Monday 24 July 2017
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
A revised mining code that the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government will present to parliament is the same draft proposal introduced to legislators in 2015 and opposed by industry, Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said. The proposed changes should be presented to parliament this week, but a date has yet to be set, Kabwelulu said Monday by mobile-phone text message from the capital, Kinshasa. “It is the same draft,” he said. A proposed revision of the 2002 mining code was approved by the government in March 2015 and introduced to parliament, but never debated. Planned changes include: Increasing profit taxes to 35 percent from 30 percent Raising the government’s free share of new mining projects to 10 percent from 5 percent...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Conflict has forced at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes within the Democratic Republic of Congo this year - more than triple the number uprooted within Syria and five times the number within Iraq, an aid group said on Monday. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that ethnic violence was escalating in the central African country, which saw the world's highest level of new displacement last year. More than 922,000 people were driven from their homes by conflict within Congo in 2016, compared with 824,000 in Syria and 659,000 in Iraq, according to the Internal Displacement
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(AFP (eng) 05/22/17)
More than 31 million people were displaced in their own countries by conflict, violence and disasters in 2016, with China and the Democratic Republic of Congo among the worst affected, a new report by a monitoring center said Monday. The Democratic Republic of Congo had a spike of 922,000 new displacements caused by conflict last year, more than Syria with 824,000 and Iraq with 659,000, said the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). Disasters displaced three times more people than conflicts, with most of the 24 million people affected hit by sudden-onset weather
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
A fourth person has likely died from Ebola in remote northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said on Sunday, as the overall number of cases rose to 37 from 29. Of the 37 cases of hemorrhagic fever discovered since early May, two have been confirmed as Ebola, three, including the latest death, are considered probable and 32 are suspected, WHO's Congo spokesman Eugene Kabambi told Reuters. Health authorities are monitoring 416 people who came into contact with sufferers and have dispatched mobile laboratories to the zone to more quickly test people who display symptoms, Kabambi said. The affected zone's extreme isolation has helped contain the highly contagious virus' spread, though a lack of telecommunications, few paved roads...
(AFP (eng) 05/22/17)
One of the last places in Africa any coach wants to take a struggling side is the Stade des Martyrs in Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa. When packed to its 80,000 capacity, the venue ranks among the most intimidating football cauldrons imaginable. That is where CAF Champions League title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa face local outfit V Club Wednesday in a key Group C matchday 2 showdown. With Sundowns held 0-0 at home by Saint George of Ethiopia and V Club losing 3-1 at Esperance of Tunisia this month, both crave speedy recoveries. Add the disqualification of V Club from the competition last season and reinstatement of Sundowns and the pre-match temperature reaches boiling point. V Club edged...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
Democratic Republic of Congo's government plans to re-introduce legislation in parliament next week to revise the mining code a year after withdrawing it amid fierce opposition from mining companies, the mines minister told Reuters on Friday. The government of Africa's largest copper producer suspended consideration of the revised code in March 2016 due to low commodity prices. Companies said its increased royalties and shortened stability clauses would make their projects unprofitable. Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu did not say whether the legislation, aimed at boosting government revenues, would be identical to the earlier proposal. Representatives from the industry-led Chamber of Mines could not be
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(AFP (eng) 05/18/17)
An unlicenced Ebola vaccine could soon be tested in a remote region of the Democratic Republic of Congo hit by an outbreak of the virus, the World Health Organization said Thursday. There is no licenced vaccine for the Ebola virus, but a promising candidate vaccine could be deployed within a matter of days if the DR Congo government gives its approval, the WHO said. "The preparations are in place. We could potentially mount a campaign within around a week given all of the conditions... are met," Peter Salama, the agency's health emergencies chief, told reporters during a conference call.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/18/17)
A Norwegian man jailed for life in Democratic Republic of Congo for murder and espionage has been freed and returned to Norway, the Scandinavian country's prime minister said on Wednesday. Joshua French, who also holds a British passport, was convicted along with fellow Norwegian Tjostolv Moland of killing their Congolese driver and spying in 2009 and was initially sentenced to death before his sentence was commuted. The men, both former soldiers, had denied the charges, saying that they had been setting up a local security business and that their driver had been shot and killed by gunmen when their car was attacked. "The Norwegian and Congolese governments have agreed to transfer Joshua French to Norway. He came back to Norway...
(The Associated Press 05/18/17)
Christian sect members stormed a prison in Congo's capital Wednesday, freeing the leader of their movement and 50 others, Congo's justice minister said. Bundu dia Kongo movement leader Ne Mwanda Nsemi is now on the run after the 4 a.m. attack on Makala prison in Kinshasa, Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told local radio station Top Congo FM. Gunfire could be heard in the morning, but the justice minister said the situation is now under control. "Security force members who were sent as reinforcements have entered the prison," he said. "Ne Mwanda Nsemi is on the run, but we will soon get our hands on him." Ne Mwanda Nsemi was arrested in March, along with many followers, after clashes with...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Two decades after Kinshasa gave itself up willingly to rebel commander Laurent-Desire Kabila, his son Joseph remains at the helm of this vast, conflict-ravaged nation although his rule is mired in political crisis. Back in 1997, the country then known as Zaire was struggling under the authoritarian rule of Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko, who seized power in 1965 and presided over a nepotistic regime steeped in corruption. His rule came to an abrupt end in May that year when Kabila's Alliance troops marched into the capital and the rebel chief declared himself president of the newly named Democratic Republic of Congo.
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
Rebels from an outlawed political-religious group attacked Kinshasa's central prison on Wednesday, breaking out their leader and about 50 other prisoners, the Congolese government said. "Followers of the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) attacked Makala prison at dawn and broke out around 50 prisoners including their guru, Ne Muanda Nsemi," government spokesman Lambert Mende said, indicating that police had given chase. According to a local resident, the attack began just before dawn when there were "prolonged exchanges of fire".
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Supporters of a jailed Christian sect leader attacked the prison holding him in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, freeing him and about 50 other inmates early on Wednesday, the government said. Ne Muanda Nsemi - a self-styled prophet and leader of the Bundu dia Kongo movement - was arrested in March after a series of deadly clashes between his supporters and police, government spokesman Lambert Mende said. Witnesses said they had heard gunfire near Makala prison at around 4 a.m. (0300 GMT) and saw prisoners wearing blue shirts with yellow collars in the streets. The United Nations warned its staff to avoid unessential movement around Kinshasa, saying the situation was calm but unpredictable. Soldiers stopped young men for questioning near...
(The Associated Press 05/17/17)
The World Health Organization says a second case of Ebola has been confirmed by laboratory testing amid an outbreak in a remote corner of northern Congo. WHO said Tuesday that among the 20 suspected cases, two now have tested positive for the virus. Ebola was blamed for more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa during 2013-2016. Congo has already experienced seven much smaller outbreaks. So far three people have died in Congo's Bas-Uele province, an area more than 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) from the capital, Kinshasa. There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms. A new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against the virus, though quantities are currently limited.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
Thousands of people fleeing troubled Central African Republic have streamed into DR Congo following an outbreak of sectarian violence in the border city of Bangassou, the UN's refugee agency said Tuesday. A UNHCR statement which described the flow as "massive" said at least 2,750 people arrived during the weekend in northern Democratic Republic of Congo. "The flow continued in some areas early this week," the statement added. A UN peacekeeper was killed at the weekend, the sixth in a week, in an attack in Bangassou by the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group from CAR. The UN mission in that country, MINUSCA