| Africatime
Sunday 23 April 2017
(Voice of America 10/17/16)
Telecom workers in Burkina Faso were on strike again this month, leading to phone and internet interruptions. The country has only one internet service provider, Onatel, but the days of the telecom monopoly in Africa may ending. The Burkina Faso telecommunications authority fined Onatel 5 billion CFA francs ($8.5 million U.S.) in response to the strike, which cut internet access across the country for more than a week. Arouna Ouédraogo, an information technology specialist, said people without access to the internet become desperate. He said he businesspeople rushing to his internet cafe with contracts to sign and documents to send, but he couldn't help them. "People outside this country just cannot imagine that there is no internet" for such an...
(AFP (eng) 10/15/16)
Stemming the astronomical losses caused by crime in the oceans surrounding Africa is the focus of a major continental summit on Saturday in the Togolese capital, Lome. "Over recent decades, the accumulated revenue losses resulting directly from illegal activities in the African maritime sector add up to hundreds of billions of US dollars, without counting the loss of human lives," the African Union (AU) said in an online statement about its Protect Our Oceans meeting. Up to 30 African heads of state and government are expected to attend the gathering, whose full title is the AU Extraordinary Summit on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa. The long-term aim, according to the AU, is to "make maritime space the...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/14/16)
About 70 sub-Saharan African migrants forced their way over a barbed wire barrier into Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla Thursday. They ran to a local immigration center where they were met by dozens of migrants cheering “victory, victory” although their legal status in Spain has yet to be determined. Migrants wait weeks and sometimes months at the short-stay immigrant center in the hope of being transferred to a refugee reception center in mainland Spain, said Government Delegation of Melilla spokesperson Irene Flores. Spain has two enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla, and both are hot spots for African migrants making their way to Europe either by climbing over the barriers, going around them or swimming along the coastline. After...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/13/16)
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel toured three African nations this week for talks on curbing migration to Europe, the leader of the world's poorest country, Niger, suggested it would take a "Marshall Plan" of massive aid to stop people coming. Merkel politely declined the request, expressing concern about how well the aid would be spent and noting that, at a summit in Malta last year, the European Union had already earmarked 1.8 billion euros for a trust fund to train and resettle migrants. But Niger's President Mahatma Issoufou also proposed something perhaps more significant, in the long run, than a development package - bringing Niger's population growth down from 3.9 percent, the highest in the world. Though he gave no...
(Graphic Online 10/12/16)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasised that Africa will be a priority when her country takes over the G20's revolving presidency at the end of 2016. Speaking in Ethiopia yesterday on the final stage of a three-nation African tour, which also included visits to Mali and Niger, Mrs Merkel pledged development as well as military aid on her trip. She said it was important to stem migration at its source. Germany took in more than one million irregular migrants last year - many from war-ravaged Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also many fleeing economic hardship across Africa. Migration is expected to be a key issue in next year's federal elections, though Mrs Merkel has not yet declared whether she will...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/16)
Raised on the backstabbing intrigue of 1980s American soaps "Dallas" and "Dynasty", and later, the heady drama of South American telenovelas, Africans are enjoying a surge in local TV content they can finally identify with. It took a while, but in the past decade local programming has soared in sub-Saharan Africa's key economies, a rise driven by both foreign satellite networks and television stations on the continent. This growth has delivered up local shows such as Kenya's comedic "Real Househelps of Kawangware" -- a play on the US "Real Housewives" series -- along with talk shows, political satire and continent-wide reality TV such as "Big Brother Africa" and "Project Fame". And demand is set to grow with the number of...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/16)
Africa will come together to battle piracy and illegal fishing for the first time at an African Union maritime security summit that kicks off in Togo on October 15. The continent urgently needs to fight "extremely high stakes" piracy and illegal fishing in its waters by joining forces over policy and working to raise necessary funds, Togo's Foreign Minister Robert Dussey told AFP ahead of the meeting. - Why is this meeting being held? - "These are very high stakes for Africa. At least 92 percent of imported goods arrive on the continent across the seas and oceans. Of the 54 countries in the African Union, 33 have a coastline," said Dussey. "During the summit, several issues will be tackled...
