| Africatime
Thursday 30 March 2017
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is expected to raise about $500 million for its new African investment fund, attracting less than its original goal as investor interest in the region proved weaker than anticipated, according to people familiar with the matter. The Toronto-based insurer sought to raise as much as $1 billion at $10 a share for Fairfax Africa Holdings Corp. in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a regulatory filing in December. Fairfax said it had secured as much as $416 million in commitments for the African venture from both its own funds and partners, including the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, a Canadian pension fund and CI Investments Inc., according to the...
(Xinhuanet 02/03/17)
T20 Africa Conference, the meeting for the G20 think tanks and African countries, ended on Friday in Johannesburg with a commitment to accelerate cooperation between the G20 and Africa. The three-day conference aimed to chart a course for the future cooperation between Africa and the G20. The day ended with the formulation of the communique which will be given to the current G20 chair Germany. The communique will also be the reference for further discussion between Africa and T20. T20 comprises of the G20 think tanks. Dr. Christine Hackenesch, researcher at the German Development Institute (DIE) said, "There was an agreement that there must be a continuous and sustained engagement between G20 and Africa because there is a strong dependence...
(Bloomberg 02/02/17)
Sudan has freed a British journalist it detained last month for "illegally entering" the country, the British embassy and Sudanese media said on Thursday. "We are pleased that British journalist Phil Cox has been released after being held in custody in Sudan," embassy spokesman Ishtiaq Ghafoor told AFP. "Our staff in Khartoum and London worked relentlessly to make sure his welfare was protected and his case was handled quickly and fairly." Cox was handed over to the British embassy on Wednesday. He was still in Khartoum on Thursday but plans were under way to reunite him with his family in Britain, Ghafoor said. His release came after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Minister for Africa Tobias Ellwood raised the...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/02/17)
African leaders have backed a "strategy of collective withdrawal" from the International Criminal Court (ICC), but it came with unspecified reservations, an African Union official said on Wednesday after this week's African Union summit. The official did not give details about the strategy or the reservations, but it highlights broad antipathy towards the court among Africans who feel the ICC unfairly targets them. A document seen by Reuters before the summit proposed a co-ordinated withdrawal unless the ICC was reformed. It included a call for "regionalization" of international law, a reference to proposals for an African war crimes court. Almost a third of the ICC's 124 members are African, and a withdrawal by a large number of them would cripple...
(AfricaNews 02/01/17)
Sudan is planing to end all subsidies on food and fuel by 2019 as it forecasts to earn $4 billion per year in remittances following the the lifting of U.S. sanctions, the Minister of State for Finance Magdi Hassan Yasin has said. The US announced plans to lift a 20-year-old trade embargo, unfreeze assets and remove financial sanctions during the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency, in response to Khartoum’s cooperation in fighting Islamic State and other groups. Sudan’s economy has struggled since South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country’s oil output and much of Khartoum’s foreign currency and government revenue. The country cut fuel and electricity subsidies in November and announced import restrictions to...
(Xinhuanet 02/01/17)
Newly elected senior officials of the African Union (AU) Commission, including Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, were sworn in on Tuesday at the conclusion of the 28th AU summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. In addition to the two top officials, other officials took the oath for positions including, peace and security; political affairs; trade and industry; social affairs; infrastructure and energy; and rural economy and agriculture. The 28th AU summit also elected Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea, for a rotating chairmanship of the African Union. In his acceptance speech on Monday, Conde said, "It is with honor and humility that I accept to preside at the destiny of our Organization during the year...
