Sunday 19 November 2017
(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...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
More than 500 Togolese nationals have sought refuge in neighbouring Ghana because of a government crackdown on opposition protests, the UN refugee agency said Friday. "So far, 513 asylum seekers have been registered by the Ghanaian authorities," UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said in a statement. They crossed the border to Chereponi, Zabzugu and Bunkpurugu-Yunyuo in Ghana's remote northwest and most were staying with local families or in community centres, he added. "Togolese seeking safety, including women and children, told UNHCR staff they had fled on foot, walking from their homes in Togo's Mango region, bordering Ghana," he said.
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
West African leaders have made their first comments after two months of increasingly bloody violence in Togo, calling on the presidency and the opposition to sit down to talks. France also called for an "immediate dialogue" between the two sides in its former colony, saying it was concerned by reports of civilian militia working alongside security forces. At least 16 people have been killed and scores more injured in anti-government protests that have seen hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets across the country. Three new marches have been announced for November 7,8 and 9, despite a government on weekday protests and recent clashes between gangs of youths, police and soldiers. Ivory Coast's president Alassane Ouattara said he...
(BBC News Africa 10/25/17)
Togolese striker Francis Kone has been honoured by Fifa for his life-saving actions in a Czech league match. He was given a Fair Play award at the Fifa "Best" ceremony in London on Monday night. Kone saved the life of goalkeeper Martin Berkovec back in February, after he nearly swallowed his tongue following a collision. Slovacko's Kone acted after Berkovec had clashed with his Bohemians 1905 team-mate Daniel Krch. He used his fingers to move Berkovec's tongue and stop him suffocating, after the player had been knocked out. Berkovec later wrote on Facebook: "I would like to thank Francis Kone for rescue and emergency… I'm glad for the relief and thanks again!!!" "I can't stand there, watching someone suffocate, without...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
The 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS told regional leaders Tuesday that the goal of establishing a single currency among their economies in 2020 had failed. "The roadmap has not been implemented vigorously," Marcel de Souza, president of the ECOWAS Commission, told a summit in Niamey, the capital of Niger. "We cannot move to the single currency in 2020," he said.
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
Togo's opposition on Monday announced three new marches against President Faure Gnassingbe, despite a ban on weekday protests and deadly clashes with the security forces. "We are calling for three days of protest on November 7, 8 and 9 in Lome," said Eric Dupuy, the spokesman for the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party. A coalition of 14 opposition parties wants Gnassingbe to step down and a limit of two, five-year terms introduced for presidents. Gnassingbe has won three elections since taking over power after the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for nearly 50 years. Last week in Lome and the second city of Sokode, gangs of youths clashed with police and soldiers...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
BANJUL (Reuters) - Togo’s leader Faure Gnassingbe should resign immediately and the African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS should persuade him to step down if he does not, Gambia’s Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe said. Darboe’s comments are an early sign that opinion is shifting against Gnassingbe who took power in 2005 on the death of his father who had ruled since 1967. Togo is enduring a political crisis in which at least 10 people have been killed in protests since August. “I think the African Union and ECOWAS should engage Togo and persuade the president to step down,” Darboe told Reuters this weekend, adding that other countries need to step in. “When it goes against accepted norms I...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron was on Friday urged to step in to help find a solution to an increasingly violent power struggle between Togo's opposition and the government. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets since late August calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has been in power for over 50 years. They want the constitution changed so that presidents can only serve two, five-year terms of office. Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 and won three elections. But the protests have turned bloody, with more than a dozen deaths recorded in the capital Lome and the second city of Sokode, in the north. In the last two days, the opposition coalition...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Togo's opposition on Thursday said three people were killed and dozens more injured as gangs of youths clashed with security forces trying to prevent the latest anti-government protest in the capital. Opposition spokesman Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson told reporters "the provisional toll at 3:30 pm (1530 GMT) is three shot dead in Lome", with 44 shot and wounded, and a further 36 beaten up. Togo's security minister, Colonel Yark Damehame, denied the claims, however, saying no-one was killed. The streets of the coastal capital were largely deserted in anticipation of the rally, which the opposition refused to cancel despite a government ban on weekday marches on security grounds.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Five people were shot and injured on Thursday as gangs of youths and the security forces clashed sporadically in Togo's capital Lome, ahead of a planned opposition protest that the government has ruled illegal. Eric Dupuy, spokesman for the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, said the five were shot in the Be area of the city and two of them were in a "critical" condition. Shots were fired around the home of ANC leader Jean-Pierre Fabre, he added. Amnesty International's country director in Togo, Aime Adi, confirmed that five people had been shot and wounded, adding they were taken to hospital in Lome for treatment. The streets were largely deserted ahead of the rally, which the opposition...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
At least four people were shot dead on Wednesday in clashes between protesters and security forces in Togo's two largest cities after soldiers and police launched teargas to prevent the latest anti-government protest. Opposition parties had refused to cancel plans for demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday, despite a government ban on weekday protests on security grounds. The government said three people were shot dead in second city Sokode while one was killed and several wounded by gunfire in capital Lome. "Security forces aren't the only ones in possession of weapons so it's difficult to say who fired," security minister Colonel Yark Damehame told reporters.
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Protesters erected makeshift barricades and blocked roads in Togo's two main cities on Wednesday, as soldiers and police launched teargas to prevent the latest anti-government protest. Opposition parties had refused to cancel plans for demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday, despite a government ban on weekday protests on security grounds. In the capital Lome, streets were blocked and most shops were shut in the commercial area of Deckon, according to AFP reporters in the city. "We've decided to stick it out," said one bare-chested protester who had wrapped his T-shirt around his head.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/18/17)
LOME (Reuters) - Security forces in Togo’s capital Lome fired teargas on Wednesday at rock-throwing protesters who were demanding an end to a half-century of Gnassingbe family rule. The clashes, seen by a Reuters witness, came two days after three people were killed in violence in the center of the country. The killings reignited a mass protest movement against President Faure Gnassingbe, who succeeded his late father Eyadema in 2005. Opposition activists have been demonstrating since August against Gnassingbe’s rule and say a constitutional reform he has proposed will allow him to rule the West African country until 2030. Protesters want him to leave when his current term expires in 2020, at the latest. The latest bout of protests was...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Two teenagers were among four people killed in violence in Togo's second city after an imam close to the main opposition was arrested, the government and a rights group said Tuesday. "Two soldiers on guard duty at the home of a VIP were lynched and executed and their weapons and ammunition were taken," the government said in a statement. "A young person also died and about 20 other civilians and members of the security forces were injured," it added. Amnesty International's country representative Aime Adi told AFP the young person killed was an apprentice upholsterer and aged 16 or 17. A second youth, 17, was "shot in the head", he added. The clashes in the northern city of Sokode came...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Violence broke out in Togo's second city, Sokode, after the arrest of an imam close to the country's main opposition, fuelling tensions after weeks of anti-government protests. "Electricity was cut off at about 7:00 pm (2100 GMT on Monday) after evening prayers," said Ouro Akpo Tchagnaou, from the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC). "Five police vehicles arrived to arrest Alpha Alassane, a very well-known imam in the city," he added. "The population felt targeted and took to the streets." Clashes lasted throughout the night until calm was restored but the authorities have been warned of renewed protests if Alassane is not freed on Tuesday morning. "The situation was hard to put up with last night. The security forces...

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