Tuesday 22 August 2017
(Xinhuanet 03/24/17)
A group of non-government organizations (NGOs) on Friday called on African leaders to find practical solutions to protect and assist Somali refugees and asylum seekers facing ongoing conflict and a humanitarian crisis in Somalia. In a joint statement issued on the eve of the regional summit on refugees, members of the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS), Somalia NGO Consortium and the Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) expressed hope that the leaders will take practical steps towards the development and implementation of a comprehensive regional approach. "It is hoped that such an approach, developed in the spirit of the New York Declaration, will support countries and communities that host Somali refugees in improving asylum space, integrated access to services, inclusive economic opportunities...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
N'DJAMENA French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen pledged on Wednesday to break with her country's decades-old relationship with Africa known as "Francafrique" and abolish the CFA franc currency policy that binds Paris and its former colonies. Francafrique describes an informal web of relationships Paris has maintained with its former African colonies and its support, sometimes in the form of military backing, for politicians who favor French business interests. Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the presidential election, spoke at the end of a two-day visit to Chad where she sought to outline her policies regarding the continent, which has long held an important place in French foreign policy. "It was only in coming here and explaining that I...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Under a cloudless sky in South Africa's northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. The gelatin found in the animals' skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade. Animal rights groups say the docile beasts of burden are often cruelly bludgeoned to death before being skinned in backyards and clandestine slaughterhouses. Around Mogosani village, in South Africa's North West province, residents say syndicates catch the animals in grazing fields and pens. Soon after, skinned carcasses with hooves chopped off are...
(Agence Ecofin 03/20/17)
At the Africa CEO Forum which opened this morning in Geneva, AFD Group – in partnership with the European Union – unveiled the “African Renewable Energy Scale-Up facility”, designed to boost private sector investment in on–grid and off-grid renewable energy production in Africa. In order to meet Africa’s constantly increasing energy requirements, support must be provided for mass development of the renewable energy technologies – especially solar energy – that will play such a key role over the coming years, given the recent drop in prices and the emergence of new innovative business models. The EU’s electrification funding initiative, “ElectriFI”, helps to harness and stimulate private sector investment to enhance access to renewable energy. More specifically, it focuses on poorly-served...
(Voice of America 03/18/17)
Each year, the University of Southern California hosts the African Global Economic and Development Summit, bringing delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. During her prior three summits, Mary Flowers saw a high percentage of her attendees unable to attain visas. "Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come," said Flowers, chair of the African Global Economic and Development Summit. "This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened." Flowers estimated that she...
(The Herald Online 03/17/17)
President Mugabe leaves for Ezulwini, Swaziland, today to attend an Extraordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government that opens at Lozitha Royal Palace tomorrow. He will join other Heads of State and Government for the special indaba on Industrialisation and Regional Integration. The meeting is in fulfilment of the decision made by regional leaders last year to hold annual special summits for the purpose of reviewing industrialisation and integration of SADC economies. The SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap was steered by President Mugabe during his tenure as Sadc Chair (August 2014-August 2015). Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba told The Herald last night that the special summit was a follow-up to President Mugabe's initiation...
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
One of the enduring legacies of the Barack Obama presidency will be the relationship built between the United States and young Africans. As part of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), each year 1,000 young people from sub-Saharan Africa travel to the United States to spend six weeks at a U.S. college or university. The program will continue this summer. But building enduring relationships is a two-way street, and many in Africa want to see Americans coming to their continent as well. That’s what 26 Americans selected to participate in a Reciprocal Exchange program, a new component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, are now planning to do. The U.S. Department of State partnered with IREX, a...
