Thursday 18 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Thousands of people took to the streets in Togo on Saturday in the first anti-government protests of the year, as supporters of President Faure Gnassingbe staged counter-demonstrations. A coalition of 14 political parties has staged almost weekly demonstrations since August last year, calling for Gnassingbe to step down and the introduction of a two-term limit for presidents. Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 when he took over from his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who himself ruled Togo for 38 years. There was a strong police presence in Lome on Saturday, according to an AFP reporter at the scene. But unlike previous demonstrations, where opposition supporters clashed with the security services, it passed off without incident. The veteran opposition leader...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Opposition parties in Togo this weekend hold their first anti-government protest of the year, with progress on constitutional reform in an apparent stalemate after months of action. Thousands of supporters from a coalition of 14 parties are expected to turn out on Saturday, to renew calls for President Faure Gnassingbe to step down. A second protest exclusively for women has been organised for January 20. The parties want a change to the constitution to restrict presidents to a maximum of...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/18)
Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe broke his silence after months of protests against his rule, calling on the opposition to "dialogue" in his New Year address given late Wednesday. "Dialogue must remain the preferred way of resolving disagreements between political actors," Gnassingbe said in an address on national television, reiterating his controversial plans to revise the constitution. It was the first time Gnassingbe has spoken directly to the public since the crisis began in September. "I have no doubt that even...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Tens of thousands of demonstrators thronged the streets of the Togolese capital on Saturday, the latest in a series of mass protests against the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe. Anti-government marches have been held across the country nearly every week since August, attracting hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the exit of Gnassingbe, who has ruled for more than 15 years. "We will never tire. This time we are going to see this fight, which started several months ago, through to the end," said a motorcycle taxi driver who joined the marches in Lome on Saturday.
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Protesters again took to the streets of Togo's capital Lome on Saturday to demonstrate against the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe, who was in Nigeria chairing a summit of West African leaders. Anti-government marches have been held across the country nearly every week since August, attracting hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the exit of Gnassingbe, who has ruled for more than 15 years. Gnassingbe was in Abuja chairing a summit for the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as he currently holds the regional bloc's rotating presidency. The bloc issued a statement expressing "its concern at the persistent political tension in the Togolese republic".
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
Togo's opposition on Thursday called on regional leaders to pressure the country's government to accept the reality of political change, as its supporters again protested against President Faure Gnassingbe. A coalition of 14 parties, which has led almost weekly demonstrations since August, appealed to heads of state and government attending Saturday's ECOWAS summit in Abuja to put pressure on the regime. Gnassingbe, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the Economic Community of West African States, has led Togo since 2005 after the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema. The general himself was in charge for 38 years.
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Togo's main opposition coalition, which has led protests against President Faure Gnassingbe for more than three months, on Tuesday boycotted government consultations for talks on ending the political impasse. The international community has called for talks between the two sides to end the stalemate over constitutional reform to introduce a maximum two-term limit for presidents. But only five out of the 14 parties comprising the main opposition bloc were invited to preliminary discussions, scheduled to take place behind closed doors at the presidency in the capital, Lome. Opposition coalition spokeswoman Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson said the alliance refused to attend the meeting in the face of the government's...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our...
(AFP (eng) 12/02/17)
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Lome on Saturday for the third time this week to demand the exit of President Faure Gnassingbe, with little sign of progress on promised talks. Gnassingbe, who has ruled Togo for more than 15 years, pledged in November that his government would hold talks with opposition groups "within several weeks", but has kept silent since then. Regional mediators including Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo and Guinea's President Alpha Conde have been working to open up negotiations between the two sides.
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
DAKAR/LIBORE, Niger (Reuters) - Mabingue Ngom, the head of the U.N. Population Fund in West Africa, knows that if he wants to cut birth rates he can’t ignore religion. Population experts like Ngom are worried that if West Africa’s population continues to grow at its current pace - the region has the highest birth rate in the world - it will drive fiercer competition for scarce water and farmland, and fuel malnutrition, conflict and ever more economic refugees. West African...

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