Thursday 25 May 2017
(Xinhuanet 01/23/17)
Three people were killed and scores of houses razed Saturday as heavy rains pounded different parts of Rwanda, officials said on Monday. "On the night of January 21, heavy rains tragically claimed the lives of three residents in Kigali and led to destruction of homes and public infrastructure including roads," Rwanda's Ministry of Disasters and Refugee Affairs said in a statement. Preliminary assessment indicated that more than 800 houses and four classrooms were destroyed in different parts of Kigali alone while about 30 houses were ruined in the southern district of Kamonyi. The statement said the assessment was ongoing with figures expected to change. In Sub-Saharan Africa, disaster damages are double traditional estimates, averaging 14 billion U.S. dollars per year,...
(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 over the past eight years, with much of the continent living in the shadow of a violent extremist group: al-Shabab in Somalia and East Africa, Islamic State (IS) in Libya, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, the Lord's...
(Xinhuanet 01/18/17)
The Chinese government's decision to terminate ivory processing and trade by the end of 2017 marked a critical milestone in the journey toward eliminating poaching and other threats to Africa's elephant species, a conservationist group said on Wednesday. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) hailed China for taking bold measures to revitalize global efforts to save African elephants whose numbers had declined this decade due to poaching and climatic stresses. "The recent announcement by the central government of China to ban all domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017 offers a glimmer of real optimism in the fight against elephant poaching," Sebunya said in a statement issued in Nairobi The Chinese authority in December 2016 announced the...
(New Vision 01/17/17)
“I can tell you that rats destroy up to 60% of health equipment in Africa,” Ssali said. Ssali sought to highlight the dangers that exist when biomedical engineers are not consulted in the management of health equipment including x-rays and CT scans. For instance, he narrated, cables of a CT scan installed at one unnamed facility were eaten up by rats, costing the institution over $5,000 to replace. Biomedical engineers are professionals who maintain and repair machines for diagnosing medical problems. They design medical equipment and devices, artificial internal organs or synthetic body parts. In Africa, the profession is relatively new-just about 10 years old in Uganda, it has been in existence in the developed world for nearly half a...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/17)
Hundreds of people turned out for the funeral of Rwanda's last king, Kigeli V, in the country's former royal capital Nyanza on Sunday. Kigeli was buried in his homeland after his body was repatriated from Washington on Monday. He had been living in exile in the United States since 1992. Kigeli actually died in October at the age of 80 but his funeral was delayed by a court battle between his relatives, arguing over where he should be buried -- in the US or his place of birth. The religious ceremony took place outdoors in the grounds of the old King's Palace, now a modest museum, in Nyanza, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital Kigali, a local journalist...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/17)
Aydin Sefa Akay is one of over 41,000 people arrested and awaiting trial in Turkey in the wake of the unsuccessful July 15 coup plot to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But Akay is no ordinary prisoner. A former Turkish ambassador, he is a top judge attached to the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT). In that capacity, Akay had been working with the UN international court trying suspects over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and his detention has paralysed proceedings into a key case. On Tuesday a public hearing will be held in The Hague when all parties, including Turkey, can state their case in a bid to break the deadlock. Akay's family say he is being held...
(RFI 01/14/17)
The 27th Africa-France Summit kicked off on Friday in the Malian capital Bamako with more than 30 African heads of state meeting French officials to discuss the threat of jihadists in the Sahel region and improve democracy in Africa. the meeting is also an opportunity for French president François Hollande to showcase his legacy. The choice to hold the 27th Africa-France summit in Mali is not insignificant. Bamako is where president François Hollande first revealed himself as an international statesman, when France's military launched Operation Serval in January 2013 as jihadists allied to Tuareg rebels took control of the north of the country. "I took the necessary steps and we intervened militarily, and what we did there in terms of...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
France's top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault struck a defiant tone at a summit on Friday with foreign ministers from across Africa as he urged them to show confidence and hope despite the deadly jihadist threat. With the battle against extremists, the struggle to improve governance and the migrant crisis high on the agenda, ministers from at least 30 nations met in Mali's capital Bamako ahead of heads of state due on Saturday. Mali called on France four years ago to help force jihadists out of key northern cities. To this day, 4,000 French troops remain in the country and across the Sahel region. "(Choosing) Bamako as the venue is an act of confidence after the intervention," Ayrault told journalists as the...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
Talks gathering some 30 African states and France begin in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday, with leaders expected to focus on Africa's battle against jihadists and bid to improve its democratic record. The summit, also due to take in the migrant crisis, will see foreign ministers gather first, with heads of state expected to follow Saturday, according to Malian and French conference organisers. Many of the nations taking part were once ruled by France, which in recent years has boosted its military involvement in the continent. Several English-speaking African countries will also be present. In a bid to help crush the growing jihadist threat, France has trained more than 20,000 African soldiers every year since a Paris summit in 2013,...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/17)
The remains of Rwanda's last king, Kigeli V, arrived in the country Monday after a court battle between his relatives over where he should be buried, an official said. King Kigeli died in October, aged 80, in the United States. He had been living in exile in the suburbs of Washington since 1992. His death prompted a spat between relatives living in America and those in Rwanda over where he should be buried and a US court ruled last week in favour of those in his home country. "We are very happy to have him back in his country of birth," said James Vuningoma, executive secretary of the Rwanda Academy of Language
(Huffingtonpost 01/10/17)
And it’s ironic given the growing consensus that Beijing is the U.S. president-elect’s enemy number one. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden are the duo behind the China Africa Project and hosts of the popular China in Africa Podcast. We’re here to answer your most pressing, puzzling, even politically incorrect questions, about all things related to the Chinese in Africa and Africans in China. The election of Donald Trump has introduced a new era of uncertainty in global politics, especially in Africa where the president-elect has said little about his foreign policy agenda for the continent. Not surprisingly, Trump’s unpredictable, provocative style is sparking widespread concern across the continent as to whether the United States plans to remain engaged in...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results in brackets with W denoting a win, D a draw and L a loss): FAVOURITES Egypt (WWW) Back among the elite and in good form. After winning three consecutive Cup of Nations titles, they failed to qualify for the past...