(Bloomberg 01/30/17)
Sudan’s criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to bar visitors from the country, two weeks after former President Barack Obama lifted decades-old sanctions on the North African nation. Trump’s executive order also comes amid increased cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence agencies to combat “transnational terrorism,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said in an interview in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he’s attending an African Union summit that began Monday. “We feel sorry that the decision was taken at a time we started cooperating and the sanctions were lifted,” Ghandour said. “We’ll wait until the period mentioned, until the executive decision passes and see what is next after that and then
(AFP (eng) 01/30/17)
With very little rain in the last weeks and none expected for two months, more than 17 million people face hunger in the Horn of Africa, the UN food agency warned Sunday. Severe drought since the failure of October-December rains is ravaging Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said in a statement. "The time to act is now,", said Maria Helena Semedo, a FAO deputy director-general. "The drought situation in the region is extremely worrying, primarily in almost all of Somalia but also across southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. "As a consequence, with the next rains at least eight weeks away and the next main harvest not until...
(Xinhuanet 01/28/17)
The African Union (AU) has been endeavoring to ensure robust, resilient and long-lasting economic transformation of Africa through promotion of infrastructure and energy development on the continent, noted Elham Mahmood Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy. Speaking at a press conference Friday ahead of the 28th AU leaders' summit here, the commissioner said the pan-African bloc has scored achievements in its flagship projects and programs on the development of energy, transport as well as in the information and communication technology (ICT) areas, which she said are the biggest priorities in Africa's infrastructure sector. In cooperation and coordination with its regional, continental, and international partners, AU has been committed to development of infrastructure on the continent, which facilitates trade, economic...
(Bloomberg 01/27/17)
Barclays Africa Group Ltd. was targeted by protesters who entered one of its branches on Thursday and demanded the bank pay back money from a bailout provided to a company it bought before the end of apartheid. Demonstrators linked to the youth league of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress gathered outside the branch in Durban on South Africa’s east coast, Johannesburg-based Barclays Africa said in an e-mailed response to questions. Police ensured customers and staff were protected during the incident, it said. The protests come after the leaking of a draft report compiled by South Africa’s graft ombudsman that said Barclays Africa, which traded as Absa then, may have unduly benefited from state support when it bought Bankorp in...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/17)
Sudanese opposition leader and ex-prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi returned to the country on Thursday more than two years after he fled abroad, his party said. Mahdi, whose civilian government was overthrown in a 1989 coup that brought President Omar al-Bashir to power, flew in to Khartoum, said his daughter Mariam al-Mahdi, deputy head of the Umma party. She said that authorities prevented several supporters from entering the airport to welcome Mahdi. A fixture of Sudanese politics since the 1960s, Mahdi was prime minister from 1966 to 1967 and again from 1986 to 1989. He left Sudan in August 2014, a few weeks after being released following a month in custody on treason-related charges that could have seen him face the...
(Xinhuanet 01/26/17)
Adopting African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) has been named a major task for the African Union (AU) this year as the 30th session of its Executive Council opened on Wednesday. In her remarks at the opening of the meeting, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, called for member countries' commitment to meeting the first target in Agenda 2063 of commencing the CFTA by end of 2017. She underlines the need "to do what needs to be done on the free movement of persons, so that we unlock opportunities for intra-African trade, studies, business and tourism." In her remarks at the opening of the 33rd session of the AU Permanent Representatives Committee on Sunday, Dlamini-Zuma said the AU's major...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/17)
The family of a Sudanese human rights activist detained more than a month ago said Wednesday they were worried about his health and had repeatedly been denied visitation rights. Security forces arrested Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, a 58-year-old university professor, in December. "Since his arrest 50 days ago, we have made five requests to the security services to visit him. They have all gone unanswered," his wife Sabah Mohamed Adam said. "We've learnt that he has been on hunger strike since last Sunday and we are worried about his health," she.
(Sudan Tribune 01/25/17)
Sudan and South Sudan’s relationship is of vital importance to resolving conflicts in both countries. Khartoum, and other countries in the region, clearly benefit from a stable South Sudan. Once-fraught relations between the two countries have improved in recent years, helped by substantive discussions over shared interests, including oil exports, support for armed groups, and border security. Khartoum should now use its influence in Juba to seek better regional cooperation and a peaceful resolution of internal and cross-border conflicts. A more sophisticated Sudanese approach that ensures southern armed groups are part of a more inclusive, and thereby stable, government in Juba, is in Khartoum’s own best interests. A constructive Khartoum-Juba relationship is likely to be significant, for instance, in the...
