| Africatime
Sunday 26 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 01/18/17)
Plans to deploy a UN regional force in South Sudan are bogged down in delays over visas, the allocation of land for bases and a dispute over protecting Juba airport, according to a confidential report obtained by AFP on Tuesday. The Security Council decided six months ago to deploy the 4,000-strong protection force in Juba to bolster the UN peacekeeping mission that failed to protect civilians during heavy fighting in the capital in July. In a report to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said recent statements from South Sudanese officials "shed doubt" on the government's "actual willingness to actively cooperate with the deployment and operationalization of the force."
(Xinhuanet 01/18/17)
South Sudan's key donors on Wednesday urged officials in Juba to retract what they termed as reckless statements on regime change attributed to senior official. "Britain, Norway and the United States wish to express their shock at the unfounded allegations made on Jan. 13 by an SPLA spokesman against the Troika (peace guarantors)," they said in a joint statement. "There has never been, nor is there now, any question of our governments seeking to undermine those leading the country," it said. This came after the South Sudan army (SPLA) Acting spokesman Col Santo Domic Chol issued a statement allegedly accusing the three countries of plotting regime change with rebel officials. "On Jan. 3, international and indigenous anti-peace elements composed of...
(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...
(The Associated Press 01/17/17)
South Sudanese government and opposition soldiers "blatantly ignored" international law during clashes in July that killed hundreds of people, according to a United Nations human rights investigation. The South Sudanese military swarmed throughout the capital with house-to-house searches and used language tests to identify civilians from different tribes, at times executing them on the spot, said the investigation by the U.N. Human Rights Office and the U.N. mission in South Sudan. The report detailed how government soldiers targeted civilians sheltering in U.N. displacement camps, describing one case in which soldiers
(New Vision 01/17/17)
“I can tell you that rats destroy up to 60% of health equipment in Africa,” Ssali said. Ssali sought to highlight the dangers that exist when biomedical engineers are not consulted in the management of health equipment including x-rays and CT scans. For instance, he narrated, cables of a CT scan installed at one unnamed facility were eaten up by rats, costing the institution over $5,000 to replace. Biomedical engineers are professionals who maintain and repair machines for diagnosing medical problems. They design medical equipment and devices, artificial internal organs or synthetic body parts. In Africa, the profession is relatively new-just about 10 years old in Uganda, it has been in existence in the developed world for nearly half a...
(The Associated Press 01/16/17)
South Sudan's government is claiming that the U.N. Security Council mandate to send a new contingent of 4,000 peacekeepers to boost the existing force has expired. Minister of Information Michael Makuei told the Associated Press that Dec. 15th was the expiration date for the deployment of peacekeepers to bolster the existing 12,000 U.N. troops in South Sudan. He said a new resolution is needed for the additional troops. The U.N. mission in South Sudan responded in a statement saying that its mandate to increase the protection force had been extended by the Security Council until December 2017. The U.N. Security Council decided in August to send additional peacekeepers after clashes killed hundreds in South Sudan's capital Juba. South Sudan initially...
(RFI 01/14/17)
The 27th Africa-France Summit kicked off on Friday in the Malian capital Bamako with more than 30 African heads of state meeting French officials to discuss the threat of jihadists in the Sahel region and improve democracy in Africa. the meeting is also an opportunity for French president François Hollande to showcase his legacy. The choice to hold the 27th Africa-France summit in Mali is not insignificant. Bamako is where president François Hollande first revealed himself as an international statesman, when France's military launched Operation Serval in January 2013 as jihadists allied to Tuareg rebels took control of the north of the country. "I took the necessary steps and we intervened militarily, and what we did there in terms of...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
France's top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault struck a defiant tone at a summit on Friday with foreign ministers from across Africa as he urged them to show confidence and hope despite the deadly jihadist threat. With the battle against extremists, the struggle to improve governance and the migrant crisis high on the agenda, ministers from at least 30 nations met in Mali's capital Bamako ahead of heads of state due on Saturday. Mali called on France four years ago to help force jihadists out of key northern cities. To this day, 4,000 French troops remain in the country and across the Sahel region. "(Choosing) Bamako as the venue is an act of confidence after the intervention," Ayrault told journalists as the...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
Talks gathering some 30 African states and France begin in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday, with leaders expected to focus on Africa's battle against jihadists and bid to improve its democratic record. The summit, also due to take in the migrant crisis, will see foreign ministers gather first, with heads of state expected to follow Saturday, according to Malian and French conference organisers. Many of the nations taking part were once ruled by France, which in recent years has boosted its military involvement in the continent. Several English-speaking African countries will also be present. In a bid to help crush the growing jihadist threat, France has trained more than 20,000 African soldiers every year since a Paris summit in 2013,...
