Sunday 25 June 2017
(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...
(Bloomberg 04/19/17)
A court in South Africa Wednesday dropped the case against two students who freed a penguin from a marine park and released it into the sea as protest against animal captivity. Adrian Donian, 22, and Emile du Plessis, 24, were arrested in September 2016, after they broke into Bayworld oceanarium in Port Elizabeth and snatched "Buddy", an endangered African black-footed penguin. The magistrate said he had dropped the case because the prosecuting authority had taken too long to decide whether to prosecute the two or not. Their lawyer, Craig de Lange, had argued that the two be placed in a "rehabilitation programme because they are students and not hardcore criminals". The animal was wrapped in a shirt and bundled in...
(AFP (eng) 04/19/17)
South Sudanese former rebels on Tuesday released 16 UN staff after holding them hostage for several hours in a camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN official said. About 530 former rebels from South Sudan are living in the Munigi camp, just outside of Goma, where they fled when fighting flared in the South Sudanese capital of Juba in July. "We are pleased to confirm that all 16 MONUSCO staff, who were earlier being held in a camp for former combatants in Munigi, have been released," said a UN official. The 16 staff worked for the UN mission, known as MONUSCO, but there were no details about their nationalities. "The camp is quiet and under full control of...
(Voice of America 04/19/17)
A top U.S. politician visiting South Sudan says he will urge colleagues to maintain assistance to the country despite severe cuts in foreign aid proposed by the Trump administration. Senator Christopher Coons (D-Delaware), who is in rebel-controlled Ganyiel of former Unity State this week, said he was shocked to learn that the town's entire population depends on humanitarian agencies for food. The senator noted there are no roads going into and out of Ganyiel, so all equipment and relief aid must be delivered by air, which is extremely expensive. “We will have to make stronger arguments for why particular U.N. missions and particular countries should remain a priority," Coons told VOA's South Sudan in Focus on Monday. "South Sudan currently...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/19/17)
A hundred unarmed South Sudanese refugees in east Congo took 13 United Nations mission staff hostage on Tuesday, demanding to be moved to a third country before later releasing them unharmed. They were among 530 people who have been living in the Munigi base, outside Goma, since fleeing South Sudan last August, U.N. Goma bureau head Daniel Ruiz told Reuters. Most are former fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar, who have clashed with President Salva Kiir's forces since July 2016. "The camp is quiet and under full control of MONUSCO (the peacekeeping mission)," U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman Ismini Palla said at the United Nations. "All staff have returned safely to their homes. No casualties have been reported. The mission...
(Xinhuanet 04/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will convene Wedesday the first UN-AU Annual Conference. The two leaders will look into how to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations to face common challenges and opportunities in the continent, on issues of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, said Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, at a daily briefing. "They will also sign the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security," said Dujarric. It will be the first conference Mahamat will address with the United Nation since he was elected as chairperson of the African Union Commission. Although he had brief talks with Guterres in Addis...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/18/17)
Japan on Monday started withdrawing its troops from a U.N. mission in war battered South Sudan, according to an official, a move coinciding with escalating violence in a conflict where killings have been described as genocide. The 350-strong Japanese military contingent, which has been based in South Sudan's capital Juba for the past five years, has been mostly helping with infrastructure construction. "The first group is leaving today," Daniel Dickinson, spokesman for the U.N. peace keeping mission called UNMISS, told Reuters moments before the troops were due to board their flight at Juba International Airport.
(AFP (eng) 04/18/17)
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday forecast 2.6 percent growth in sub-Saharan Africa this year, aided by a modest recovery in large economies South Africa, Nigeria and Angola. "Growth is projected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2017 and 3.5 percent in 2018, largely driven by specific factors in the largest economies, which faced challenging macroeconomic conditions in 2016," the IMF said its latest World Economic Outlook report. A slump in commodity price in 2016 and devastating drought had affected growth in several countries in the region, resulting in 1.4 percent growth of gross domestic product (GDP). Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation and a leading oil producer, was expected to return to growth in 2017 after a challenging 2016...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that all the information people give them before they start their journey are wrong," said Nantcha. The group’s leader Sylvie Nantcha was born in Cameroon. She has lived in the German town of Freiburg for 25 years. She arrived as a...
