| Africatime
Wednesday 29 June 2016
(The Economist 06/28/16)
President Joseph Kabila is playing it nasty. At the law courts in Lubumbashi, the second-biggest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the advocates wear smart black gowns with the stiff white collars and bands that mark their profession. The courthouse, built by the Belgians in the 1920s, is a grand affair, all white and Art Deco. Yet this outward appearance of a system of law masks the reality: in Congo, naked power is all that matters, and the law is subservient to it. That is clear from the treatment of Moise Katumbi, the former governor of Katanga (of which Lubumbashi is the capital) and a contender for the Congolese presidency, which is meant to...
(Voice of America 06/28/16)
The Democratic Republic of Congo says it will begin a campaign next month to vaccinate 11.6 million people against yellow fever after an epidemic was declared in the capital. Health Minister Felix Kabange said the campaign will begin July 20 and will aim to vaccinate everyone in the capital of Kinshasa except children under nine months, and will also target populations in the provinces of Kwango, Lualaba and Kasai. Last week, Congo's government announced an epidemic in Kinshasa and two other provinces after reporting 67 confirmed cases of yellow fever and more than 1,000 other suspected cases. An outbreak in neighboring Angola has led to the deaths of about 345 people. Kabange did not say how health authorities would acquire...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/28/16)
Africa's largest provider of pay-television services Naspers (NPNJn.J) has kept prices on the continent unchanged to halt a decline in subscriber numbers, its chief executive said on Monday. Naspers, the biggest listed firm on the continent, which sells access to popular American series and blockbuster movies in 50 countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean via its Multichoice unit, reported an 18 percent rise in full-year profit on Friday, but flagged pay-TV as a drag on its performance. Weaker currencies...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/16)
An influential grouping of Catholic bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday called for elections to be held on schedule this year and for President Joseph Kabila to step down when his second term ends. Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is mandated to leave office in December. But in May the Constitutional Court said he could remain in power if a presidential election is not organised in time, which the opposition has accused him of...
(Xinhuanet 06/27/16)
The operational capacity of armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) has considerably improved on various aspects in the last few years, the spokesman for the national army Gen. Leon Kasonga said over the weekend. Kasonga made the affirmations in an exclusive interview he accorded to Xinhua during preparations for the military parade for DR Congo's Independence Day on June 30, in the presence of President Joseph Kabila. "The army we currently have across the national territory is capable of tackling any security challenge thanks to the reforms initiated under our Commander-in-Chief, President Joseph Kabila," Kasonga said.
(AFP (eng) 06/27/16)
Star-packed Democratic Republic of Congo club TP Mazembe seek a first CAF away win this year when they tackle Young Africans of Tanzania Tuesday in the Confederation Cup. The Lubumbashi 'Ravens' needed the help of an own-goal to hold Saint George in Ethiopia and were well beaten by Wydad Casablanca in Morocco in CAF Champions League qualifiers. Demoted to the second-tier Confederation Cup after being eliminated by Wydad, Mazembe continued to struggle, losing to Stade Gabesien in Tunisia and scraping...
(Voice of America 06/27/16)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is scheduled leave Sunday for Africa and Europe to advocate for girls' education. The six-day trip – to Liberia and Morocco, with a final stop in Spain – will highlight Let Girls Learn, one of Obama's core initiatives. The first lady will be joined in her travels by daughters Sasha and Malia, and the girls’ grandmother, Marian Robinson. Let Girls Learn is a global initiative launched by the president and first lady in 2015. The...
(Xinhuanet 06/25/16)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is keen to further strengthen its relation with China for partnership on humanitarian operation in Africa, said an ICRC official. Jacques Pellet, Special Envoy of the ICRC President on China Affairs, told Xinhua in an interview in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa Friday that ICRC wants to engage China more on its activities related to humanitarian assistance in Africa, where ICRC spends one-third of its budget. The Special Envoy said his visit to...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/16)
Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have arrested a provincial deputy and 74 others accused of belonging to a militia that carried out killings and mass rapes in the country's restive east, the justice minister said Thursday. South Kivu province lawmaker Frederic Batumike was the leader of the violent group, which goes by the name of "Djeshi ya Yesu" (Jesus' Army), Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said at a press conference in Kinshasa. He said Batumike was suspected of having ordered...
