| Africatime
Monday 24 April 2017
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/17)
A Democratic Republic of Congo spokesman condemned as a "ridiculous montage" Saturday a video purporting to show a massacre of unarmed civilians by DR Congo soldiers (FARDC). But confusion reigned after a later government statement referred to possible "excesses and abuse" by soldiers, two of whom it said were on trial for unspecified charges. The seven-minute video, which appears to be taken by cellphone, was provided to AFP late Friday by a Congo specialist, who said it might have been filmed on February 11 or 12. "What kind of army would let someone film while they kill?" said government spokesman Lambert Mende. "This is the work of desperate people. It's clumsy and ridiculous. It's worthy of scenes from a Rambo...
(AFP (eng) 02/17/17)
The international community on Thursday urged government and opposition parties in Democratic Republic of Congo to restart deadlocked talks to set up a transition regime ahead of elections due late this year. The United Nations, African Union, European Union and the International Organisation of the Francophonie "are increasingly concerned by the continuing impasse in the dialogue among the political stakeholders" in DRC, a joint statement said. The talks aim to implement a power-sharing deal signed on New Year's Eve by the government and the opposition to end a political crisis over President Joseph Kabila's fate. Kabila's second and final mandate ran out in December but elections did not take place. Under the terms of the deal, Kabila would remain in...
(Voice of America 02/17/17)
The budget minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo has cast doubt on whether the country will be able to finance elections this year. His statement has sparked concern as delaying the polls last year led to violent unrest. DRC Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia gave reporters the news Wednesday. He said it will not be possible to disburse $1.8 billion from this year’s budget to organize elections in 2017. That hardly comes as a surprise. Total government spending for 2017 is expected to be around $5.2 billion, according to the most recent budget submitted to the National Assembly, which has yet to approve a public spending plan for this year. The budget minister’s words have angered the opposition. A deal...
(AL Jazeera 02/16/17)
Against the backdrop of a brutal civil war, millions of Congolese turn to football to cope with the conflict. The decades-long civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) divided communities that had previously coexisted peacefully. But millions of young Congolese still have a lot in common, particularly their love for football. Football is the most popular sport in the DRC and at the grassroots-level interest in it keeps growing. The sport brings together children from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, encouraging tolerance, reconciliation and understanding between communities and building a sense of solidarity. As a cheap and accessible form of entertainment, it also offers a momentary escape from the realities of life in a warzone.
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Eight suspected members of an outlawed political-religious group were critically injured and 22 arrested in clashes with police in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital, police sources said Tuesday. Violence erupted late Monday and continued into Tuesday when police stormed a house believed to harbour members of the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) movement. BDK stands for "Kingdom of the Kongo" in the Kikongo language and members, known as the Makessa, are hostile to the police as symbols of the vast central African state's authority. "Twenty-two people were arrested including eight who were critically injured," said police spokesman Pierre Rombaut Mwanamputu.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/15/17)
Soldiers targeting the Kamwina Nsapu militia group in central Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 101 people between Feb. 9 and Feb. 13, including 39 women, the U.N. said on Tuesday. The soldiers fired indiscriminately with machine guns when they saw the militia fighters, who were armed mainly with machetes and spears, human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said, citing sources in the country. "We are deeply concerned at the reported high number of deaths, which if confirmed would suggest excessive and disproportionate use of force by the soldiers," she said. Hundreds have died and tens of thousands have been uprooted in central Congo in recent months in battles between security forces and the militia, who are seeking to avenge...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/17)
Police in Democratic Republic of Congo launched an assault on the residence of the leader of a separatist religious sect in Kinshasa early on Tuesday and fired live ammunition and tear gas at his supporters, a Reuters witness said. The assault on the home of Ne Muanda Nsemi, a self-proclaimed prophet and leader of the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) sect, began around 4:30 a.m. local time. Dozens of police were involved in the operation and gunfire could be heard in the capital's Ma Campagne district after daybreak, the witness said. There was no immediate word on casualties. Police have clashed with BDK members several times over the past month in their native Kongo Central province in the southwest of the...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
Mining giant Glencore said Monday it had struck a deal worth nearly $1 billion to purchase shares of two mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo from a controversial Israeli magnate. Switzerland-based Glencore said it will pay Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler's Fleurette group $960 million (905 million euros) for Fleurette's 31 percent share in the Mutanda mine and 10.25 percent stake in the Katanga mine. Glencore, widely regarded as a maverick in the global commodities sector, will assume full control of the Mutanda mine and 86 percent of Katanga once the deal for the cobalt and copper assets is finalised. The partnership between Glencore and Gertler in DR Congo has been closely watched, following allegations that the Fleurette chief paid...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/17)
Congo police made a pre-dawn raid on a separatist group in Kinshasa on Tuesday, killing four people but failing to arrest their leader, a self-styled religious prophet, witnesses and group members said. Dozens of armed police stormed the home of Ne Muanda Nsemi, leader of Bundu dia Kongo (BDK), a religious cult that seeks to revive the pre-colonial Kongo kingdom that flourished for centuries around the mouth of the Congo river. Police have clashed with BDK members several times in the past few weeks in their western heartland of Kongo Central province, but the spread of violence to the capital, hundreds of kilometres (miles) away, is a serious escalation. It also adds to wider tensions across Congo since President Joseph...
