Friday 24 November 2017
(Huffingtonpost 07/27/13)
South Africa's failure to successfully engage some of Africa's most troublesome conflict zones has undermined the country's credibility and cast doubt about whether South Africa should be perceived as the continent's regional military and political leader. Ineffectual leadership is at the heart of the matter. President Zuma has made some dubious decisions regarding South Africa's regional foreign policy, and his inability to meaningfully address the plethora of domestic problems facing the country raises question about its suitability as Africa's de facto leader. Attempts to promote human rights -- a trademark of South Africa's foreign policy for the past 20 years -- have resulted in the adoption of some erratic policy decisions. For example, the South African government has numerous times...
( 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...
(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...
(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...
(Reuters 07/24/13)
(Reuters) - It was late afternoon as the speedboat cut across the waters off West Africa for its rendezvous with guns and drugs. Behind lay the steamy shore of Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Ahead lay the Al Saheli, a luxurious 115-foot white motor yacht with tinted black windows. Riding in the speedboat was Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto - a Guinea-Bissau former naval chief and war hero and, according to U.S. investigators, a kingpin of West Africa's drug trade. Na Tchuto was allegedly hoping to seal a deal involving millions of dollars and tons of cocaine. He was also in for a surprise. "Once onboard (the Al Saheli), we were offered champagne," said Vasco Antonio...
(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...
( 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,”...
(AFP (eng) 07/20/13)
Senegal has not violated the rights of former president Abdoulaye Wade's son in detaining him over corruption charges, a West African court ruled Friday, rejecting his request for immediate release. Karim Wade was arrested and charged in April over accusations that he had illegally amassed a fortune of more than $1 billion (760 million euros). He appealed to the regional court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for his release, claiming his human rights had been breached. "The arrest and detention of Mr Karim Wade are on legal basis and not arbitrary and do not constitute a violation of article 6 of the African Charter on Human Rights," Justice Clotilde Medegan said in the ruling. "The court...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
ABUJA, July 18, 2013 (AFP) - West African leaders on Thursday insisted Mali's presidential election would be held on July 28 as scheduled despite doubts over whether the crisis-hit nation was ready to organise a vote. The polls are seen as crucial to re-uniting the country which remains shaken after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out with the help of French troops. Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara, current chair of the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS, said "there are no doubts" the vote would be held on time.. The polls would take place "on the scheduled date," the Ivorian leader said at the close of...
(AFP (eng) 07/18/13)
More than 1,000 alleged victims of former dictator Hissene Habre are suing him in Senegal, where he is being tried for genocide during his eight-year rule of Chad, their lawyers said on Wednesday. Habre, 70, faces accusations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture during his brutal rule between 1982 and 1990, when some 40,000 people were killed, according to rights groups. Arrested in early July after more than two decades in exile in Senegal, the former dictator was placed on remand in Dakar where he is to stand trial after years of delays by the Senegalese government. "We will represent the 1,015 victims throughout the proceedings, from the investigation to the trial," their lawyer Jacqueline Moudeina, flanked by...
(Voice of America 07/18/13)
The president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says the regional bloc is working with its international partners, other stakeholders, and Mali’s government to ensure a successful July 28 presidential election in Mali. Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraogo says ECOWAS is committed to help Mali conduct a peaceful and credible election. Ouedraogo’s remarks came during a two-day regional leaders summit that reviewed the political and security situation in Mali. The meeting ends on Thursday. Mamadou Diamountani, chairman of Mali’s electoral commission, has said that carrying out a successful election will be challenging. But, Ouedraogo says the regional bloc is working with the electoral commission to ensure the vote goes ahead. “ECOWAS has committed itself to assist the Malian...
(Voice of America 07/18/13)
DAKAR — Four Chadians and one Senegalese national, who say they were detained and tortured under ex-Chadian president Hissene Habre, are giving their depositions this week in Senegal before the Extraordinary African Chambers that charged Habre last month with crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes during his eight years in power. In Dakar, the former detainees held a press conference to tell their stories. Younous Mahadjir rolled up his sleeve and pointed to scars encircling his left bicep. "The torture did this," he said. "They attached here and here. It left open wounds. I couldn't eat with my hands for two weeks. I was nearly paralyzed. I had to lower my head and eat like an animal because if...
(Dw-World 07/18/13)
Ahead of Mali's July 28 elections,regional body ECOWAS meets to discuss the situation there and in Guinea-Bissau where the absence of a functional government has allowed drug trafficking to flourish. Mali is battling an islamist insurgency, while Guinea-Bissau seeks to recover from a coup. Regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) grouping have used diplomacy, sanctions and a plan for military intervention to nudge Mali towards a restoration of constitutional order. The case is much worse for Guinea-Bissau which has been nicknamed the ‘narco state'. ECOWAS needs to commit to a common strategy to help the coup-plagued country implement security, justice and electoral reforms needed to escape its status as a link in drug trafficking to...
(Voice of America 07/17/13)
West African regional leaders plan to open an extraordinary two-day summit on Wednesday in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Sonny Ugoh, communications director for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), says the leaders will consider the latest political and security situation in Mali in the run-up to that country’s July 28 presidential election. “They will review the political health of the organization and member states, the economic health of the region, and give directive as to what initiative they think we should take, in order to address whatever challenges they determine that we need to address,” said Ugoh. He says Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré will brief other heads of state about the situation in Mali. Mr. Compaoré mediated talks between...
( 07/17/13)
Africa’s oil and gas industry is poised for momentous growth despite its grappling with severe stresses of a challenging economic and political environment on the continent, fuelled by poor physical infrastructure, corruption, an uncertain regulatory framework, and a lack of skills, according to a review issued by PwC. PwC’s ‘Africa oil and gas review’ of developments in the African oil and gas industry is the third in a series of reviews of the sector by the tax, assurance and advisory solutions firm. Uyi Akpata, PwC Africa oil and gas industry leader/deputy country senior partner, Nigeria, says: “The challenges facing oil and gas companies operating in Africa are diverse and numerous. Political interference, uncertainty and delays in passing laws, energy policies...

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