(Bloomberg 01/25/17)
Taiwan’s last two African allies have no plans to switch allegiances and break ties with Taipei as Beijing tries to woo the self-ruled island’s diplomatic partners. Burkina Faso won’t cut relations with Taiwan despite people and companies with links to China offering funding in return for recognition of the One-China principle, according to Foreign Minister Alpha Barry. Swaziland said its relationship with Taiwan is based on mutual interests, not on money. “We get outrageous proposals telling us, ‘if you sign with Beijing we’ll offer you $50 billion or even more,’’’ Barry said in an interview in the capital, Ouagadougou, this month. “Taiwan is our friend and our partner. We’re happy and we see no reason to reconsider the relationship.” Competition...
(Cnbc Africa 01/24/17)
While Brexit and the U.S. election dominated headlines in 2016, the African continent witnessed major changes of its own. Its two largest economies were destabilized, with Nigeria being driven into recession and the South African political elite grappling for power. Conflict continued to make news, with the continuation of people trafficking across the Mediterranean and violence in South Sudan bubbling over. Macroeconomic concerns Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa fell to 1.5 percent in 2016 according to the World Bank, which deemed this "the weakest pace in over two decades." The slowdown was chiefly blamed on low commodity prices. But, the organization forecasts growth of 2.9 percent in the region for 2017. Africa's two biggest economies have a lot to account for...
(Voice of America 01/20/17)
By most measures, Africa is safer today than it has been in the modern era: Diseases are less deadly and wars are less frequent. But recent years have also been marked by a rise in radical extremism on the continent, and the terror threat could derail some of the world's fastest-growing economies. Dealing with the spread of radicalization has been a central focus of U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy during his time in office. Few areas have been spared over the past eight years, with much of the continent living in the shadow of a violent extremist group: al-Shabab in Somalia and East Africa, Islamic State (IS) in Libya, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, the Lord's...
(Xinhuanet 01/18/17)
The Sudanese government reiterated Wednesday that the rapprochement between Sudan and the United States after Khartoum's sanctions are partly eased would not be at the expense of any other country. "We deal with each country according to our interests and our relations with any country will not be at the expense of another country," said Kamal Ismail, Sudan's State Minister for Foreign Affairs, at a press conference in Khartoum Wednesday. "We do not know sales under the table, so if we make rapprochement with America after lifting the sanctions from us, that will not be at the expense of our friends who stood with us and supported us," he noted. Yassir Khidir, Sudan's information ministry under-secretary, echoed Ismail's arguments. "What...
(Xinhuanet 01/18/17)
Rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector on Tuesday claimed it repulsed an attack by Sudanese army in Blue Nile State. "Forces of the SPLM/northern sector in Blue Nile repulsed an attack by the government forces against an external point at Al-Rum area in the state," Arno Taloudy, the spokesman of the SPLM/northern sector, said in a statement. He explained that one of the movement's soldiers was injured during the attack, without giving any statistics about loss among the government forces. "The attack came few hours after the government declared extension of cease-fire for six months," he said. In March 2016, Sudan's Council of Ministers decided to extend the cease-fire for six more months at all conflict zones in Sudan...
(Xinhuanet 01/18/17)
The Chinese government's decision to terminate ivory processing and trade by the end of 2017 marked a critical milestone in the journey toward eliminating poaching and other threats to Africa's elephant species, a conservationist group said on Wednesday. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) hailed China for taking bold measures to revitalize global efforts to save African elephants whose numbers had declined this decade due to poaching and climatic stresses. "The recent announcement by the central government of China to ban all domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017 offers a glimmer of real optimism in the fight against elephant poaching," Sebunya said in a statement issued in Nairobi The Chinese authority in December 2016 announced the...

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