Friday 21 July 2017
(Irish Times 07/26/13)
Former president tells UN security council violence has become ‘accepted normal’. Mary Robinson, the United Nations special envoy for Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region, said there are “credible reports” that countries that signed a regional peace deal are supporting rebel groups. The former Irish president told the UN security council that the latest fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has had “devastating consequences” on civilians in the region. “Not a day goes by without a report of killings, rape, sexual assault and displacement of people in eastern DRC,” said Mrs Robinson who assumed the envoy role four months ago. “What strikes me is the lack of outrage and horror at this daily toll. It has become the accepted...
( 07/26/13)
Successful elections in Zimbabwe are crucial both for that country's own socio-economic development and for improved security in the southern African region, says South African Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim. Speaking to journalists in Pretoria on Thursday, Ebrahim said the South African government welcomed the fact that the overall atmosphere in Zimbabwe remained calm ahead of next week's elections, with no major instances of violence or intimidation having been reported so far. Ebrahim added that South Africa hoped there wouldn't be a repeat of Zimbabwe's previous election in 2008, when the announcement of the results had been delayed, stoking concerns about poll rigging. Over six-million Zimbabweans who have registered to vote will go to the polls next Wednesday to...
(Business Daily 07/26/13)
Global food prices fell by 2 per cent in the latest four-month period, marking the third straight period of declines, as declining imports in the Middle East and North Africa, and lower demand pushed prices down 12 per cent from their August 2012 peak, the World Bank said on Thursday. The World Bank's Food Price Index showed international prices of wheat fell by 2 per cent, sugar by 6 per cent, soybean oil by 11 per cent, and maize, or corn, by 1 per cent during the four-month period between February and June. The index, which weighs export prices of food, fats and oils, grains, and other foods in nominal U.S. dollars, fell by 2 per cent. Improved weather conditions...
(New Vision 07/25/13)
Kenya said it would cut red tape holding up millions of dollars of imports into its landlocked neighbours Rwanda and Uganda, by letting the countries collect customs on goods as they arrive in its port at Mombasa. Goods can currently face long delays as agents process the paperwork to release cargoes from warehouses at east Africa's biggest port, and later make separate arrangements to pay import duties at Kenya's borders with Uganda and Rwanda. Tax officials said the new system, due to be introduced in August, would clear inefficiencies and blockages seen as a major barrier to trade in the region. But clearing agents in Kenya said it could also cost thousands of jobs in warehouses, freight firms and almost...
( 07/25/13)
Chantal Hebberecht posted to Addis Ababa and Michael Ryan to Kigali. The European Union has named new ambassadors to two of the most sensitive postings in Africa, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Chantal Hebberecht will move to Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous state, from Kyrgyzstan, where she was also an ambassador. Hebberecht, who is Belgian, steps into a vacancy created by the death in late May of Xavier Marchal, who was also Belgian. Before joining the EU's diplomatic service, Hebberecht served in the European Commission, working for a time as a head of unit for Commission's Peace Facility – a funding instrument – with a particular focus on food-security issues. Ethiopia's efforts to develop its economy and reduce its vulnerability to food...
(This Day Live 07/25/13)
African countries and their communities have been told they can effectively end ‘land grabs,’ grow significantly more food across the region, and transform their development prospects if they can modernise the complex governance procedures that govern land ownership and management over the next decade. This was revealed in a new World Bank report titled Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity released on Monday in Washington, US, which also noted that Africa has the highest poverty rate in the world with 47.5 per cent of the population living below $1.25 a day. The detailed report noted that sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly half of the world’s usable, uncultivated land but so far the continent has not been able to develop...
(Voice of America 07/25/13)
CAPITOL HILL — Prospective U.S. diplomats to Africa say President Barack Obama’s recent trip to the continent underscored persistent challenges and vast opportunities that cry out for robust and sustained American engagement. Administration nominees for the State Department’s top Africa post, as well as numerous ambassadorships, testified Wednesday at their Senate confirmation hearing. During his three-nation trip to Africa earlier this month, Obama unveiled initiatives to boost electric service on the continent, increase trade and commercial ties, and help groom Africa’s next generation of leaders. But more must be done, according to Democratic Senator Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa. “President Obama’s recent trip was a positive demonstration of U.S. commitment, and the president’s initiatives...
(Reuters 07/24/13)
NAIROBI, July 24 (Reuters) - Kenya said it would cut red tape holding up millions of dollars of imports into its landlocked neighbours Rwanda and Uganda, by letting the countries collect customs on goods as they arrive in its port at Mombasa. Goods can currently face long delays as agents process the paperwork to release cargoes from warehouses at east Africa's biggest port, and later make separate arrangements to pay import duties at Kenya's borders with Uganda and Rwanda. Tax officials said the new system, due to be introduced in August, would clear inefficiencies and blockages seen as a major barrier to trade in the region. But clearing agents in Kenya said it could also cost thousands of jobs in...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
The Obama administration wants Rwanda to stop backing Congolese rebels who are undermining efforts to end decades of violence in East Africa's Great Lakes region. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Tuesday said the country needs to cut off the Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebellion, whose fighting with government troops has driven a new wave of refugees into border towns. The announcement comes two days before Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to chair a special session of the U.N. Security Council on the Great Lakes regional conflict. "We call upon Rwanda to immediately end any support to the M23, withdraw military personnel from eastern DRC, and follow through on its commitments under the framework," she said, referring...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/24/13)
(Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday called on Rwanda to end support for M23 rebels in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, saying there was evidence Rwandan military officials were involved. It is the first response by Washington to recent M23 clashes with Congolese government forces near Goma, the largest city in the DRC's mineral-rich eastern region, but stayed clear of directly implicating Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a U.S. ally whose poverty-fighting programs are often heralded by donors. "We call upon Rwanda to immediately end any support for the M23 (and) withdraw military personnel from eastern DRC," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The call comes two days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chairs a special session of...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
Malaria infections, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 newborns and 10,000 new mothers each year. The parasitic illness can also cause miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the risk of death. There are low cost, lifesaving interventions to prevent infection, yet, according to a new study, there are significant barriers to implementing them. For the past 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that pregnant women in areas with high rates of malaria receive insecticide-treated bed nets and periodic doses of a cheap drug to prevent the disease. Yet, despite relatively high attendance at clinics for expectant mothers and their newborns throughout sub-Saharan Africa, statistics show that just a little over 21 percent...
