Thursday 23 November 2017
(APA 08/12/17)
It has taken Swazi MTN’s new competitor, Swazi Mobile three weeks to cover a 60-percent clientele base of the country’s population, APA reports on Friday. The new company is Swazi-owned and introduced its first call mid July 2017, which was about six months after it was granted a licence to operate as Swaziland’s second mobile telecommunications company, putting to an end MTN’s monopoly of over 20 years. Swazi Mobile Brand and Communications Manager Macford Sibandze said they were close to reaching their target of 80 percent coverage by December 2017. Swazi MTN has clientele coverage of over 75 percent as it has over 900 000 customers out of Swaziland’s total population of 1.2 million people.
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the word for "ancestor" in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed. The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) in adulthood. It had a brain...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal of establishing a true partnership for the future", Lighthizer said. "By lowering barriers and tackling other constraints that impede trade and investment, we are poised to see U.S.-Africa trade flourish", he said, underscoring that "much more work needs to be...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be at his best in the 800m, where a clutch of athletes are suddenly dreaming of glory in the absence of Kenya's injured champion David Rudisha. Kenya is expected to continue its dominance of the men's 3,000m steeplechase - though American...
(APA 08/03/17)
A new Swazi airline is expected to offer daily flights between Mbabane and the Mozambican capital Maputo from December this year, according to media reports monitored here on Thursday. The reports said Ligwalagwala Airways plans to offer 20-minute daily flights to Maputo at budget prices before the end of 2017. They said the Swazi-owned company had secured a lease agreement with an unnamed international operator that would see it renting a 50-seater plane for use on the Mbabane-Maputo route. “The company which set aside $923 000 investment capital has set an ambitious target to provide the flight to Maputo from
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(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 his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. "I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons." Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity...
(Swazi Media Commentary 08/01/17)
The national airline in Swaziland that was created with fanfares and claims it would serve routes across Africa has closed down and all 23 employees have been retrenched. Confirmation of the closure and staff redundancies came through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security First Quarter (April to June 2017) Performance report, which was tabled in the House of Assembly. The airline closed for business in April 2017 when it became clear the tiny kingdom could not afford a single aircraft. Even so, E20 million had been spent on leasing a 29-year-old Boeing 737-300 that never once flew commercially.
(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 in 2015. The British broadcaster said the bribery was revealed by a former employee, Paul Hopkins. At the time, BAT said “we do not tolerate corruption in our business, no matter where it takes place.” The SFO investigation adds to...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15 percent, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent as it shifts its focus back to Britain and the United States. The losses from the sale of unwanted assets including the Africa business showed the costs...
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with Jean David Mihamle.
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
The U.S. government says the HIV epidemic is "coming under control" in Swaziland, the country with the world's highest prevalence of the virus. The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) said Monday that new infections among adults in Swaziland have dropped by nearly half since 2011. It said the latest research also shows that life-saving anti-retroviral treatment has doubled in the country during the same time period and now reaches over 80 percent of infected adults. PEPFAR has focused much of its efforts on increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs for over 11 million people, mostly in sub-Saharan
(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 the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
Swaziland, which bears the world's heaviest HIV burden, has almost halved the rate of new infections in five years by boosting access to virus-suppressing drugs, researchers said Monday. The country -- where one in three adults is infected with the AIDS-causing virus -- has vastly expanded public programmes to test people for HIV infection and put them on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment (ART). "The rate of new HIV infections has been reduced by half," Velephi Okello of the Swazi health ministry told journalists at an HIV science conference in Paris. "Remarkable progress has been made... in controlling the HIV epidemic." In 2011, 31 percent of adults (aged 18-49) out of a total country population of just over 1.2 million were infected...
(APA 07/24/17)
Workers at Nedbank Swaziland embarked on a strike on Monday over a salary dispute, crippling operations at the financial institution and leaving scores of customers stranded. The strike followed a salary impasse between the management and the Swaziland Union for Financial and Allied Workers (SUFIAW). “The workers are demanding a 10-percent cost of living adjustment, which the bank has failed to put forward,” SUFIAW secretary general Jabu Shiba said in a statement. The employees said they would not accept the seven-percent offered by the bank, hence the resolution to engage in a strike. “The bank cited removal of cash deposit fees as the main reason they cannot give an offer above seven percent,” the secretary general said.
(Zambia Daily mail 07/21/17)
KING Mswati III has commended Zambia’s development efforts based on a people-centred approach and the commitment by President Lungu to lead the people of Zambia to prosperity. King Mswati particularly noted the impressive infrastructure development programmes taking place in most parts of the country. This is according to a joint communiqué issued yesterday after President Lungu’s three-day state visit to Swaziland at the invitation of King Mswati. “The King observed that there is need for the two countries to explore areas of cooperation and potential for trade, as well as share information, exchange experiences, best practices and visits.
(APA 07/21/17)
Cases of watery diarrhoea have increased from 71 percent to 92 percent in Swaziland between June and the first week of July, Health Minister Sibongile Simelane said on Friday. Simelane said in a report that “this type of diarrhoea remains high when compared to diarrhoea with severe dehydration and persistent diarrhoea.” The minster however assured the country that the figures do not mean there was an outbreak of diarrhoea in Swaziland but only that people are now more aware of the dangers of the disease and visit clinics when they observe the symptoms. "The ministry has been monitoring the prevalence of diarrhoea in the country's public hospitals," she said. The minister was speaking at the launch of the July diarrhoea...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(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 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...

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