Thursday 17 August 2017
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all,...
(Bloomberg 08/11/17)
U.S. forces conducted two strikes on al-Qaeda-linked fighters in southern Somalia that the Horn of Africa nation’s government said killed a senior militant. The attacks took place Thursday near the Benadir region, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement, without giving further details. Somalia’s government said President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed authorized a “coordinated operation with international partners.” The man killed was a “high-level” leader of the al-Shabaab militant group responsible for bombings and assassinations in the capital, Mogadishu, the Information Ministry said in an emailed statement. The U.S., which already supported Somalia’s battle against al-Shabaab with drone strikes
(Voice of America 08/09/17)
When dozens of American soldiers deployed to Mogadishu back in April, their presence marked the first American military forces in Somalia, except for a small unit of counterterrorism advisers, since March 1994. VOA broke the story of their arrival, and now, VOA has learned more about their train-and-equip mission in Mogadishu. Soldiers sent to Somalia with the 101st Airborne are primarily training truck drivers for the Somali military, Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington, the commander of U.S. Army Africa, told VOA...
(Voice of America 08/02/17)
Being a journalist in Somalia carries both risk and reward. The risk comes from al-Shabab militants and other armed groups who have killed at least 26 reporters in the last five years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The reward is having a job with one of the many independent media outlets that have sprung up despite chronic violence and the absence of any journalism schools in Somalia. Somalia's National University is trying to fill the education void by...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands...
(The Guardian 07/28/17)
Fears of widespread famine as people in extremist-controlled areas are threatened with death if they contact aid agencies. Islamist militants in Somalia have imposed a ban on humanitarian assistance in areas they control, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to choose between death from starvation and disease or brutal punishment. In some towns, hungry and weak people have been ordered by extremist leaders to remain where they are to act as human shields against US airstrikes. Somalia is suffering its...
(Voice of America 07/27/17)
Somalia is suffering from a renewed displacement crisis as people flee drought and conflict, particularly in the country’s southern region. Gerard Waite, chief of mission for the International Organization for Migration Somalia, told VOA that about 800,000 people have fled their homes in response to the drought over the past seven months. That is in addition to the 1.1 million people who were previously displaced in the country. “We have a displacement crisis on top of a drought crisis,” Waite...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30...
(Voice of America 07/18/17)
Somalia has internet service again, after a 23-day outage that cost the country's fledgling economy tens of millions of dollars. Abdi Anshur, Somalia's minister for posts and telecommunications, told reporters in Mogadishu Monday that the internet link which went down on June 24 has been fixed. “Following efforts by Somali government and the company that provided the service, we have succeeded to restore the connection,” said the minister. The connection was cut when a ship severed an undersea fiber optic cable connecting Somalia to global data networks.
(Voice of America 07/15/17)
Five countries in East Africa face dire food insecurity after a third poor rainy season in a row, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday. Areas in five countries - Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda - received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall. "The current phenomenon encompasses an area of about 1 million square kilometers, which is roughly twice the size of France," FAO economist Alessandro Costantino told VOA's Africa division. The extended drought along with a pest called an armyworm has drastically reduced crop yields, leaving millions in East Africa without
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
African and Arab election experts are in Kenya this week meeting with Somalia's electoral commission to help the country prepare to move to “one person, one vote” elections in 2020. The year 2004 marked the beginning of the end to more than two decades of civil war and anarchy in Somalia. Members of Somalia's interim parliament gathered in Nairobi to vote for a new president. They met in Kenya because Mogadishu was still too dangerous. Somalia has since held three polls. But regular Somalis are yet to cast any ballots. The country has relied on a clan-based formula in which the lawmakers were selected
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
Severe food crises are growing in Kenya and Somalia, as the Horn of Africa continues to receive below-normal rainfall, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. The hunger-tracking group says 2.9 million people in Kenya and 3.2 million in Somalia are experiencing Phase 3 or higher on the network's five-tier warning scale, with Phase 3 being the crisis stage and Phase 5 being a full-fledged famine. The numbers represent a jump of 800,000 in Kenya and 300,000 in Somalia...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from...
(Voice of America 07/10/17)
Voice of America's Somali service hosted a town hall Saturday in Minnesota, home to a large Somali-American population, to discuss a recent outbreak of measles in the state, and address rumors in the community surrounding childhood vaccines and autism. The northern U.S. state of Minnesota is struggling with the biggest outbreak of measles in the state since 1990. Seventy-eight people caught the disease, mostly Somali-Americans, and nearly a third were hospitalized. The panel, gathered to address concerns of parents, consisted...
(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,...
(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...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/01/17)
Authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region on Friday executed seven people it said were Islamist militants who plotted to carry out attacks, including bombings. Awil Ahmed Farah, chairperson of the region's military court, said the accused were members of the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group fighting to overthrow the government in Mogadishu. "The court executed seven fighters. They were shot dead today," he told reporters in the port city of Bosasso. "Five of the militants were caught as they...

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