Wednesday 26 July 2017
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...

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