| Africatime
Thursday 23 March 2017
(Voice of America 03/23/17)
Judges at the International Criminal Court Wednesday sentenced former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba to an additional year in prison and fined him $324,000 for bribing witnesses during his earlier trial on war crimes. Four other members of Bemba's legal team also were sentenced by The Hague-based court. They were found guilty back in October of bribing and otherwise influencing 14 defense witnesses to try to tilt the outcome of the first trial, which led to a March 2016 conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This was the ICC's first case dealing with witness tampering. Bemba's lawyer, Aime Kilolo, was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence as well as a $32,000 fine for his...
(Bloomberg 03/20/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo warned that proposals by the Trump administration to rollback laws on so-called conflict minerals from central Africa risks stoking violence by armed groups in the region. The suspension of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act “in the long run, will jeopardize the stability and security of the DRC” by encouraging an “escalation in the activities of non-state armed groups,” Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission dated March 13 and seen by Bloomberg. Kabwelulu confirmed March 18 by text message that he sent the letter, and said a Congolese delegation will meet with the head of the SEC and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday and Tuesday...
(Voice of America 03/18/17)
Each year, the University of Southern California hosts the African Global Economic and Development Summit, bringing delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. During her prior three summits, Mary Flowers saw a high percentage of her attendees unable to attain visas. "Usually we get 40 percent that get...
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
One of the enduring legacies of the Barack Obama presidency will be the relationship built between the United States and young Africans. As part of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), each year 1,000 young people from sub-Saharan Africa travel to the United States to spend six weeks at a U.S. college or university. The program will continue this summer. But building enduring relationships is a two-way street, and many in Africa want to see Americans coming to their continent...
(The Wall Street Journal 03/15/17)
Ndalo Media founder Khanyi Dhlomo and Mara Group founder Ashish Thakkar on where the potential is and what’s blocking it How is innovation in Africa different from innovation in Silicon Valley? And how can innovation in Africa be encouraged? Dan Keeler, frontier-markets editor of The Wall Street Journal, discussed those questions with Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and chief executive of Ndalo Media, a publisher based in South Africa, and Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group, a pan-African investment group with operations...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Glencore Plc paid more than $100 million previously owed to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining business to a company controlled by billionaire investor Dan Gertler, according to advocacy group Global Witness. It’s the first time the value of the payments made to Gertler have been made public, after London-based Global Witness reported in November that government-owned Gecamines signed over its royalties from the Kamoto copper project in southeastern Congo to Gertler in January 2015. Gertler’s privately held Fleurette Group said the payments were made on instruction from Gecamines to help repay a loan. Glencore’s Katanga Mining Ltd. made the royalty and contractual bonus
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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."
(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,...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
A recent rise in rebel activity in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo threatens to undermine a political agreement for a democratic transfer of power this year, the country’s foreign minister said. The Congolese government wrote to the United Nations Security Council last week requesting its support after the return of members of the former M23 rebellion to eastern Congo, Leonard She Okitundu said Friday by phone from the capital, Kinshasa. A new conflict with M23 would “drain our financial resources”...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is expected to raise about $500 million for its new African investment fund, attracting less than its original goal as investor interest in the region proved weaker than anticipated, according to people familiar with the matter. The Toronto-based insurer sought to raise as much as $1 billion at $10 a share for Fairfax Africa Holdings Corp. in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a regulatory filing in December. Fairfax...
(Bloomberg 01/27/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned Gecamines received at least $33 million to proceed with the $3.8 billion sale of one of the country’s biggest copper mines to Chinese buyers after blocking a deal for eight months. Freeport McMoran Inc. paid the settlement as its share in an agreement to resolve all claims against the sale in May of its 56 percent stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine to China Molybdenum Co. The agreement was also signed...
(Bloomberg 01/27/17)
Barclays Africa Group Ltd. was targeted by protesters who entered one of its branches on Thursday and demanded the bank pay back money from a bailout provided to a company it bought before the end of apartheid. Demonstrators linked to the youth league of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress gathered outside the branch in Durban on South Africa’s east coast, Johannesburg-based Barclays Africa said in an e-mailed response to questions. Police ensured customers and staff were protected during the...
(Bloomberg 01/25/17)
Taiwan’s last two African allies have no plans to switch allegiances and break ties with Taipei as Beijing tries to woo the self-ruled island’s diplomatic partners. Burkina Faso won’t cut relations with Taiwan despite people and companies with links to China offering funding in return for recognition of the One-China principle, according to Foreign Minister Alpha Barry. Swaziland said its relationship with Taiwan is based on mutual interests, not on money. “We get outrageous proposals telling us, ‘if you sign...
(Voice of America 01/20/17)
By most measures, Africa is safer today than it has been in the modern era: Diseases are less deadly and wars are less frequent. But recent years have also been marked by a rise in radical extremism on the continent, and the terror threat could derail some of the world's fastest-growing economies. Dealing with the spread of radicalization has been a central focus of U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy during his time in office. Few areas have been spared...

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