Wednesday 23 August 2017
(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 groups and eliminating illegal mining. “The DRC government has been hugely supportive in that we now have a very strong military presence in our area,” Kamstra told reporters at a Johannesburg briefing attended by North...
(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 into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “Smaller towers can run...
(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...
(The Associated Press 08/04/17)
U.N. human rights investigators have issued a new report documenting the killings of more than 250 people, including 62 children, in violence in central Congo over three recent months that could devolve into “wider ethnic cleansing.” The investigators based the report on interviews in June of 96 people who fled Congo’s Kasai provinces into neighboring Angola. It decried alleged violence involving a new militia, Bana Mura, backed by Congolese security officials. U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged Congo’s...
(AL Jazeera 08/02/17)
Police in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrested more than 100 people as they cracked down on protesters demanding that President Joseph Kabila leave power by the end of the year, according to two rights groups. A series of marches across the country called on Monday by pro-democracy group Lucha, and backed by several leading opposition politicians, were mostly snuffed out by heavy police deployments. Congolese authorities have banned opposition demonstrations since last September because of security fears. Kabila's refusal...
(Voice of America 08/02/17)
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has called an emergency meeting this Wednesday in South Africa of all countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Aid workers are concerned what this could mean for food security in the region, where a fall armyworm invasion and drought have decimated crops in recent years. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says besides Zimbabwe, the other countries in the region hit by...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Voice of America 08/01/17)
Police in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have arrested more than 100 protesters in cities across the country who were calling for presidential elections to be held by the end of the year. Demonstrations took place Monday in the capital, Kinshasa, the eastern city of Goma, and at least a half dozen other cities. In Goma, witnesses said police used tear gas to disperse protesters, while in Kinshasa, media groups said several journalists covering the protests were briefly detained...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands...
(BBC News Africa 07/28/17)
An estimated 850,000 children have been forced to flee fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai provinces, the UN's children's agency Unicef says. This makes it one of the world's "largest displacement crises" for children, it adds. Many of the affected children are now in foster care or with relatives. Fighting broke out in Kasai in August 2016 after a traditional leader was killed in clashes with security forces. It has since escalated leaving more than 3,000 people dead...
(Bloomberg 07/28/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s insurance regulator is preparing to open up an industry for the first time that could be worth as much as $500 million a year to investors. The newly created Insurance Regulatory Authority, known by the French acronym ARCA, received interest from at least 16 companies after requesting letters of intent in June, Managing Director Eric Mboma said, declining to identify individual firms. It will seek formal applications from those firms in August and award licenses...
(Radio Vatican 07/25/17)
Residents of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo have staged a week-long silent protest intended to send a message to the kidnappers of two Catholic priests kidnapped Sunday 16 July from a parish of Bunyuka. Activity in the area came to a complete standstill as residents shunned farms and public spaces. Silence marked entire villages. It was the least they could do in the face of all manner of gunmen. Bishop Sikuli Paluku Melchisédech of Butembo-Beni, who confirmed the silent protest to Vatican Radio said that Fathers Charles Kipasa and Jean-Pierre Akilimali...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Zoe Kabila, the brother of Congolese President Joseph Kabila, owns a business empire that encompasses everything from tourism to mining. His companies have sold diamonds, owned a luxury hotel on Congo’s Atlantic coast, built roads, invested in farming, set up a fast-food franchise and printed driver’s licenses, according to a review of corporate filings obtained by Bloomberg. That’s in addition to contracts and partnerships with Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and Nzuri Copper Ltd. Zoe’s businesses, along with those of his siblings,...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30...
(Bloomberg 07/18/17)
In the two decades since billionaire mining investor Robert Friedland founded Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., his small team has made some of the biggest mineral discoveries in the world. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it has done so while trading and contracting with companies controlled by one of President Joseph Kabila’s brothers, searches of thousands of pages of Congolese corporate records obtained by Bloomberg show. Ivanhoe’s unearthing of Africa’s largest copper deposit in Congo last year after more than a decade of exploration work has helped quintuple the company’s stock price. The discovery adds to other successes by Friedland, which include building the Oyu Tolgoi copper-and-gold mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert
(RFI(EN) 07/17/17)
French police cancelled a concert by a Congolese singer on Saturday after violent protests around the venue by opponents of Democratic Republic of Congo president Joseph Kabila. Paris's police service said they had called off the event after "unacceptable" overcrowding by demonstrators around the Olympia music venue ahead of a planned performance by Heritier Watanabe - who is viewed as being close to Kabila. Three people were arrested after a car was set on fire on a street near the...
(Voice of America 07/13/17)
The U.N. said Wednesday it had identified another 38 probable mass graves in central Congo, where violence has killed thousands since August. This would bring the total of mass graves found in the Kasai region to 80, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo said Wednesday. The U.N. reports an estimated 1.3 million people from Kasai have been internally displaced and 30,000 have fled to neighboring Angola since a flare-up of violence in August. The killing of a tribal chief by...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from...

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