(AFP (eng) 06/24/16)
The US Treasury on Thursday announced financial sanctions against the head of the Kinshasa police for his role in violence and disappearances in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. General Celestin Kanyama is accused “of being responsible for or complicit in acts of violence and kidnappings targeting civilians, women and children.” “Under these sanctions, his assets are frozen in the United States and all US entities are prohibited from having any transaction with him,” the statement added. “While...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/24/16)
The United Nations Security Council expressed concern on Thursday over the arrest of political opposition members in Democratic Republic of Congo and urged the president to hold elections by the end of the year as required by the constitution. The Congolese government has said it is unlikely it will be able to hold elections on time for logistical reasons as opponents of President Joseph Kabila accuse him of trying to cling to power. Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is barred by the constitution from standing for a third term in the poll scheduled for November.
(Washington Post 06/24/16)
Every government recognizes that strong national infrastructure is critically important to steady economic development. Transportation infrastructure is one of the lubricants that keeps the gears of an economy operating smoothly. For the Democratic Republic of the Congo, infrastructure has long been underfunded and poorly maintained, but that is beginning to change. Fridolin Kasweshi, Minister for Infrastructure, Public Works, and Reconstruction, said that the country requires $1 billion per year to upgrade and maintain its roads, according to a Radio Okapi...
(Voice of America 06/24/16)
The United States has imposed sanctions on Kinshasa's police chief in the Democratic Republic of Congo for violence and the murder of civilians. All U.S. assets belonging to Celestin Kanyama are frozen and Americans are barred from doing any business with him. The U.S. accuses Kanyama and his police force of creating a "climate of fear" in the DRC ahead of the December presidential election. President Joseph Kabila is believed to be planning to change election laws to allow himself...
(Voice of America 06/24/16)
The World Health Organization (WHO) will launch emergency vaccination campaigns for Yellow Fever along the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it announced Thursday. The WHO emphasized that preventing further international spread of the disease is the current priority. “While WHO is working with partners and vaccine manufacturers to increase vaccine production and replenish the emergency stockpile currently being used for this outbreak, it is vital to interrupt transmission, especially in cross-border areas to rapidly bring this...
(Bloomberg 06/24/16)
Currencies, stocks and bonds across Africa plunged after the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union triggered a slump in oil and other commodities and sent investors scurrying for safe assets. South Africa’s benchmark stock index fell the most since January, led by shares of banks and diversified mining companies. The rand dropped to a record against the yen and by the most since 2008 against the dollar before paring the decline, while yields on dollar bonds from Ghana to...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/16)
Embattled DR Congo opposition leader Moise Katumbi, who last month quit the country, was sentenced to three years in jail Wednesday over a real estate dispute. Katumbi was seen as the leading challenger to President Joseph Kabila in elections due to be held this year, but the sentence effectively makes him ineligible to stand. The court in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo's second biggest city, found him guilty of fraud over the purchase of a building. Presidential elections are...
(Voice of America 06/22/16)
The International Criminal Court in The Hague sentenced former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison for the murder, rape and pillaging committed by his troops in Central African Republic more than a decade ago. For victims and rights campaigners, Bemba's sentencing is cause for celebration. Not so at his party headquarters in Kinshasa. Approximately 200 dispirited supporters watched a YouTube broadcast on a projector as the ICC handed down its ruling. Bemba's supporters said the ruling...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/22/16)
Democratic Republic of Congo has almost run out of yellow fever vaccine in Kinshasa, in the same week that the government declared an epidemic of the disease in the packed capital and two other provinces. Some local people have complained they were denied immunization due to the shortage, despite queueing for a shot. More supplies have been promised, but health officials in the impoverished country say they have to choose between the high cost of flying them in, or a...
(The Guardian 06/22/16)
Former DRC vice-president convicted for his part in campaign of rape and murder in Central African Republic from 2002-03. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for rape and pillage committed by his troops, becoming the highest-level official to be sentenced at the international criminal court. Bemba, 53, wearing a blue suit and tie, watched impassively from the dock during the hearing at The Hague on Tuesday...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/16)
Mobile phones and rising connectivity in Africa will give rise to a new market in mobile financial services, creating explosive opportunities for business on the continent, research has found. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimated that in three years, 250 million Africans without access to traditional banking services "will have mobile phones and a monthly income of at least $500". That could translate to projected revenues of $1.5 billion (1.3 billion euros) from mobile financial services, the group said in...

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