Wednesday 13 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
At least five people were killed in northern Burkina Faso and one person died in eastern Chad, in the latest attacks in two Sahel countries badly hit by jihadists and militias, officials said Friday. A armed group on Friday attacked Taouremba, a Burkinabe town about 60 kilometres (30 miles) from the Malian border, killing at least five people, said a local security source, reached by phone. "At least four koglweogo [members of a self-defence group] and a municipal councillor were killed," the source said. A security source in Abinda put the toll at "six or seven dead," adding that the assailants...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
he African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate "slave markets" of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men. The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400. Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a "despicable trade... from another era". Meanwhile Senegal's government. commenting on Facebook, expressed "outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,"...
(Xinhuanet 11/17/17)
Sino-African relations have entered a new development stage of win-win cooperation, according to the fifth Biennial Conference of China-Africa Industrial Forum (CAIF) that opened here Thursday. Supporting Africa's industrialization and capacity cooperation are of vital importance in the next five years and Sino-African trade is likely to total 180 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, said CAIF secretary general Cheng Zhigang in the opening speech. Sino-African economic and trade cooperation has great potential, said Cheng. China has been Africa's largest trading partner since 2009. Chinese investments in Africa exceeded 100 billion dollars in 2016, about 50 times as much as in 2010. China's investments in Africa have also diversified in business areas, from construction and mining to emerging industries such as...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Africa is making only faltering progress towards food and nutrition security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. "Multiple forms of malnutrition coexist, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition or anaemia as well as high rates of obesity," it says in a new report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, "progress towards the World Health Assembly global nutrition targets has been generally poor," the Rome-based agency says, referring to goals to end hunger by 2025. The annual document came out Thursday at the start of a two-day food and health seminar in Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan. Around 200 people from 47 African nations are gathered to discuss "sustainable food systems...
(AFP (eng) 11/16/17)
The recently launched G5 Sahel force must ensure human rights are respected as it combats jihadists and criminals in this troubled swathe of Africa, officials say, to avoid further radicalisation of the population. The five-nation counterterrorism force has completed its first operation in a zone covering the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, all of which face an Islamist insurgency that has tacit support in areas where a state presence is near absent. Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said abuses under the guise of counter-terror "create more terrorists than there were before". The viability of the force rested on its ability to gain the trust of local populations and maintain the support of the international...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/14/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - The global airline industry has $1.2 billion blocked in nine dollar-strapped African countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday. The global commodities price crash that began in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, particularly big resource exporters such as Angola and Nigeria. Low oil and mineral prices have reduced government revenue and caused chronic dollar shortages and immense pressure on local currencies. The fiscal slump has meant governments have not allowed foreign airlines to repatriate their dollar profits in full. At an aviation meeting in the Rwandan capital, IATA’s Vice President for Africa, Raphale Kuuchi, said that airlines were in talks with “a few governments to unblock airline funds”. He did not specify the...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route to North Africa," Switzerland, which hosted the third meeting of the so-called contact group on the crisis, said in a statement. Thousands of migrants and refugees who attempt to travel along this route "find themselves in catastrophic situations," it said,...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/10/17)
DOSSEYE, Chad (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Leila Ousmane and her 10-year-old daughter walk in disbelief atop the crumbling bricks that, until a few days earlier, formed the walls of their family home. Heavy rains and floods in late September ravaged the Dosseye refugee camp where they live, toppling their house of mud bricks and wooden stumps into rubble. “We went to live with my neighbor,” said Ousmane. “But last night, the storm made their house collapse too.” Chad, a country already beset by economic and humanitarian crises, faces another looming disaster: climate change. It was ranked as the country most vulnerable to the effects of global warming in a 2016 index compiled by risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. The annual ranking...
