Thursday 19 October 2017
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
In a scathing report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a senior U.N. official accuses the Democratic Republic of Congo of turning a blind eye to systematic and gross violations of human rights committed by its security forces. The report describes a justice system that shows no independence and allows impunity to flourish, leading to further violence against the people of Democratic Republic of Congo. In her presentation to the Council, U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore criticized the government of President Joseph Kabila for failing to live up to an agreement to pave the way for presidential elections this year and a peaceful transfer of power.
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(Bloomberg 09/26/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has made “irreversible” progress in preparing credible and peaceful elections, President Joseph Kabila told the United Nations, without giving a date for the vote whose delay has spurred violent protests. Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23, Kabila said that 42 million of an estimated 45 million eligible voters have been registered. An ongoing “series of evaluations of the electoral process” should permit the “forthcoming publication” of the electoral calendar by the election...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the...
(Voice of America 09/21/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump has told African leaders he will send his U.N. envoy Nikki Haley to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. "We're closely monitoring and deeply disturbed by the ongoing violence in South Sudan and in the Congo," Trump said in a lunch meeting Wednesday with African leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. "Millions of lives are at risk and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance, but real results in halting this catastrophe...
(The Guardian 09/18/17)
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation. Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop...
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
An obscure company’s quest to rebuild a century-old business could lead to the British stock exchange. The equatorial sun pierces the forest canopy as two laborers manipulate a machete at the end of a long pole to cut hard red fruits from the top of a soaring palm. The heavy bunches are collected by hand and trucked to a mill, where palm oil is extracted before beginning its journey down the Congo River. The men work for the local unit...
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
Societe Generale SA, challenged on its home turf by Orange SA’s push into banking, is fighting back with a new mobile lender in Africa. The French lender started YUP, a new app for smartphones, in Senegal and Ivory Coast and plans to begin operating in four other sub-Saharan countries this year and next, the company said on Thursday. The bank aims to double its client base to 2 million in the region within three years. “Telcos have opened the way...
(Bloomberg 09/11/17)
The South African companies that dominate the U.K.’s growing private hospital industry are counting on more people like Katie Corrie. A children’s party entertainer, Corrie opted to use 13,000 pounds ($17,000) of her savings and inheritance to get a hip replacement rather than spend months on a National Health Service waiting list. Britons like her are forking out almost 1 billion pounds a year to cover their own medical expenses, a trend that’s giving at least one industry the scope...
(Bloomberg 09/07/17)
African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., the miner chaired by South Africa’s richest black businessman, will pay a record dividend this year as rising iron-ore and manganese prices boosted earnings at its ferrous unit. ARM will pay investors 6.50 rand a share, almost triple that of the previous year, and its 11th consecutive dividend, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement Thursday. The company benefited from a 45 percent increase in prices received for exported iron ore and 93 percent more for...
(Bloomberg 09/05/17)
The largest opposition coalition in the Democratic Republic of Congo has criticized the Independent National Electoral Commission, or CENI, for its handling of voter registration. The Rassemblement, a large platform of opposition political parties, “firmly denounces what appears as the preparation by the CENI of a large-scale fraud in the process of building the new electoral register,” the group said in a statement released Sept. 1. No further information was provided to support the claim. On Aug. 31, in a...
(Bloomberg 09/05/17)
A surge in agriculture has helped lift Africa’s biggest economies out of their slumps, but the recovery may be weak. Gross domestic product in Nigeria, the continent’s largest crude producer, advanced for the first time in six quarters in the three months ended June from a year earlier, growing 0.55 percent, the statistics agency said. In South Africa, GDP expanded 2.5 percent from the previous quarter, ending the second recession in almost a decade. Both economies had agriculture largely to...
(Bloomberg 09/04/17)
The worst may be over for Africa’s two largest economies as they likely emerged from a slump in the second quarter. Official data on Tuesday will probably show South Africa’s economy expanded in the three months through June, ending its second recession in less than a decade. Nigeria’s gross domestic product probably grew from a year earlier, and came out of its worst slump in a quarter of a century. South Africa and Nigeria together account for almost half of...
(Bloomberg 08/30/17)
One Thousand & One Voices LLC, a private-equity fund started by the great-grandson of the founder of Coors Brewing Co., said it bought a producer of sushi-quality trout that is the largest such facility in Africa. SanLei’s operations are on the Katse Dam in Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South Africa, 1K1V, as the fund is known, said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The company didn’t disclose the value of the transaction. SanLei has secured a marketing and distribution agreement...
(Bloomberg 08/28/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s chances of holding credible elections are waning due to the government’s repression of the media and civil society, a United Nations official said. “The space required for a credible electoral process is rapidly shrinking,” Georgette Gagnon, field operations director with the UN Human Rights Office, told reporters Friday in the eastern city of Goma at the conclusion of a week-long visit to the central African country. The UN rights-monitoring body has documented violations against 225...
(Bloomberg 08/24/17)
Every African nation that’s sold dollar debt now has at least one junk rating, but it would be hard to tell by looking at the bond market. The average yield on sovereign Eurobonds in Africa has hovered near the lowest level in two years this month, according to a Standard Bank Group Ltd. index, even after Moody’s Investors Service cut Namibia to below investment grade on Aug. 11. The world’s biggest producer of marine diamonds had been the continent’s only...
(Bloomberg 08/23/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo has promised to help Alphamin Resources Corp. to protect the world’s highest-grade untapped tin deposit. Construction of the mine has already started in a remote part of North Kivu, an eastern province, and Alphamin intends to have the $152 million project fully funded by the end of the year, Chief Executive Officer Boris Kamstra said Tuesday. A large part of the project’s success will depend on maintaining security in a region that hosts armed militia...
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo suspended value-added tax on imports by mining companies after briefly reinstating the duty, the country’s main business chamber said. Customs authorities had resumed collecting VAT on imports including machinery soon after a July 2016 decree halting remittances expired last month, Federation des Entreprises du Congo Managing Director Kimona Bononge said in a letter to Finance Minister Henri Yav Mulang. The minister has subsequently “resolved the problem,” Bononge said by phone from Kinshasa, the capital. “The finance minister has given an instruction to the DGDA to not collect VAT on imports by mining companies,” Bononge said by phone
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...

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