(Agence Ecofin 01/06/17)
Indian firm Aaviskaar Venture Management Services (AVMS) has announced plans to raise between $100 million and $150 million for Africa investments. “We will start the fund-raising around the middle of 2017 and we expect to close it in 2018,” said Vineet Rai, founder of Intellecap-Aavishkaar group. The new African fund will focus on investing on African low-income groups, especially in the agriculture, finance and financial technology sectors. “We will use the sow-tend-reap strategy of multiple round investing and will be an early investor,” Rai told local Indian media Regions targeted are West and East Africa, especially Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana. Investments will range from half a million to $5 million. The investment firm’s expansion strategy in Africa...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
Italy vowed Wednesday to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests have been rejected, after a riot in a reception centre sparked by the death of a young woman. The country, which has been on the frontline of migrants arriving across the Mediterranean from North Africa, is pushing for an agreement with Niger and a renewed deal with Tunisia to facilitate returns. "We have saved many lives but we cannot accept rule-breaking. We need to speed up deportations," Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the country's former interior minister, said in an interview with La Stampa daily. He was "working to tie up agreements which will reduce arrivals and prevent departures" from the coast of North Africa, he said after a record...
(BBC News Africa 01/03/17)
An electricity grid for the whole village Problem: A total of 1.3 billion people worldwide currently don't have electricity, according to Yale Environment 360. Getting people in rural areas on to the national grid is proving too difficult and traditional solar panels generate meagre amounts of energy. Solution: Steamaco makes solar and battery micro-grids which can work for a whole village. They are small electricity generation and distribution systems that operate independently of larger grids. How it works: Micro-grids are nothing new. The new part is that Steamaco's technology automates the regulation of electricity. So, if the system detects there will be a surge in demand for electricity, for example on a Saturday night when people want to start playing...
(Voice of America 12/30/16)
2016 was predicted to be a tough year for African economies, and it delivered. Traditional economic leaders faltered this year amid a storm of falling commodity prices, unpredictable and destructive weather like droughts and floods across large swaths of the the continent. Slow economic growth in China, a major investor and trading partner, only added to their challenges. “This year, you’ve seen the two Africas: the commodity exporters going through tough times, while the non-commodity exporters being more resilient,” Nigerian economist Nonso Obikili, who researches Nigerian and sub-Saharan economic trends for Economic Research Southern Africa, told VOA. He says 2016 has been hard on African commodity giants as oil prices fell to lows not seen since the global financial crisis...
(Bloomberg 12/29/16)
Rwanda’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in two-and-a-half years to support flagging economic growth as inflation eased in the East African nation. The Monetary Policy Committee reduced the key repo rate to 6.25 percent from 6.5 percent, after leaving it unchanged since June 2014. The lowering of the key repo rate is to signal the banks to increase lending to the private sector and support growth,” Governor John Rwangombwa told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Kigali. The central bank forecasts the inflation rate at about 6 percent by the end of 2016 after it slowed to 6.4 percent in November from 7.4 percent in the previous month. Economic growth may also decelerate to 6...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(African Review 12/28/16)
Rwandan opposition politician Frank Habineza has been week nominated by his Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) to challenge President Paul Kagame for the presidency in the 2017 election. By this action, the party has abandoned its earlier threat to boycott the election after its demands for electoral reforms were snubbed by the government. Explaining the change of tact, the party said participation was more beneficial than a boycott. The move hardly elicited political excitement in a country where the major opposition parties have cast their lot with the incumbent. This largely sets the tone for the poll slated for August 3-4, 2017. Fall from heaven The Green Party became the first opposition party to name a presidential aspirant, and...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...

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