Friday 26 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
DR Congo's influential Catholic bishops have urged authorities to allow prominent opposition politician Moise Katumbi to return from exile, calling his criminal conviction a "farce". In a confidential report seen by AFP on Wednesday, the Congolese Episcopal Conference (CENCO) demanded that the government reverse its orders for Katumbi -- who has set his eyes on the presidency -- to be immediately arrested if he returns from abroad. Katumbi, a powerful businessman and ex-governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province, should be allowed to "return as a free man and exercise his civil and political rights," the Church said in the report, which was sent to President Joseph Kabila on March 29.
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
In the lush hills of eastern DR Congo, where the trade in rare minerals has long fed unrest, miners complain that recent US rules against "conflict minerals" have bitten into their meagre income. "Since they brought in this law, things did get worse," said miner Ombeni Chikala in South Kivu, the troubled mineral-rich eastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo. Introduced in 2010, section 1502 of Washington's Dodd-Frank law -- known to the self-employed miners as "Obama's law" -- requires companies listed on the US stock exchange to report any use of conflict minerals to regulators. However the US government this year said the law was under review. Situated to the west of Lake Kivu, the green hills surrounding the...
(Bloomberg 05/04/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo hired an Israeli security firm to lobby the U.S. government after criticism of President Joseph Kabila’s failure to hold elections and hand over power. Congo agreed to pay MER Security and Communication Systems Ltd. $5.58 million between Dec. 8, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2017 for policy advice and support in lobbying senior government officials and members of Congress, according to documents published on the U.S. Department of Justice’s www.fara.gov website April 28. MER, based in Tel Aviv and whose main business activities are the manufacture, supply and installation of telecommunications and electricity systems, said in the filings it will employ subcontractors to work with the Congolese government. MER will hire U.S.-based lobbyists, while advising the...
(Xinhuanet 05/04/17)
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 released in Durban Thursday called for urgent policy reforms if the continent intends to create more jobs for its growing young population. According to the report issued at the 27th WEF on Africa, fewer than one-quarter of the 450 million new jobs required in the next 20 years will be created if current policies remain unchanged. The report called for structural reforms in the economies to create more jobs for the youth entering the market. African countries have to prioritize improving infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology and quality of institutions. To improve competitiveness in the short term Africa needs to increase housing construction through investment, better urban planning and...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(AFP (eng) 05/02/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo said Monday it had indefinitely postponed voter registration in two provinces of its troubled central Kasai region after the brutal killing of an electoral official. On April 3, Philippe Iyidimbe, of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), "was decapitated by militias of chief Kamwina Nsapu in Ndekesha," in central DRC, the CENI said in a statement. He had travelled to the Kasai capital, Tshikapa, to train technical staff, it added. Following Iyidimbe's killing and the "destruction" of electoral materials and offices, "voter registration in Kasai-central and in Kasai, which should have started on April 30, has been delayed [indefinitely] due to insecurity" sparked by Nsapu's rebellion
(AFP (eng) 05/02/17)
Protesters angered by a string of unsolved murders threw up roadblocks and mobbed government offices in three days of riots in the restive gold-rich Ituri region of Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials said Monday. The trouble erupted Saturday in the town of Mahagi in the region bordering Uganda where thousands died in ethnic unrest between Lendu farming people and Hema pastoralists between 1998 and 2003. Troops had to be called in to back up police trying to quell the riots, triggered by the murders of five money-changers in April in Mahagi. Protesters said police had failed both to investigate the deaths by shooting and to make any arrests. "Roads were blocked off, the customs office could not operate .....
(Bloomberg 05/02/17)
Saudi Aramco is seeking to boost its fuel-trading volume by more than a third as the world’s biggest crude exporter expands its capacity to refine oil to grab a bigger share of growing markets in Asia and Africa. Aramco, as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is known, is building refineries in the kingdom and in Asia to help it increase sales and purchases of gasoline, diesel and other products to more than 2 million barrels a day, said Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco’s trading unit, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co. Owning refineries gives the unit, known as Aramco Trading Co., options for buying and selling fuel that some of its competitors don’t have. “The key is that you...
(AFP (eng) 04/30/17)
In the Congolese town once home to the palm oil plantations of Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever, memories of forced labour mingle with nostalgia for its lost decades of prosperity. Formerly known as Leverville, the town is now called Lusanga. Grass grows in the remains of villas, offices are abandoned and factories are in ruin, testament to the tumultuous history of this part of southwest Democratic Republic of Congo. Back in 1911, while a Belgian colony, vast concessions of palm tree forests were granted to English entrepreneur William Lever, whose company Lever Brothers gave birth two decades later to Unilever, an international food and consumer products giant.
