12-nation summit in Brazzaville on Thursday, officials say. The summit will gather heads of state or government from Angola, Burundi, CAR, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Security officials, military chiefs and foreign ministers held ground-clearing meetings on Sunday and Monday in the Republic of Congo's capital. The group is called the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which last met at summit level in June 2016.
(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...

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