(AFP (eng) 04/15/17)
A surge of fighting in eastern South Sudan has forced 60 aid workers to flee, the UN humanitarian agency said Saturday, hurting efforts to help civilians in the famine-hit nation. An increase in violence nationwide has seen thousands flee in the past two weeks, including more than 16,000 from the second-largest city of Wau -- above 10 percent of its population. The UN humanitarian agency OCHA warned that helping the needy was growing ever more dangerous after three people involved in delivering food aid were brutally killed in Wau this week. "There are no words left to explain the level of frustration and outrage I feel regarding the continued attacks against humanitarians in South Sudan who are simply trying to...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Targeted killings of specific ethnic groups in South Sudan's civil war amount to "genocide", according to Britain's International Development Minister Priti Patel. "It's tribal, it's absolutely tribal, so on that basis it's genocide," Patel told reporters in Uganda on Wednesday, according to a ministry press officer travelling with her. Patel was returning from a visit to South Sudan where people have "experienced trauma and horror none of us can comprehend", she told AFP in a separate interview. Civil war erupted in South Sudan in 2013 after a power struggle between President Salva Kiir -- who is ethnic Dinka -- and his former deputy Riek Machar from the Nuer community. The Dinka and Nuer are the two largest ethnic groups in...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/13/17)
The killings and other atrocities going on South Sudan amount to a genocide and African leaders need to "step up" and not just rely on others for a response, Britain's secretary for international development, Priti Patel, said late on Wednesday. After a visit to Africa's youngest nation, Patel also told journalists in neighboring Uganda that President Salva Kiir's government was blocking access to aid. "There are massacres taking place, people's throats are being slit ... villages are being burnt out, there's a scorched-earth policy," she said. "It is tribal, it is absolutely tribal, so on that basis it is genocide." South Sudan has been convulsed by mass violence since July when fighting broke out in the capital Juba, and then...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(AFP (eng) 04/08/17)
South Africa on Friday denied flouting international law in 2015 by failing to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for trial by war crimes judges on charges of genocide in Darfur. At an unprecedented hearing at the International Criminal Court, Pretoria disputed accusations it had broken its obligations to the very tribunal it helped found. There "was no duty under international law on South Africa to arrest the serving head of a non-state party such as Mr Omar al-Bashir," Pretoria's legal advisor Dire Tladi argued. Despite two international arrest warrants issued in 2009 and 2010, Bashir remains at large and in office amid the raging conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. He has denied the...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes - it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, said the head of one of the continent's biggest solar companies. Azuri Technologies' entry level solar system - for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis - provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri. "This...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/06/17)
Hundreds of South Sudanese refugees fled into Uganda for a second day on Wednesday, bearing further grim testimony of an attack by government forces on the border town of Pajok in which at least 17 people were killed, according to a Reuters tally. Some were shot as they tried to flee. Others had their throats slit before their bodies were strung up from door frames. Two children were run down by a car. The testimony from the refugees, more than 3,000 of whom have gathered just inside the Ugandan border, offers a glimpse of the brutality of a three-year civil war ripping apart the world’s youngest nation. The government denies its Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces target civilians and...
(Radio Tamazuj 04/05/17)
South Sudan’s oil production has significantly dropped in recent months due to lack of new investment in the oil sector, according to a government official. Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said in a press conference in Juba on Monday that the production has gone down from 160,000 barrels per day to 130,000 barrels. He also attributed the drop to the ongoing fighting in oil producing areas, besides the drop of oil prices in the international market. Dhieu, who is a former finance minister, revealed that the oil production in Unity State has gone down due to insecurity that forced oil companies to stop their work indefinitely. However, Dhieu assured that the government is working to stabilize the oil producing areas...
(Radio Tamazuj 04/05/17)
The salaries for South Sudan’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), have not been paid for at least two months, Radio Tamazuj has learned. SPLA troops have been fighting against opposition groups since 2013. For his part, the SPLA deputy military spokesman, Santo Domic confirmed that the government forces have gone unpaid since February, while attributing the problem to the current economic crisis and budget deficit. “This is problem is not for the SPLA only, it is actually a general problem, because since the start of the rebellion our economy has started deteriorating,” said Domic. The budget presented to the national parliament by the finance minister in October last year showed more than half of the budget allocated to...
(NPR 04/05/17)
As soon as you set foot in any of the refugee camps along the South Sudan border in Uganda, a vast human suffering becomes easily apparent. We explored some of the personal stories of people fleeing this young country's conflict in a story over at Goats and Soda, but it's hard to express the scale of this conflict, which has killed more than 50,000 people since the end of 2013. What began as a dispute between the president and vice president has turned into a brutal civil war fueled by ethnic tensions. The U.N. has been using alarming superlatives to describe it. It has said sexual violence in the conflict has reached "epic proportions," that the humanitarian needs have reached...

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