(Xinhuanet 03/16/17)
China's aid to the education sector in Africa is helping boost teacher training, a key component in skilling the population to fast track development, a UN official has said. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office for Eastern Africa, in an interview recognized China's contribution to Africa's education sector over the years. "We value the initiative in teacher training in Uganda and other countries in Africa. This will revitalize the teaching profession," she said. China through UNESCO donated equipment to three teacher training institutions in Uganda on March 3. Figures from the Chinese embassy here show that 137 tutors were trained and 272 pieces of Information Communication and Technology and studio equipment...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
Africa will host a Commonwealth Games one day despite the blow of Durban being stripped of hosting the 2022 edition, David Grevemberg, the chief executive of The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), told AFP. Durban lost the right to host the Games on Monday -- just 18 months after being awarded them -- when it failed to meet criteria laid down by the CGF, primarily over costs. "I wouldn't want to make a judgement call," Grevemberg told AFP on the sidelines of a briefing by 2018 Games hosts Gold Coast on Wednesday. "Durban has hosted some great events, it is a fantastic city and are wonderful warm hosts with bright ambitions and great aspirations. "However, it takes more than a municipality,...
(The Wall Street Journal 03/15/17)
Ndalo Media founder Khanyi Dhlomo and Mara Group founder Ashish Thakkar on where the potential is and what’s blocking it How is innovation in Africa different from innovation in Silicon Valley? And how can innovation in Africa be encouraged? Dan Keeler, frontier-markets editor of The Wall Street Journal, discussed those questions with Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and chief executive of Ndalo Media, a publisher based in South Africa, and Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group, a pan-African investment group with operations in banking, real estate, infrastructure and technology. Edited excerpts follow. MR. KEELER: What about innovation in Africa? Khanyi, what sort of things are you seeing that are inspiring you? MS. DHLOMO:There’s a lot of innovation happening in Africa. But it’s...
(Agence Ecofin 03/14/17)
The Land Policy Initiative (LPI), a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched a pilot project to track progress in implementing in the AU Declaration on land issues in Africa. This was revealed by the ECA in a press statement dated March 7. In collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the project will assess progress made in implementing the key decisions and commitments of the AU Declaration on Land adopted in July 2009 by the General Assembly of the pan-African institution. “We are to a large extent in unchartered waters given many of our Member...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
The United Arab Emirates, one of the Middle East's largest economies, wants to expand trade ties with faster growing nations in Asia and Africa, a senior official said on Sunday. Rich Gulf Arab states are looking at ways to diversify their economies, including who they trade with, after more than two years of depressed oil prices forced a rethink of government spending. The pace of economic growth in Asian and sub-Saharan African economies has made them ideal partners, Abdullah al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade and industry at the UAE ministry of the economy, told Reuters in an interview in Dubai. Asia's two largest economies China and India are expected to grow by 6.5 percent and 7.2 percent this year whilst...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity," said Dlamini-Zuma, who will next week hand power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates...
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that investments in training for community health workers will have multiplier impact on Africa's socioeconomic development. "We require highly skilled and motivated cadre of community health workforce to deal with a high diseases burden in disadvantaged settings in this continent. These...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(Swazi Media Commentary 03/03/17)
Police in Swaziland blocked a workers' protest against poor labour conditions in the kingdom. Members of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) tried to march to deliver a petition of complaints to Winnie Magagula, the Minister of Labour and Social Security. Local media reported on Tuesday (28 February 2017) that police blocked the march close to the ministry by forming a line in the road. The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, reported, 'This was done in a bid to protect the officials from the labour ministry, who were to receive a petition that was to be delivered by TUCOSWA.' The Times of Swaziland, the...
(Swazi Media Commentary 03/03/17)
The promised amendments to the Swaziland's Suppression of Terrorism Act have been shelved by the kingdom's Senate - again. The Act, which bans organisations that advocate democratic reform and imprisons dissenters, has been criticised across the world as undemocratic. The United States scrapped the lucrative trade deal AGOA with the kingdom because Swaziland refused to accept the need for reform. King Mswati III rules the kingdom as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch. The Suppression of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2016 was due to be debated by the Swazi Senate on Monday (27 February 2017) but was deferred. In Swaziland, Senate members are not elected by the people. King Mswati selects 20 members of the 30-strong house and the other 10 are...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...

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