(AFP (eng) 10/08/16)
World economic leaders gathered in Washington this week to defend globalization, delivering a single message in unison: Protectionism will not save you. But this glosses over the plight of Africa, which is sinking further into poverty despite years of free trade. According to the International Monetary Fund, which held its annual meetings this week with the World Bank, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is in free-fall this year, with a growth rate of 1.4 percent, down from 3.4 percent in 2015, its lowest in a quarter century. The regional economy will therefore grow more slowly than the population, at the risk of deepening poverty in a region already home to more than half of the 766 million people on earth who...
(AFP (eng) 10/07/16)
Investment into Africa may buck the global downward trend and stage a rebound this year despite low prices hitting the oil and gas sector, a UN agency said Thursday. While foreign direct investment, a key driver of trade and economic growth, is set to drop by 10 to 15 percent this year globally, in Africa it may increase by 6 percent to $55 to 60 billion, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Developments (UNCTAD) said in a report. "This bounce-back is already becoming visible in announced greenfield projects in Africa. In the first quarter of 2016, their value was $29 billion, 25 percent higher than the same period in 2015," said the agency. While north African countries such as...
(Seychelles News Agency 10/06/16)
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance this week placed the Seychelles fourth out of 54 African nations on a broad range of governance-related criteria. The island nation off the eastern coast of Africa, with its population of just under 100,000 inhabitants, rose two places after being ranked sixth in 2015. The Seychelles Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday that the country is proud of the outcome of the 2016 assessment that has placed the country among the top performing countries in the index. The report issued on Monday by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation suggests that island nations off the coast of Africa are performing better than most of their continental peers, with neighbouring Indian Ocean island Mauritius taking the number...
(Seychelles News Agency 10/06/16)
Eight Iranians charged with importation and trafficking of drugs were released on Thursday by the Seychelles Supreme Court. Charges remain against three others. The case relates to the April arrest of 11 Iranian nationals who were charged with two counts of importing and trafficking of controlled drugs, including heroin and opium Principal State Counsel David Esparon told SNA that charges against the eight men have been withdrawn based on evidence presented in court. “Although a person is on a boat we have to prove that there is a link, that the person is in control of the drugs onboard. In this case we could not link the eight to the drugs,” Esparon told SNA. In his decision, Judge Mohan Niranjit...
(Xinhuanet 10/06/16)
Zhou Ping had not seen his father for five years when in primary school. Despite the biting solitude, Zhou always displayed his pride for his father -- he was from a glorious "foreign aid family," and his father was building the Tazara Railway in Africa. Standing on the windy East African plateau, Zhou picked up this childhood sentiment. More than 40 years have passed, and 53-year-old Zhou is now a construction worker for another historic railway connecting the African countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti. The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, which officially opened service on Wednesday, is another Chinese-built trans-national rail in Africa following Tazara, which links Tanzania's Dar es Salaam with Zambia's Kapiri Mposhi. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang hailed it as...
(CNN 10/05/16)
Terrorism, human trafficking, and corruption are creating a more dangerous continent, which in turn is preventing better governance, a new report revealed. The results of the 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, show that two thirds of Africans live in a country where safety and rule of law has deteriorated over the past decade, greatly impacting overall governance in Africa. 15 countries have declined 'quite substantially,' and almost half the countries on the continent recorded their worst score ever within the last three years. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance, the report provides an annual assessment of governance in Africa and is most comprehensive collection of data on governance in the region. The 2016...
