Tuesday 19 September 2017
(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...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/12/17)
Sierra Leone's government said Thursday it would seek higher offers in Belgium for a massive 709-carat diamond found by an Evangelical preacher after underwhelming offers at auction at home. A Thursday auction in Freetown drew a top bid for the uncut gem -- which has a reddish stain that has so far resisted efforts to clean it -- of $7.77 million dollars, an AFP correspondent reported. The prospect of bids not passing muster with the authorities had already previously seen bidding extended once to May 10 at the central bank, where the gem was placed for safe keeping. Emmanuel Momoh, a 39-year-old pastor who is also one of hundreds of so-called artisanal miners in Kono, Sierra Leone's key mining district,...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/12/17)
A much anticipated auction for one of the world's largest diamonds fizzled on Thursday when the government of Sierra Leone rejected a $7.8 million bid for the rough, egg-sized stone, saying it failed to meet its own valuation. The 709-carat gem is the second largest ever discovered in the West African country and was unearthed in March in the eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government to handle the sale. Five bids were handed to auctioneers in a sealed brown envelope, ranging from $2 million to $7.8 million. The top bid was made by a man in a white shirt and light trousers on behalf of Belgium diamond dealer Ray Diam BVBA. "We've decided...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(APA 05/08/17)
The umbrella body of sorghum farmers in Sierra Leone has vowed to challenge the amended Finance Act, which reopened the door for competition between imported alcoholic brews and the local ones, APA can report. The Finance Act 2017, which was passed in parliament last month, amended the Finance Act 2016 which levied heavy taxes on imported brews. That law paved the way for the Sierra Leone Brewery to increase its production, thereby empowering many local farmers from whom it sources its raw materials. However, the Ministry of Finance has said the 2016 law turned out to adversely affect businesses which sell imported brews, and consequently the government’s revenue.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/06/17)
A dispute over a bridge in eastern Sierra Leone thought to span diamond deposits has divided a local community with a foreign mining company accused of illegally mining the area after volunteering to rebuild the overpass. The Congo Bridge in Koidu, the capital of Kono District, was deemed by local authorities to be in danger of collapsing after years of illegal small-scale mining around the base. With backing from the government, structural repairs started in mid-2016 by Israeli owned Pluto Mining Company but this prompted fears of large-scale mining as excavators removed raw materials from under the road, river banks and nearby wetlands. A coalition of Kono activists joined Sierra Leone's Environmental Protection Authority and National Minerals Agency to condemn...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/04/17)
West African countries have detained seven Chinese ships for fishing illegally and the boats' owners could be subject to millions of dollars in fines, environmental group Greenpeace and government officials said. Inspectors from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau boarded the ships off their coasts that they found to be violating regulations on catching protected fish and using nets with small holes to facilitate bigger hauls. The arrests came after a two-month regional patrol on a Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, that carried inspectors from the West African countries in a bid to supplement national efforts often hamstrung by budget and technology constraints. "This is a surprisingly high amount of arrests, especially considering that the vessels knew about our patrols in advance,"...
(Xinhuanet 05/04/17)
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 released in Durban Thursday called for urgent policy reforms if the continent intends to create more jobs for its growing young population. According to the report issued at the 27th WEF on Africa, fewer than one-quarter of the 450 million new jobs required in the next 20 years will be created if current policies remain unchanged. The report called for structural reforms in the economies to create more jobs for the youth entering the market. African countries have to prioritize improving infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology and quality of institutions. To improve competitiveness in the short term Africa needs to increase housing construction through investment, better urban planning and...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(Bloomberg 05/02/17)
Saudi Aramco is seeking to boost its fuel-trading volume by more than a third as the world’s biggest crude exporter expands its capacity to refine oil to grab a bigger share of growing markets in Asia and Africa. Aramco, as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is known, is building refineries in the kingdom and in Asia to help it increase sales and purchases of gasoline, diesel and other products to more than 2 million barrels a day, said Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco’s trading unit, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co. Owning refineries gives the unit, known as Aramco Trading Co., options for buying and selling fuel that some of its competitors don’t have. “The key is that you...
(Xinhuanet 04/28/17)
President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone said Thursday he will be leaving office next year and "graciously hand over" to his succesor. In his last state-of-the-nation address, delivered on the country's 56th independence anniversary, Koroma said he was leaving a "legacy of peace and unity" that all Sierra Leoneans should be committed to defend. A presidential election has been scheduled for March 2018. Koroma commended the country for its resilience, noting that over the years, he has observed that his countrymen have learnt to overcome the challenges of war, disease and division. He said that during his last 10 years of service, he is proud of what the country has achieved, adding that Sierra Leone has experienced an uninterrupted...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating PPH. The London School...
(Xinhuanet 04/27/17)
The West African bloc is seeking to strengthen the role of the private sector in health service delivery in the sub-region as financing sources become increasingly difficult, Dr. Xavier Crespin, Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), disclosed here on Monday. He explained that, for the sub-region to be able to attain its health targets, both public and private sector support would be critical in financing the health delivery needs of the countries. Dr. Crespin emphasized this during the opening of a day’s sub-regional meeting for both public and private sectors organized by WAHO here to develop a strategic framework for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in the health sector. “We cannot really continue to do ‘Business as Usual’. It...
(Business Day Ghana 04/27/17)
There are currently 960 million mobile subscriptions across Africa – an 80 percent penetration rate among the continent’s population. Internet penetration is at 18 percent with 216 million internet users, according to the latest Jumia mobile trend report for Africa. The 2017 edition of the African Mobile Trends Paper is the third white paper presentation from Jumia delving into mobile trends across Africa and specifically Nigeria. The study takes a look at the how the market has democratised mobile internet use, the consumer behaviours driving increased smartphone adoption and the role of mobile brands, mobile operators and m-commerce in creating a synergy of an enhanced customer experience. This year’s Mobile Africa Study was carried out in 15 African countries which...
(Xinhuanet 04/26/17)
The Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative is a golden opportunity to bring about regional integration and sustainable economic growth for Africa, said Berhane Gebre-Christos, special envoy of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, on Tuesday. The special envoy made the remarks at the opening of a seminar organized on the B&R Initiative in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Welcoming the initiative, the special envoy said he is looking forward to the expected effects of the initiative. "The B&R is a project that will affect millions of people, and it will be one of the most important issues of the 21st century," he said, adding that the comprehensive approach of China means that the aspirations and development strategies of all countries involved will be...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa. The vaccine should be used alongside other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, repellants and anti-malarial drugs, the WHO...
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
WorldRemit Ltd., a British money-transfer operator, sees revenue from transactions involving Africans doubling by 2020 as more people on the continent access mobile-payment platforms and expatriates send cash home. The seven-year-old company, in which Facebook Inc.-backer Accel Partners LP invested $40 million in 2014, will this year open a regional office in South Africa, its largest market on the continent in terms of money-transfer value, founder and Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed said in an interview. Another site will start operating in Kenya, where the London-based business sees Africa’s highest number of individual transactions. “In the next two years we should be doubling our volume every year,” Ahmed said in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The continent accounted for half the company’s...

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