Sunday 18 February 2018
(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...
(AFP (eng) 09/19/17)
Togo's ruling presidential party on Monday urged supporters to take to the streets to coincide with planned opposition demonstrations against the slow pace of political reform. Georges Kwawu Aidam, the first vice-president of the Union for the Republic (UNIR) told AFP there would be marches on Wednesday and Thursday in support of a controversial constitutional reform bill which the opposition see as not going far enough. A parliamentary panel last Friday approved the bill to revamp the constitution and introduce a presidential term limit after days of protests against the regime of Faure Gnassingbe, the scion of one of Africa's oldest political dynasties. But the panel rejected wholesale 48 amendments proposed by opposition parties. Aidam said the ruling party march...
(The Guardian 09/18/17)
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation. Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop is undoubtedly the cause of this problem. But cocoa farming could also provide the solution. Recently, I was in Ivory Coast for the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. It united many different parties – governments, the UN’s Food...
(AFP (eng) 09/16/17)
A parliamentary panel in Togo on Friday approved a controversial bill to revamp the constitution and introduce a presidential term limit, after days of protests against the regime of Faure Gnassingbe, the scion of Africa's oldest political dynasty. After a closed-door session, ten members of the National Assembly's law commission approved the government-proposed text by a six-to-four vote. But the commission did not accept any amendments proposed by opposition parties during a debate held at the same time in the parliament chamber, including opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre and three government ministers. "We submitted 48 amendments... the government which is backing this constitutional revision rejected them en bloc.
(AFP (eng) 09/15/17)
Lawmakers in Togo on Friday began looking at a bill to revamp the country's constitution and introduce a presidential term limit, after days of protests against Faure Gnassingbe's regime. Nine members of the National Assembly law commission started to study the government bill behind closed doors late morning, an AFP correspondent said. At the same time, lawmakers started debate the proposals in the parliament chamber. They included opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre and three government ministers. The law commission will submit its conclusions on the bill then all lawmakers will study it in plenary session. Gnassingbe's government approved the bill last Tuesday...
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
Societe Generale SA, challenged on its home turf by Orange SA’s push into banking, is fighting back with a new mobile lender in Africa. The French lender started YUP, a new app for smartphones, in Senegal and Ivory Coast and plans to begin operating in four other sub-Saharan countries this year and next, the company said on Thursday. The bank aims to double its client base to 2 million in the region within three years. “Telcos have opened the way and they’ve gotten ahead,” Alexandre Maymat, who oversees Societe Generale’s operations in French-speaking Africa, said at a press briefing. “We’re catching up” by redefining the retail strategy and providing a broader offering than telephone companies. Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea...
(AFP (eng) 09/14/17)
Togo's opposition parties on Thursday said they had shelved a planned meeting to discuss constitutional reform and instead called for the country's biggest ever anti-government protests. In a statement, they accused President Faure Gnassingbe and his government of resorting to "obstinacy and diversion" in response to growing calls for political change. The coalition of 14 parties want a two-term limit on presidential mandates and the introduction of a two-round voting system. They had been due to meet on Friday but instead called for "the biggest ever public mobilisation" against the regime next Wednesday and Thursday. Last week, the government gave an apparent concession to the hundreds...
(AFP (eng) 09/14/17)
Lawmakers in Togo will begin to look at a constitutional reform bill on Friday, the head of the National Assembly said Wednesday, after protests rocked the African country last week. Parliamentary groups and commissions met to read the government proposals, which came after opposition calls for a two-term limit for presidents and a two-round voting system. Togo's opposition has been calling for changes for more than a decade. Last week, hundreds of thousands took to the streets calling for reform. The Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Wednesday called on the government and opposition to carry out the reforms.

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