(Ghana Business News 07/24/13)
It will cost Africa $4.5 billion over the next ten years in order to bring proper reforms into managing the continent’s ‘rich’ land, says a new World Bank report published July 22, 2013. According to the report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity,” African countries could effectively end ‘land grabs,’ if the complex land ownership and management is mordernized through governance procedures. The World Bank therefore suggests a number of steps and policies that can bring major changes in the continent’s land governance. “It would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector, $4.5 billion spread over ten years to scale up these policy reforms and investments,” said the Bank. The report suggests that Africa could finally...
(AFP (eng) 07/23/13)
UN says although genital cutting is on decline, female genital mutilation remains "almost universal" in some countries. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, and 30 million more girls are at risk in the next decade, UNICEF said. Although genital cutting is on the decline, the practice remains "almost universal" in some countries, said the report by the United Nations Children's Fund, released on Monday. The report compiles 20 years of data across 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The tradition involves removal of some or all of a female's external genitalia. It can include cutting out the clitoris and sometimes sewing together the labia. Laws are not enough to stop...
(UN.org 07/22/13)
The United Nations refugee agency is ramping up efforts to aid some 15,500 Congolese at an increasingly crowded transit facility in western Uganda which has become a hub for those who fled renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and hid in schools across the border. “UNHCR and government partners are running 15 trucks non-stop all day transferring refugees and their possessions to the facility,” Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told journalists in Geneva. The Uganda Red Cross Society, which runs the Bundibugyo transit centre, estimates that more than 66,000 people have fled the fighting last week in DRC’s North Kivu province between government troops and the Allied Democratic Forces, a...
( 07/22/13)
African governments must improve their support for agricultural research organisations, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has said. “The need for action on agricultural research is urgent. African Governments must increase funding for agricultural research and extension; farmers’ innovations must find their way into the research agenda to enable Africa achieve its goal of food sufficiency,” Mr. Amissah-Arthur said in Accra at the opening ceremony of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW). AASW, hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, brought together over 1,300 scientific researchers, extension officers, farmers, policymakers, development partners, civil society and NGO groups from across the world to discuss the theme “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural...
(The Guardian Nigeria 07/21/13)
DESPITE the fall in productivity of Africa’s agriculture over the years occasioned by seasons of under-investment and an ill-advised structural adjustment, there is yet a lot to be done to feed the continent’s huge and fast-growing population. Global figures in agriculture and research agree, as they met in Accra, Ghana that ‘funding to agriculture, to universities and to research centres fell steadily and steeply,’ leading to a reversal of the many gains of the past. Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President articulated as much when he addressed the Sixth Forum of Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) summit in the Ghanaian capital during the week. He said, “Our universities lost good people. The quality of education declined,”...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/13)
(Reuters) - The African Union will form a new 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission for Central African Republic (CAR) to step up efforts to stabilize the fractious country, officials said on Friday. Admore Kambudzi, secretary of the AU's Peace and Security Council, said an existing regional peacekeeping mission known as MICOPAX would be rolled into the larger new force from August. He said its mandate would be to protect civilians and help stabilize the country and restore the central government in the former French colony, which is rich in gold and diamonds. Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million at the heart of the continent, has suffered decades of instability. Seleka rebels toppled the president in March, causing chaos and a...
(Voice of America 07/18/13)
NAIROBI, KENYA — Rwanda’s justice minister says the International Criminal Court only delivers “selective justice” - mostly targeting African leaders. His comments come as the world marks the 15th anniversary of the statute that established the court. Some are questioning whether Africa still needs the ICC, as discontent with the institution grows. On July 17, 1998, delegates at an international conference in Rome voted to form the so-called “court of last resort” to try perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and other major offenses where local courts were unable or unwilling to act. Today the International Criminal Court - based in The Hague - has cases involving eight African countries including Kenya, Sudan and Ivory Coast. Rwanda is one of the...
(BBC News Africa 07/17/13)
A woman who lied about her role in Rwanda's genocide to gain refugee status in the US has been sentenced to 10 years in jail. Beatrice Munyenyezi, 43, who has been in the US since 1998, once commanded a roadblock where victims were picked to be murdered, prosecutors said. She was convicted in February of lying to federal authorities. After she serves her US sentence, Munyenyezi will be deported to Rwanda where genocide charges could await her. An estimated 800,000 people, mostly from the minority Tutsi ethnic group, were killed in Rwanda in 1994. Munyenyezi is said to be the first person to be convicted in the US over the genocide. She wept as she was sentenced on Monday in...
( 07/17/13)
Rwanda's lower house has passed a bill amending a law against "genocide ideology" that had been criticised as muzzling free speech and suppressing opposition, a lawmaker said Tuesday. Rwanda adopted the original law in 2008, 14 years after extremists from the Hutu majority killed an estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in one of the worst genocides in history. But rights groups had criticised the law as overly vague and said it was being used to crack down on opposition to the regime of President Paul Kagame, who led a Tutsi rebellion to take power in 1994 and end the genocide. The new draft law would mean criminal intent must be proved, while an act of inciting genocide must...

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