Tuesday 23 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 10/05/17)
Thousands of protestors turned out in the West African state of Togo on Thursday for the second day running, in a campaign aimed at forcing out President Faure Gnassingbe. Demonstrators converged from three points in the capital Lome for what was billed as a "march of anger" against a family which has ruled Togo for 50 years, culminating in a rally on the seafront. "Demonstrators have used rocks to block the road from Gakpoto to St. Joseph's school, and others are preventing cars from going through," Amnesty International's director for Togo, Aime Adi, said. In Atikoume district, angry youths refused to follow the march itinerary set down by the 14-party opposition coalition, and said they would block streets, an AFP...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation. Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years. “The model of converting existing...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers and reports on agriculture, rural development, water and environment and recommendations and guidance on issues in the 2063 Africa Development Agenda, including agriculture, environment, climate change, and youth engagement. Among the points chosen for the discussions are the assessment of...
(AFP (eng) 10/04/17)
Thousands of people protested in Togo Wednesday in the next phase of a campaign to force out President Faure Gnassingbe, whose dynasty has ruled the West African state for more than 50 years. Marchers converged along three routes in the capital Lome to a seafront site where they were addressed by opposition leaders, AFP reporters saw. Mobile access to the Internet was cut, as was the case in mass protests against Gnassingbe in August and September that drew tens of thousands of people. "We are going to maintain pressure," said Jean-Pierre Fabre, president of the main opposition party, the National Alliance for Change (ANC). "We are demanding the return to (Togo's) 1992 constitution, with all the outcomes from this which...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
The cow belonging to the butcher in Kparatao, northern Togo, was tied to a tree and minding its own business when the soldiers pumped it full of bullets. Within days, the stricken animal became a symbol of the popular protests against President Faure Gnassingbe which have seen mounting calls for him to step down. A photo of the white, long-horned beast sprawled in a pool of blood was shared widely on social media and sparked fevered reactions online for more than a week. Its fate was even featured on national television's main evening news programme. But despite sparking a slew of online jokes, the killing is more than just a story and no laughing matter for the 6,000 or so...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(AFP (eng) 09/27/17)
Hundreds of Togolese nationals have fled to neighbouring Ghana to escape reprisals after a wave of anti-government protests, a Ghanaian official said on Wednesday. Paddy Tetteh, from the Ghana Refugee Board, said the first batch arrived last Wednesday and although numbers had since fallen, more were still trying to come in. "They are close to 300," he told AFP. Most were in the northern district of Chereponi, close to Ghana's eastern border, he added. Chereponi chief executive Abdul Razak Tahiru told reporters that food, mats, bedding and mosquito nets had been distributed to the refugees. "Due to the demonstrations in Mango (northern Togo), they are beating them and they have decided to run for their lives," he was quoted as...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(AFP (eng) 09/25/17)
Togo's opposition on Monday cancelled its latest wave of planned anti-government street protests and instead called for a nationwide shutdown. Three days of demonstrations against President Faure Gnassingbe's regime had been scheduled to take place from Tuesday. But 14 opposition parties instead called on the public to "stop all professional and economic activity" on Friday and to "pray for the memory of the martyrs". At least four people have died and dozens more have been injured since August during protests that have seen unprecedented numbers of people take to the streets calling for political reform in the tiny West African nation. Gnassingbe, who has been in power since the death of his father in 2005, is the scion of Africa's...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the Global First Ladies Alliance (GFLA) and Facebook. Geingos credited the quota enacted by the ruling SWAPO party of her husband, President Hage Geingob. But she said a similar quota might be needed for Namibia’s private sector, where only 10 to...
(AFP (eng) 09/23/17)
Togo's government was surprised by how many people took to the streets earlier this month to demand the removal of President Faure Gnassingbe. But with no end in sight to the protesters' calls for change, questions are mounting about whether the pressure can be maintained to bring an end to his family's 50-year rule. Opposition leaders were quick to call the first marches this month "unprecedented", after hundreds of thousands of people young and old turned out in force across the country. What was also unprecedented was the united front presented by opposition parties, whose squabbling and differences in the past made them an ineffective force against the ruling regime. "This time there's a real window of opportunity that we...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...