(AFP 11/09/17)
France said Wednesday it will increase its development aid to the troubled Sahel by more than a third, linking the extra funds to the fight against jihadist groups in the vast African region. The five nations in the sprawling area south of the Sahara -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- pooled their military resources to create the G5 Sahel force, which began operations on November 1. The fledgling group is tasked with combatting Islamist terrorism after thousands of civilians have died in fighting, many of them in suicide bombings, and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes. France, the former colonial power in the Sahel, is the scheme's biggest political backer and provided a hefty...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/09/17)
DANAMAJA, Chad (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Wearing a pastel-colored dress embroidered with a tatty trim and speaking almost in a whisper, 17-year-old Chancelle looks like she should be in school. But, since the age of 15, she has instead been going into isolated huts or simply to the fields to sell sex for money. “Each week, I would meet with three or four men,” the teenager, who declined to give her real name, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Chancelle fled north to Chad in 2014 after her father was killed by armed militants in her native Central African Republic (CAR), where Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian and animist “anti-balaka” militias have been fighting since 2013. A spike in violence in...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have all the kit they need to put theory into practice, thanks to a mobile science lab that tours selected state schools. "It's an exciting experience. We were being taught only the theoretical aspect of science subjects," Amadu, who wants to...
(AFP (eng) 11/07/17)
The maiden mission of a counterterrorism force that aims to tackle jihadist groups in the troubled Sahel experienced "logistical problems" but they are not "insurmountable", according to the military's first appraisal of the operation. The G5 Sahel force -- an initiative comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- last week began its first operation, dubbed Hawbi, with French military support. "It's the first mission. We have lots of lessons to learn, but I don't think it is insurmountable," said Mahamadou Mounkaila, a Nigerien colonel, from a command post in the Niger capital, Niamey. Construction work is still underway, but the complex is already the strategic and logistical hub of the new multinational force. It has an unprecedented mandate...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
In a cloud of ochre dust, a column of army pickup trucks slowly advances on a dirt road near Mali's border with Burkina Faso -- one of the world's hotspots for jihadism. The national flag of Mali flaps in the wind: an appropriate symbol for a brand-new force whose first task is to assure terrified locals that governance is returning to lawless lands. "We are here to secure the zone and to reassure people that they can live a normal life," Lieutenant Gaoussou Diara, who commands 100 Malian troops in the convoy, told AFP. "The track between Tessit and Kayrougouten (in central Mali) is a major route, used by traders and the population." The new force, called the G5 Sahel,...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Six countries in central and western Africa have breathed life into long-running plans to allow visa-free movement of people among their nations. At a summit in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, the countries formally declared late Tuesday that the scheme had now been ratified by all members. The agreement gathers six francophone states -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo -- in a bloc called the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The association, set up in 2000, has a potential market of 30 million consumers, many of whom however, live in poverty.
(AFP (eng) 11/01/17)
A joint anti-jihadist force linking countries in the Sahel began operations on Wednesday, the French military mission in the region, which is providing support, told AFP. "The deployment of Malian, Nigerien and Burkinabe troops in the G5 Sahel force began this morning," said a colonel for France's Barkhane mission, speaking on condition that only his first name of Marc-Antoine was used. Several hundred troops have been deployed in the initial operation, codenamed Hawbi, he said. It will "provide a show of strength and demonstrate presence" in the Mali, Burkina and Niger border regions "and impede freedom of movement, which several armed groups have enjoyed for months," Marc-Antoine said. "The ultimate goal is to boost the power of the G5 Sahel...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
The UN Security Council looked at ways of shoring up a new G5 Sahel regional counter-terrorism force on Monday, with France seeking UN funding and support for the fight against jihad in Africa. What are the origins of the force to number up to 5,000 troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and why is it needed? - Why now? - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- the so-called "G5 Sahel" countries just south of the Sahara -- first raised the idea of a regional force in November 2015 in Chad's capital, N'Djamena. The idea resurfaced in the light of the deteriorating security situation in Mali, and following mounting incidents of jihadist violence in neighbouring Burkina...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...

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