Wednesday 18 October 2017
(News24 07/10/17)
Senegal kicked off campaigning on Sunday for parliamentary elections later this month, with a record number of candidates vying to weaken President Macky Sall - including 91-year-old ex-leader Abdoulaye Wade. Wade, president from 2000 to 2012, has been living in France for the past several months, but was expected to return to Dakar on Monday to lead the campaign for his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS). "I will campaign, but not the same way as when I was young," he told a local television station on Friday. A parliamentary...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/07/17)
Chinese and French companies are bidding to help Gambia build up its Atlantic port Banjul to be what industry sources say could be a rival to neighboring Senegal's Dakar. It would be one of the first major structural changes in Gambia following the end of President Yahya Jammeh's more than 20-year rule in January. State-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) (601800.SS) says one of its subsidiaries has made a bid for a 140 million euro ($159.91 million) contract Gambia has launched to redevelop the port. France's Bollore Group (BOLL.PA) has also submitted an offer to develop the port for hundreds of millions of dollars, sources told Reuters, and was part of a recent delegation of French investors to the country...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(Agence Ecofin 06/27/17)
In Senegal, the Santhiou Mekhe solar power plant, which is said to be the largest in West Africa, has been commissioned on June 23 by President Macky Sall. Named after the region in which it is built, the plant has a capacity 30MW and was devepoled by French company Solairedirect, Engie’s arm in charge of solar energy. Electricity produced at the plant will be sold to SENELEC, the country’s power utility under a 25-year agreement. The project for the infrastructure was concretized as a result of a public-private partnership between PROPARCO, subsidiary of the French Development Agency, and the Sovereign Funds Strategic Investment (FONSIS). The Santhiou Mekhe power plant was built in line with the government’s goal to bring to...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/24/17)
Air Senegal SA has ordered two ATR 72-600 aircraft in a 50 million euro ($56 million) deal as the new flagship carrier seeks to build up a fleet ahead of its launch later this year, the ministry of tourism and air transportation said on Thursday. Toulouse, France-based ATR, a partnership between Airbus and Italy's Leonardo, will deliver the two turboprop planes in November, the ministry said. Air Senegal was formed in April 2016 with 40 billion CFA francs ($68 million) in state capital to replace the now defunct, heavily indebted carrier Senegal Airlines. Senegal is aiming to become a regional air transportation hub with the scheduled December opening of the new Blaise Diagne International Airport located outside the capital Dakar...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
As a girl, Karelle Vignon-Vullierme loved eating the Beninese dishes her mother cooked but never bothered following her into the kitchen to learn how to make them herself. But that has not stopped the Senegal-based blogger, now in her 30s, from building up an adoring online audience of thousands by whipping up mouth-watering meals from all corners of the globe. Hers is a story of love, the internet and plenty of chocolate cake. Based in Dakar since 2012, Vignon-Vullierme has a strong following in France and francophone Africa for her skill in perfecting everything from Indian naan bread to spicy Moroccan soup,...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(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) 06/18/17)
Corner shops, markets and street traders are still the traditional way most Senegalese do their shopping, but micro-businesses are turning to digital means of tracking clients in the west African nation's informal economy. Amadou Bawol Bah, like many owners of the corner "boutiques" in Senegal, used to have a large ledger he filled in each day with purchases and credit offered to his customers. "One day I was filling in some details and some cooking oil tipped onto the ledger," he recalled of the moment in 2015 that wiped out years of careful bookkeeping. Bawol Bah's disaster became the inspiration for a locally-designed app called "Weebi", meaning "easy" in the local Pulaar language, and the trader hasn't looked back since...
(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...
(APA 06/14/17)
Gambia's Interior Minister Mai Ahmed Fatty has disclosed that negotiations are at an advanced stage for The Gambia to source electricity supply from Senelec, the national electricity company of Senegal. Fatty spoke to reporters in Banjul at the end of a day-long cabinet meeting. Speaking on behalf of the Information minister who is out of the country, Fatty announced that the government is working on normalising the erratic water and power supply being experienced at the moment in most parts of the country. Gambia's water and electricity company, Nawec, has been struggling with old generators and a lack of financial resources, due in part to millions of dalasi in arrears of payments for services supplied, owed by consumers including public...
(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...
(RFI(EN) 06/12/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron was to meet Côte d'Ivoire's President Alassane Ouattara on Sunday and Senegal's President Macky Sall on Monday, the first African heads of state to visit the Elysée presidential palace since his election last month. As French voters cast their ballots in the first round of a parliamentary election on Sunday, Macron will welcome Ouattara to the Elysée for a meeting and press conference. The Ivorian president has enjoyed warm relations with France for years, leading his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, to accuse the French of helping Ouattara topple him following 2010's disputed election. He will be the first African president to visit the Elysée...
(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...

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