(AFP (eng) 09/21/17)
Togo on Thursday was bracing for another round of demonstrations in its seaside capital and other cities called by opposition groups intent on ending the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe, the scion of Africa's oldest political dynasty. On Wednesday, thousands had thronged the streets of Lome in rival demonstrations after the opposition boycotted a vote on constitutional reform which would have included a presidential term limit, arguing it was a ploy to let Gnassingbe stay in power until 2030. The opposition wanted the limit to apply retroactively so that Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005, could not run again in 2020. His father Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled from 1967 until his death in 2005. Police said 10,000 to 15,000...
(AFP (eng) 09/21/17)
A child was killed and at least 25 people were injured Wednesday in Togo as thousands held rival demonstrations over the continued rule of President Faure Gnassingbe, the scion of Africa's oldest political dynasty. Rival demonstrations in Lome drew thousands a day after the opposition boycotted a vote on constitutional reform which would have included a presidential term limit, arguing that it was a ploy to let Gnassingbe remain in power till 2030. The opposition wanted the limit to apply retroactively so that Gnassingbe...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Security forces in Togo used batons, tear gas and live bullets against protesters seeking an end to President Faure Gnassingbe’s rule on Wednesday and a child was killed in the ensuing clashes, according to Amnesty International. Tensions are mounting over the president’s tenure and thousands marched nationwide against government reforms announced on Tuesday which they say will allow the Gnassingbe family dynasty to run the West African country until 2030. “There was a 9-year-old boy killed in Mango by military forces. He was shot in the head,” said Francois Patuel, of Amnesty International, citing local sources including family members. Security Minister Damehame Yark confirmed that a child had been shot dead in Mango, hundreds of kilometres north of the capital...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year. Global health experts hope the deal will help address two looming problems in the HIV epidemic - the rising threat of resistance developing to standard AIDS drugs, and the need for more investment in manufacturing capacity. Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, a so-called integrase inhibitor that avoids the drug resistance that often develops with older treatments. In return the drugmakers, India-based Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma, will agree the maximum...
(AFP (eng) 09/20/17)
Several thousand people thronged the streets of Togo's capital Wednesday after the ruling party urged supporters to march at the same time as planned opposition protests demanding the removal of President Faure Gnassingbe. The rival demonstrations in Lome came after the opposition boycotted a vote Tuesday on constitutional reform which would have included a presidential term limit. The opposition wanted the limit to apply retroactively so that Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005, could not run again in 2020. After more than 100,000 people across the country turned out for opposition protests on September 6 and 7, more marches were planned for Wednesday and Thursday.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/20/17)
A bill to limit presidents in Togo to two terms of office will be decided by referendum after it failed on Tuesday to win approval from parliament due to a boycott by opposition lawmakers. The boycott was called because the measure appears to exempt incumbent Faure Gnassingbe, who is already in his third term. Gnassingbe’s family has ruled the small West African country for 50 years and frustration over the slow pace of reform there has spilled onto the streets several times since August, involving thousands and prompting U.N. calls for action. Under the terms of the bill, he would be eligible for two further five-year terms that could leave him in power until 2030. “They voted for a referendum...
(AFP (eng) 09/19/17)
Togo's opposition stayed away from parliament on Tuesday, blocking the passage of the government's bill for political reform and forcing a referendum. The bill was published last week on the eve of protests calling for a revision of the constitution that developed into demands for President Faure Gnassingbe to step down. A four-fifths majority was needed for it to be approved but the opposition no-show meant it only secured 62 out of 91 votes, with one abstention. Eric Dupuy, spokesman for the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, called the National Assembly session a "sham". As he ended proceedings, assembly president Dama Dramani said: "For want of this majority, the bill, passed with a two-thirds majority... is subject...

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