Wednesday 18 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Sierra Leone said Tuesday it plans to auction off a massive 709-carat diamond at a December sale in New York, aiming to make a clean break with the "blood diamonds" of its past. The stone, which was unearthed in March, is the largest discovered in Sierra Leone in almost a half-century and is between the 10th and 15th largest ever found worldwide, experts say. Sierra Leone authorities told reporters that the massive gem will go up for sale on December 4 at Rapaport Auctions, which specialises in the diamond trade. The government has pledged to be transparent in the stone's sale, mindful of the history of cross-border diamond trafficking that fuelled Sierra Leone's civil war...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
Sierra Leone's two main parties have named their candidates for key presidential election next March, a benchmark of the country's stability since the end of civil war in 2002. President Ernest Bai Koroma named Foreign Minister Samura Kamara and the deputy speaker of parliament, Chernor Maju Bah, as the All People's Congress (APC) candidates for the presidency and vice presidency. The decisions were made late Sunday at an APC congress in Makeni, Koroma's home town, located in central Sierra Leone...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone) - Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has named his Foreign Minister Dr Samura Mathew Kamara as presidential candidate in next year’s general elections. Kamara was announced at the All People’s Congress (APC) convention in the northern town of Makeni on Sunday. His running mate is Cherno Maju Bah, current speaker of Parliament. Over 20 people were contesting the party’s ticket, including current Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh and Attorney General and Minister of Justice Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara. Samura Kamara was hardly considered a serious contender among the lots in a race...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone) - The former junta leader, Brigadier Julius Maada Bio (rtd), has been named as the candidate for the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in next year’s presidential elections. Bio defeated four other candidates in a hotly contested poll during the party’s convention that ended on Sunday night. With 475 votes, Bio beat his closest challenger, John Oponjo Benjamin, who garnered 116 votes. Sierra Leone is scheduled to go to the polls on March 7, 2018...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/12/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - West Africa is most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said on Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives. A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses - Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo - spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic. The world’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak ravaged Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria...
(APA 10/09/17)
APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone) - The Sierra Leone government must consider increasing its budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector if the country is to meet its food self-sufficiency dream, a senior official has said. Mr Mohammed Tejan Kella, Project Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, said Sunday an annual allocation of at least $300 million to the sector will be needed if the country should attain food security. This amount, according to him, will translate to 10 percent of the national budget. Agriculture is largely described as the mainstay of Sierra Leone’s economy, with about 70 percent...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone) - A fiery Nigerian pastor who provoked religious sensibilities in Sierra Leone last week with a controversial sermon attacking Islam has been released on bail, Wednesday. Rev. Victor Ajisafe walked out of detention after surrendering all his legal papers, including passport, the Sierra Leone police said in a statement. Mr. Ajisaf was detained after audio and video of his sermon in which he mocked Islam and accused Muslims of terrorism surfaced on social media. The Nigerian born pastor who is married to a Sierra Leonean also in the sermon said the Islamic religion had no history in the country.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the...
(AFP (eng) 09/22/17)
Sierra Leone's anti-graft agency indicted the country's football federation president Isha Johansen and secretary general Chris Kamara on six counts of abuse of office and corruption on Thursday, following a year of investigations. The indictment was issued in Freetown by Anti-Corruption Commission chief Ade Macauley, who said he had "sufficient evidence" of the alleged misuse of donor and government funds by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA). The SLFA has been rocked by crisis after crisis linked to match fixing allegations, corruption and poor leadership through Johansen's tenure. Both Johansen and Kamara are expected to appear in court on October 30, and have previously denied any wrongdoing.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year. Global health experts hope the deal will help address two looming problems in the HIV epidemic - the rising threat of resistance developing to standard AIDS drugs, and the need for more investment in manufacturing capacity. Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will...

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