(Xinhuanet 02/14/17)
Serbia and Democratic Republic of Congo agreed on Monday to give a new impetus to their cooperation through mutual support on the international scene and economic cooperation despite last December's EU sanctions against Congo. Foreign Minister of Democratic Republic of Congo Leonard She Okitundu visited Serbia and met with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic at the government building where they held a press conference. Dacic said Serbia and Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to deepen their relations and mutually support each other at the United Nations and other international organizations. Despite the fact that Serbia is an EU candidate country, it will not join EU's sanctions against Democratic Republic of Congo, Dacic said. "Democratic Republic of Congo is one of...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready to make a new deal to help Nigeria "in terms of military weapons." The statement said Trump also commended Buhari for the strides Nigeria is making against Islamist radical group Boko Haram, and invited Buhari to come to Washington at...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/17)
In crisis-hit Democratic Republic of Congo, people in the capital increasingly turn to street hawkers to feed themselves and their families cheaply, but the makeshift option is often not a hygienic one. From civil servants and students, to construction workers and parents with their children, hungry Kinshasa residents depend on so-called malewas, or street food sellers, whose numbers have grown as the economy has worsened. "Here, I eat my fill for under 2,000 Congolese francs ($1.1, one euro)," said Jose Bangamba, a 29-year-old taxi driver. Leaning over a plate of chicken in gravy
(Voice of America 02/11/17)
The United Nations and Congolese authorities launched an appeal Friday in Congo's capital, Kinshasa, for $748 million to provide lifesaving assistance for 6.7 million people across the conflict-wracked country. The appeal this year is 8 percent higher than last, and reflects a new three-year strategy. In Geneva, where the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, is based, spokesman Jens Laerke said the new action plan involves a more integrated approach in dealing with "two decades of recurring humanitarian crises."
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Plans to bring home the body of longtime Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi and give him a grand national funeral appear to have run aground, mired in a rumpus between his friends and foes. Almost 10 days after his death at 84 in Brussels, there was no sign Thursday of his coffin's imminent return to Democratic Republic of Congo as had been hoped. Last weekend, thousands of tearful members of Europe's Congolese diaspora turned out in Brussels to pay their last respects to Tshisekedi, who had a three-day funeral wake, his casket on display in a large hall made available by city authorities. But at home, angry words and jockeying for power have snared efforts to give "Tshishi" or "Papa",...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first choice for regular Champions League entrants Coton Sport from northern Cameroon cotton town Garoua. Coton qualified for the 2008 final, losing to Al Ahly of Egypt, but have fared poorly recently with first round exits in the past two seasons...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/17)
Two Congolese working for Al-Jazeera have been freed five days after being abducted during a reporting mission, the Qatar-based broadcaster said Wednesday. The two men were kidnapped last Wednesday near Nyanzale in the south of the restive Nord-Kivu province and were freed on Monday, it said. The zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo's turbulent east is notorious for kidnappings for ransom. Al-Jazeera however said no money was paid for their release, explaining it was secured "through the work of the local authorities". "Al-Jazeera is relieved that all men are safe and sound and would like to thank officials from the FARDC (the Congolese army) and the UN mission in DRC for their support in assisting Al-Jazeera in getting the...
(Standard Digital 02/09/17)
Hundreds of business and political personalities yesterday attended a German-African economic summit in Nairobi, where German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Mueller talked about his “Marshall Plan” for Africa. The plan is “with Africa, not for Africa,” Mueller (pictured) said, stressing that it would be based on cooperation between equals rather than the principles of traditional development aid. The plan, which Mueller presented to the German parliament’s development committee on Wednesday, is based on fair trade conditions, investment and increasing aid for educational projects. One of the goals of the plan, which the German opposition received with scepticism, is to curb migratory flows from Africa to Europe. Mueller called on German companies to focus on Africa, which he...
(AL Jazeera 02/08/17)
The EU must espouse a transnational approach with a clear development agenda that replaces its current security policy. One year ago, 22-year-old Patrick left Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, to become a football star in Europe. A talented midfielder and an ambitious young man, Patrick felt compelled to reach Europe to help him to realise his dreams. But, as he passed through Agadez in Niger, which has become a major transit hub for migrants taking the Central Mediterranean route, reality proved to be grimmer than he had anticipated. Patrick and two of his male relatives, also travelling from Douala, were beaten, robbed and held captive by organised predatory groups. Finally, their tumultuous journey came to an end in Algeria,...

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