Wednesday 26 July 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 07/05/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo is in talks with Russian state-owned bank VTB (VTBR.MM) over potential investments worth as much as $1 billion, Congolese officials said, though VTB said there had been no discussions about bilateral lending. Africa's top copper producer has been hit hard by low commodity prices in recent years. It has only enough foreign currency reserves to cover about three weeks of imports and its franc currency CDF= has lost half its value in the past year. The government is discussing possible assistance with the International Monetary Fund but Western donors are reluctant to aid the government of President Joseph Kabila, who refused to step down when his constitutional mandate...
(Voice of America 07/05/17)
More than 7 million children in West and Central Africa are displaced every year, the United Nations children's agency said in a report released Wednesday. Lack of economic opportunities, wars and climate change are forcing more than 12 million people in West and Central Africa to migrate annually, the report said. "Children in West and Central Africa are moving in greater numbers than ever before, many in search of safety or a better life," UNICEF regional director Marie-Pierre Poirier said. Climate change is already a harsh reality in many parts of Africa, where rising temperatures and increasingly erratic rainfall have disrupted food production, fueled widespread hunger and forced farmers to abandon their land. A half-million people have crossed the Mediterranean...
(Human Rights Watch 07/04/17)
Congo is facing a political and economic crisis, and it’s only growing worse. President Joseph Kabila was due to step down in December 2016, at the end of his constitutionally mandated two-term limit. But he has managed to hold on to power by delaying elections and overseeing a brutal crackdown against those calling for the constitution to be respected. A deal mediated by the Catholic Church, signed on Dec. 31, included clear commitments to hold elections by the end of 2017 and specified that Kabila would not be a candidate or try to amend the constitution. Additionally, the main opposition coalition would lead the transitional government and a national oversight council...
(The Atlantic 07/04/17)
As anti-climaxes go, it was a most welcome one. On May 11, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) notified the World Health Organization that one of its citizens had been infected with the Ebola virus. The announcement marked the start of the country’s first Ebola outbreak since the historically unprecedented West African epidemic that infected 28,000 people between 2014 and 2016, and killed more than 11,000. But after just 42 days, it was all over. With the last confirmed patient having tested negative for the virus for the second time in a row, the WHO declared an end to the outbreak on Sunday. Just four people had died, and just four more had become...
(AfricaNews 07/04/17)
The UN’s special representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Maman Sidikou has called on the Independent Electoral Commission to publish an official and consensus-based timetable for the elections “without further delay”. However the electoral commision spokesman, Jean Pierre Kalamba reacted saying, “it is not up to Sidikou to give orders to the Commission”. The spokesman of the DRC’s Independent Electoral Commission said the publication of the electoral calendar is to be determined by the Congolese Parliament vote on a new electoral law. MPs and senators are currently on break and the next parliamentary session will not start until September 15. The DRC has been in political crisis since last December when President Joseph Kabila failed to step down. Kabila,...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/04/17)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo said late on Monday that its Inga 3 hydroelectric project is not expected to begin producing power until 2024 or 2025, not 2020 or 2021 as originally planned. The $14 billion, 4,800 megawatt project has struggled to attract financing and was dealt another blow last year when the World Bank said it had suspended funding after the presidency took control of the project, raising transparency concerns.. Last month, Congo asked the final bidders - one consortium led by China Three Gorges Corporation and another that includes Spain's ACS (Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA) - to submit a joint bid. "We are working for this timing (in 2024 or 2025) now that the...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
French diplomats criticised Belgium and the US for their behaviour in Congo after it won its independence in 1960 but one called for the "elimination" of prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, some months before his murder in the rebel province of Katanga. On the 57th anniversary of Congolese independence, RFI reveals the contents of French diplomatic cables sent at the time. France's ambassador in Léopoldville maintained a certain bemused distance when Belgian King Baudouin handed over power to Lumumba at a solemn ceremony on 30 June 1960. Baudouin's speech was "the polar opposite of self-criticism", ambassador Pierre-Albert Charpentier commented in a cable to the French foreign affairs ministry. The king lauded the "genius of King Léopold II", whose rule of the...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(Xinhuanet 07/03/17)
The African Union (AU) is mediating to resolve potential electoral disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and Gabon. Speaking on Saturday at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing 29th AU Summit being held from June 27 to July 4 in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Minata Samate Cessouma, commissioner for Political Affairs at the AU, said resolving electoral disputes is at the heart of ensuring welfare of the continent's youth. DR Congo is facing a protracted political and military crisis mainly triggered by delay of presidential elections slated first to have been held in 2016 to replace outgoing president Joseph Kabila. Meanwhile, parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Gabon on July 29, with...
(AFP (eng) 07/03/17)
The United Nations on Saturday called on the Democratic Republic of Congo to publish a timetable for elections which are due by the end of the year. Under a deal brokered last New Year's Eve, President Joseph Kabila agreed to a transitional arrangement enabling him to stay in power pending presidential and legislative elections by the end of 2017. In a statement, the UN's special representative for DR Congo, Maman Sidikou, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) "to publish an official, consensus-based timetable, without further delay" for staging the elections. The transitional deal, brokered by the influential Catholic church, aimed at avoiding fresh political violence in the sprawling central African country of 71 million people after Kabila failed...