(Bloomberg 01/11/17)
Clashes between South Sudan’s army and rebels left at least 80 people dead over the past five days, both sides said, as civil war in the oil-rich country rages for a fourth year. Fighters battled near the capital of the country’s southern Yei state on Monday with 41 rebels killed, deputy army spokesman Santo Domic said by phone. A spokesman for the insurgents, William Gatjiath Deng, claimed victory and said the more than 40 casualties were all government soldiers. Both sides also said more than 40 of their opponents died during Jan. 5 fighting in Nasir town, in South Sudan’s northeast. There was no independent confirmation of the violence. The conflict in South Sudan has claimed tens of thousands of...
(Huffingtonpost 01/10/17)
And it’s ironic given the growing consensus that Beijing is the U.S. president-elect’s enemy number one. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden are the duo behind the China Africa Project and hosts of the popular China in Africa Podcast. We’re here to answer your most pressing, puzzling, even politically incorrect questions, about all things related to the Chinese in Africa and Africans in China. The election of Donald Trump has introduced a new era of uncertainty in global politics, especially in Africa where the president-elect has said little about his foreign policy agenda for the continent. Not surprisingly, Trump’s unpredictable, provocative style is sparking widespread concern across the continent as to whether the United States plans to remain engaged in...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results in brackets with W denoting a win, D a draw and L a loss): FAVOURITES Egypt (WWW) Back among the elite and in good form. After winning three consecutive Cup of Nations titles, they failed to qualify for the past...
(Agence Ecofin 01/06/17)
Indian firm Aaviskaar Venture Management Services (AVMS) has announced plans to raise between $100 million and $150 million for Africa investments. “We will start the fund-raising around the middle of 2017 and we expect to close it in 2018,” said Vineet Rai, founder of Intellecap-Aavishkaar group. The new African fund will focus on investing on African low-income groups, especially in the agriculture, finance and financial technology sectors. “We will use the sow-tend-reap strategy of multiple round investing and will be an early investor,” Rai told local Indian media Regions targeted are West and East Africa, especially Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana. Investments will range from half a million to $5 million. The investment firm’s expansion strategy in Africa...
(The Guardian 01/04/17)
Amid civil conflict, a bookshop in a camp for displaced people offers a source of education and a welcome distraction from the harsh realities of daily life. Juma’a Ali glances fondly at the ceiling-high stacks of titles in his makeshift bookshop, a collection that ranges from Virginia Woolf to Canadian Tax Law (1995 edition). Just over three years ago, carrying as many books as he could bring, he sought refuge in war-torn South Sudan following the persecution that he says he experienced as a Christian, across the border in Sudan’s Nuba mountains. The books were gathered along the way in Sudan and South Sudan. Most are second-hand copies from libraries in South Sudan and donations from abroad. He wasn’t a...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
Italy vowed Wednesday to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests have been rejected, after a riot in a reception centre sparked by the death of a young woman. The country, which has been on the frontline of migrants arriving across the Mediterranean from North Africa, is pushing for an agreement with Niger and a renewed deal with Tunisia to facilitate returns. "We have saved many lives but we cannot accept rule-breaking. We need to speed up deportations," Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the country's former interior minister, said in an interview with La Stampa daily. He was "working to tie up agreements which will reduce arrivals and prevent departures" from the coast of North Africa, he said after a record...
(BBC News Africa 01/03/17)
An electricity grid for the whole village Problem: A total of 1.3 billion people worldwide currently don't have electricity, according to Yale Environment 360. Getting people in rural areas on to the national grid is proving too difficult and traditional solar panels generate meagre amounts of energy. Solution: Steamaco makes solar and battery micro-grids which can work for a whole village. They are small electricity generation and distribution systems that operate independently of larger grids. How it works: Micro-grids are nothing new. The new part is that Steamaco's technology automates the regulation of electricity. So, if the system detects there will be a surge in demand for electricity, for example on a Saturday night when people want to start playing...
(Voice of America 12/30/16)
2016 was predicted to be a tough year for African economies, and it delivered. Traditional economic leaders faltered this year amid a storm of falling commodity prices, unpredictable and destructive weather like droughts and floods across large swaths of the the continent. Slow economic growth in China, a major investor and trading partner, only added to their challenges. “This year, you’ve seen the two Africas: the commodity exporters going through tough times, while the non-commodity exporters being more resilient,” Nigerian economist Nonso Obikili, who researches Nigerian and sub-Saharan economic trends for Economic Research Southern Africa, told VOA. He says 2016 has been hard on African commodity giants as oil prices fell to lows not seen since the global financial crisis...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...

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