(AFP (eng) 10/04/16)
The global conference that governs wildlife trade voted Monday against strengthening the ban on ivory sales, exposing bitter divisions among African countries and experts over elephant conservation. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected a proposal to include all African elephants in its highest category of protection, which bans trade in species facing extinction. A coalition of 29 African countries -- led by Kenya and Benin -- had pressed for African elephants to be put in the CITES "Appendix I" category. But South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe rejected the proposal, saying they should continue to be excluded from Appendix I as they have stable or growing elephant populations. "This is a tragedy for elephants," said Kelvin Alie,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/03/16)
Governance across Africa has improved very little over the past decade as deteriorating safety and rule of law have held back progress made in other areas such as human rights or economic opportunities, a survey said on Monday. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) - the most comprehensive survey of its kind on the continent - rates 54 African nations against criteria such as security, human rights, economic stability, just laws, free elections, corruption, infrastructure, poverty, health and education. Mauritius held onto its top spot, followed by Botswana, Cape Verde, the Seychelles and Namibia while South Africa - the continent's most industrialised country - was in sixth place. While overall the index has improved by just one point over...
(The Wall Street Journal 10/01/16)
Startups and global corporations alike plumb Africa for scarce software development skills A shortage of software developers in the U.S. has prompted some companies to seek talent in Africa, home to a young and increasingly-tech savvy workforce. International Business Machines Corp. has engaged young software developers in Lagos, Nigeria, to help build a data analytics business the technology giant is trying to ramp up quickly. The combination of an educated population and the proliferation of mobile technology on the continent makes Africa a good incubator of technology talent, said Leon Katsnelson, chief technology officer and director for IBM’s analytic platform emerging technologies group. IBM is building “Big Data University” to train technology professionals in its analytics tools through online training...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/30/16)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to slip to 1.6 percent this year, its lowest level in two decades, due to continuing woes in the continent's largest economies of South Africa and Nigeria, a World Bank report said Thursday. Africa has been one of the world's fastest-growing region's over the past decade, but a commodities slump has hit its oil and mineral exporters hard, bringing growth down to 3 percent in 2015. However, other countries — including Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania — have continued to record GDP growth above 6 percent, according to "Africa's Pulse," the Bank's twice-yearly analysis of economic trends. The report, which was unveiled in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan, also singled out Ivory Coast and...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/16)
In a bustling market in Abidjan, women browse through a bewildering array of intricately patterned wax-print fabrics, each of which has a unique and sometimes quirky name. "Eye of my rival" is one which has an eye-like motif, while another is known as "capable husband". Another bale of this brightly coloured fabric is labelled "jealousy". Each print has a name and comes in different colours, so you could have a "capable husband" in red, green or a white and the same for “Eye of my rival". Others have longer, more conversational names: "If you leave, so will I" or "If you divorce, I won't eat sand". Known as a "pagne", this strip of printed cotton cloth can be worn in...
(AFP (eng) 09/28/16)
Seychelles President James Michel announced Tuesday he would quit after his party lost legislative elections, ending its four-decade grip on power. The 72-year-old -- in office since 2004 -- made a surprise address on national television to say he would stand down on October 16. "After 12 years as president, the time has come to hand over the reins of power to a new leader. A new leader who will take Seychelles to the next frontier of its development," Michel announced. His successor will be the current vice president, Danny Faure, 54, who has been in the job since 2010. Faure will take the oath of office on October 16 and see out the remainder of Michel's term. The position...
(AFP (eng) 09/28/16)
When farmer Isaac Tondo fell on lean times in Liberia's long rainy season, his brother in the capital sent 8,000 Liberian dollars (US$87) to his Lonestar mobile money account, ensuring his children's school fees would still be paid. Across Africa more and more people -- from urban start-ups to hard-up villagers -- are now spending, saving and planning for the future through banking services offered by mobile phone companies. And experts believe growth and poverty reduction will follow, if certain key risks are managed. Tondo's brother used to entrust cash with contacts passing through their home village in Grand Gedeh county, but the roads are so bad they can no longer access it. "The only means of receiving money from...

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