(AFP (eng) 07/03/17)
The Congolese health minister on Saturday declared the end of an Ebola outbreak in a remote northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo which caused four deaths in the area. On May 12, officials declared an outbreak of the highly contagious disease, the eighth to date in the sprawling country, in Bas-Uele province -- an equatorial forest zone near the Central African Republic. "I declare the end of the Ebola outbreak in Likati in DRC from midnight tonight," Oly Ilunga told reporters. Ilunga said none of the 105 suspected cases had tested positive and that the country had recorded no new cases since June 2.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/03/17)
Fighting between the Congolese army and a local militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has forced Banro Corp's Namoya gold mine to suspend all operations and temporarily evacuate its staff, the company said on Monday. Twenty-three trucks belonging to a contractor of the mine were caught in cross-fire between soldiers and a local self-defense militia - identified by the army as Mai-Mai Yakutumba - near the town of Lulimba, Banro said in a statement. Local army spokesman Captain Dieudonne Kasereka told Reuters on Monday that Mai-Mai Yakutumba fighters seized several towns from Congolese forces last week but that the army had mounted a counter-offensive to reclaim them. Ten militiamen and two army soldiers have died in fighting since Sunday,...
(AFP (eng) 07/03/17)
More than a thousand people took part Monday in an evacuation exercise triggered by a simulated volcanic eruption endangering Goma, a major city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. At 7:30 am (5:30 GMT), sirens wailed in four northern parts of the city, which lies on the Rwanda border in the path of lava flow from the Nyirangongo Volcano, 20 kilometres (12 miles) to the north. Previous eruptions have claimed hundreds of lives. Residents of districts at risk in the capital of North Kivu province were asked to leave their homes and gather three kilometres to the south in the Afia stadium, where white tents were ready for them. For almost three hours, groups of about 10 to 20...
(Voice of America 07/03/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo officials are denying a report that security concerns led them to cancel the annual military parade. Congo celebrated 57 years of independence Friday, but the country is grappling with militia violence in the central Kasai region, a Kinshasa prison break that freed 4,000 inmates last month and political tension over the delay in the presidential election. President Joseph Kabila's deputy chief of staff said there would be no parade Friday because of "security reasons," according to the report from the Reuters news agency. Government spokesman Lambert Mende and Congo's deputy interior and security minister, Basile Olongo, denied that report in separate interviews with VOA. Olongo, talking to VOA's French to Africa Service, noted the parade has...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/03/17)
KINSHASA — Democratic Republic of Congo declared its two-month Ebola outbreak officially over Saturday after 42 days without recording a new case of the disease. The outbreak in Congo’s remote northeastern forests, a record eighth for the country where the disease was first discovered in 1976, killed four out of the eight people infected, Health Minister Oly Ilunga said in a statement. “I declare on this day, at midnight, the end of the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever of the Ebola virus in DRC,” Ilunga said. Congolese health authorities approved the use of a new experimental vaccine but ultimately declined to deploy it because of the small scale of the outbreak and logistical challenges. The latest outbreak came a year...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/30/17)
A jail raid in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital on Thursday killed a police officer, police and diplomatic sources said, and President Joseph Kabila failed to appear on television for a customary address, heightening fears over security. Kabila was due to address the nation on Thursday on the eve of independence day. Instead, scrolling text on screen attributed to Kabila read: "I regret that, for reasons of health, I cannot this year address to you my message in the usual manner." An adviser to Kabila told Reuters earlier the government would not hold its annual independence day military parade on Friday because of security concerns. In the capital Kinshasa, unknown assailants with firearms and machetes attacked a prison.
(Others 06/30/17)
Catholic bishops in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have accused their government of suppressing civil liberties and demanded free elections envisaged under a church-brokered New Year accord. "The miserable situation we're living in reflects the persistent social-economic crisis, which is due to the failure to organise elections," the bishops' conference said. "Although our republic's constitution guarantees every citizen the right to enjoy their freedoms, we're seeing a growing restriction on freedom of expression and the barring of peaceful demonstrations, alongside an excessive use of force."
(AFP (eng) 06/30/17)
There's no electricity and only 500 residents in the Congolese village of Makwatsha, but a longstanding tradition by its womenfolk has turned it almost by accident into a star attraction for Chinese tourists. The outside walls of the huts are decorated with paintings of local life, flowers and butterflies, making "the village of the women painters" a draw also for tourists from France and Belgium. "For the colour, we use only the earth," says Prosperine Mwelma, 60, dressed in a bright blue and yellow wrap and holding a paint brush. "We dig to find the pink colour," she says, her hands covered with the village's ochre clay soil. The murals of daily village life, painted by the women during the...
(RFI(EN) 06/30/17)
Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and mass migration are likely to dominate discussions as foreign ministers from the 55 African nations gather in Addis Ababa on Friday for two days of talks, ahead of the 29th summit of African leaders next week. The official theme of this African Union (AU) summit is ‘investment in youth’, but other pressing matters on the continent from the DRC to mass migration are also likely to dominate discussions. When commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahmat from Chad opens discussions on Friday morning, he was expected to congratulate members of the Union who are sticking to commitments of Agenda 2063, a continental development plan set out by the AU four years ago. On...

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