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
Twenty-nine people have been killed in three days of clashes between rival factions of a militia group in a village in Democratic Republic of Congo's restive east, an official said Friday. The two factions are fighting for control of the village of Bweru in North Kivu province, a region plagued by regular flare-ups of ethnic bloodshed. "Since Wednesday two factions of the Mai-Mai Nyatura have been fighting for control of the village. The death toll on Friday is 29 people dead," a local administrator, Dieudonne Tshishiku, told AFP. "The clashes are still going on. Bweru and neighbouring villages have emptied of their populations," Tshishiku said, urging the Congolese military to intervene to end the violence and let civilians return to...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
"I haven't once spoken my mother tongue Kilokele in the 62 years I've lived in Kinshasa. None of my nine children speak it," says Charles Tongohala. Tongohala's native tongue is one of 450 spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a sprawling nation of 71 million people whose lingos -- almost all of them spoken, not written -- account for nine percent of the world's 5,000 languages. He was a boy when he moved to DR Congo's capital from a northeastern village home to the Lokele fisher people, who live along the banks of the giant Congo river and speak Kilokele. Now retired, Tongohala worked for Congo's river transport company. Daniel Mukebayi, another Kinshasa resident, speaks Tshiluba, the language of...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating PPH. The London School...
(AFP (eng) 04/27/17)
There is no tap water, electricity or shops in Lusanga, a Congolese town once known as Leverville where the Dutch-British conglomerate Unilever long ran a profitable palm oil plantation. But the 15,000 onetime workers living on the land recently found new hope in a stark contemporary art centre called the "White Cube" which stands somewhat strangely on the African skyline. Funded in part by chocolate sculptures and aimed at redressing the wrongs of the colonial past, the project seeks to promote local art and crafts while helping breathe new life into sustainable farming. The town in the southwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo was built after British soap-makers William and James Lever bought a huge plantation in 1911 in...
(AFP (eng) 04/27/17)
Twenty people died in ethnic clashes last week in the troubled central Kasai region of Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations said Wednesday. The UN's DR Congo mission, MONUSCO, said in a statement that the clashes took place on April 19 east of the Kasai capital, Tshikapa, between members of the Lulua-Luba and Chowe-Pende communities, killing 20 Chowe-Pende people. The Chowe-Pende consider themselves indigenous to the Kasai region and accuse the Lulua-Luba from the neighbouring Kasai region of supporting the Kamwina Nsapu militia. The latter claim their authority from chief Kamwina Nsapu who was killed in the region in August 2016 by police after a rebellion against the Congolese
(Business Day Ghana 04/27/17)
There are currently 960 million mobile subscriptions across Africa – an 80 percent penetration rate among the continent’s population. Internet penetration is at 18 percent with 216 million internet users, according to the latest Jumia mobile trend report for Africa. The 2017 edition of the African Mobile Trends Paper is the third white paper presentation from Jumia delving into mobile trends across Africa and specifically Nigeria. The study takes a look at the how the market has democratised mobile internet use, the consumer behaviours driving increased smartphone adoption and the role of mobile brands, mobile operators and m-commerce in creating a synergy of an enhanced customer experience. This year’s Mobile Africa Study was carried out in 15 African countries which...
(AFP (eng) 04/26/17)
CAF Confederation Cup title-holders TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo will begin their group campaign in May at home to CF Mounana of Gabon. Mazembe and Mounana were placed in Group D with SuperSport United of South Africa and Horoya of Guinea when the draw was made in Cairo on Wednesday. Popularly known as the "Ravens", the club from southern Congolese city Lubumbashi are the second most successful in CAF competitions with 10 titles. Mazembe outclassed Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria 5-2 on aggregate last year to win the Confederation Cup for the first time after finishing runners-up
(Xinhuanet 04/26/17)
The Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative is a golden opportunity to bring about regional integration and sustainable economic growth for Africa, said Berhane Gebre-Christos, special envoy of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, on Tuesday. The special envoy made the remarks at the opening of a seminar organized on the B&R Initiative in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Welcoming the initiative, the special envoy said he is looking forward to the expected effects of the initiative. "The B&R is a project that will affect millions of people, and it will be one of the most important issues of the 21st century," he said, adding that the comprehensive approach of China means that the aspirations and development strategies of all countries involved will be...
(AFP (eng) 04/25/17)
UN officials launched a bid Tuesday to raise $65.4 million (59.75 million euros) in emergency funds for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by violence in Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region. Fighting between government troops and tribal militias has forced more than a million people from their homes over the past eight months. The UN's humanitarian affairs coordinator Mamadou Diallo said the funds would help "respond to the urgent and multiple needs of 731,000 people during the next six months" in the Kasai area. The vast majority of people in need of help are women and children, he added. Thousands of those displaced have no access to food, clean water or health care, he said. Fighting flared in the...
(AFP (eng) 04/25/17)
Congolese authorities on Monday unveiled a grisly video apparently showing the murder of two UN experts killed last month in Kasai region, an area plagued by violence between tribal militias and security forces. Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan were kidnapped along with four locals on March 12 while investigating whether a UN arms embargo in Democratic Republic of Congo was being violated. Their bodies were found two weeks later. The two-minute video viewed by journalists on Monday shows a man and woman who resemble Sharp and Catalan surrounded by seven people speaking Tshiluba
(Bloomberg 04/25/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo signed a provisional agreement to import power from South Africa that could boost copper production this year by as much as 20 percent, according to the country’s chamber of mines. Congolese state-owned power company SNEL proposed importing 200 megawatts from South African utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. at meetings in Johannesburg on April 20 and April 21, said Ben Munanga, chairman of the energy commission at the chamber. Eskom has 1,000 megawatts available for export for as long as 10 years, but only 200 megawatts can be delivered to Congo because of grid constraints in the transmission network between the two countries, Munanga said Saturday in an interview in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. Still, that...

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