Thursday 29 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/24/16)
A record 5,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea this year, following two shipwrecks on Thursday in which some 100 people, mainly West Africans, were feared dead, aid agencies said on Friday. Two overcrowded inflatable dinghies capsized in the Strait of Sicily after leaving Libya for Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. "Those two incidents together appear to be the numbers that would bring this year's total up to over to 5,000 (deaths), which is a new high that we have reported during this crisis," IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva briefing. The Italian coast guard rescued survivors and had recovered eight bodies so far, he said...
(The Globe and Mail 12/23/16)
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope, opening new frontiers in our understanding of the universe. But the builders have to contend with an unforgiving climate and other formidable challenges first, In the desolate rocky plains of the Great Karoo, the dangers are endless. Scorpions and puff adders are underfoot. The harsh sun beats down, interrupted only by occasional lightning storms. Temperatures range from stifling heat to freezing cold. But at night, in the vast empty darkness, the stars are impossibly bright and clear. And it is the stars that have lured a Canadian-backed project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope, with the potential to unlock the deepest secrets of the universe. For...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/16)
Selma saunters on her stilt-like legs, batting thick lashes as she extends a blackish tongue -- as long as an arm -- to grab pellets offered by an awed tourist. The giraffe is after all, eating for two. Her pregnancy is good news for one of the rarest giraffe species, protected at the Giraffe Centre in the Kenyan capital, but experts warn the outlook for the rest of the world's tallest land mammals is far gloomier. While it is hoped the shocking news that the gentle giants of the African savannah are facing extinction will spur action, conservationists largely have their hands tied as many giraffe live in Africa's most conflict-torn regions. Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan...
(The Citizen 12/21/16)
Tanzania is among some African countries which may see a drop in development aid as the US is likely to expand fiscal stance and cut spending during Donald Trump's presidency, a new report shows. The move by the world's largest economy will affect dependent countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and DRC according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) latest report released in London yesterday. In its Economic Insight: Africa Q4 2016, the accountancy and finance body points out that signs of an expansionary fiscal stance under the Trump administration coupled with spending cuts to accommodate increased infrastructure expenditure are likely to lead to the decrease in aid. "Aid is one of the main...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/16)
When Rose Kariuki first felt a lump on her left breast, the spectre of cancer -- a disease she had only heard of on television -- was the last thing on her mind. "To me, cancer was nowhere near us. It was shocking, I feared death, I feared so many things," the 46-year-old Kenyan school teacher told AFP. Rose is one of a growing number of Africans suffering from cancer, one of the lifestyle diseases -- along with diabetes and heart problems -- proving increasing deadly on the continent. A World Health Organisation (WHO) survey released Tuesday showed that most Africans had at least one risk factor for developing one of these diseases, such as smoking, a lack of exercise,...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/16)
The number of migrants feared to have died this year has soared to nearly 7,200 -- a more than 20-percent increase over 2015 -- with most of the fatalities in the Mediterranean, IOM said Friday. In total, 7,189 migrants and refugees have died or remain missing on migratory routs around the world, the International Organization for Migration said. That number is already 1,449 more than in all of 2015. And since it represents an average of 20 deaths per day, another 200 to 300 people could perish by the end of the year if the trend continues, the Geneva-based IOM warned in a statement. The Mediterranean Sea routes, used so far this year by nearly 360,000 people seeking a new...
(CNN 12/15/16)
In the sleepy, sun-blasted town of De Aar in central South Africa, a mighty force is stirring. The largest solar plant in Africa, Middle East and the Southern hemisphere was inaugurated here earlier this year, a 175-megawatt facility that spreads over almost 500 hectares. The facility is the brainchild of Solar Capital, led by hotel magnate turned solar evangelist Paschal Phelan, which ploughed $400 million into the venture. The plant supplies power to the National Grid, but when the heat is fiercest it produces far more than the Grid can use, and the excess power goes to waste. "It's like you have a Ferrari and you run a small car," says Massimiliano Salaorno, plant manager of Solar Capital De Aar...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/16)
Family planning helps people in Africa to be healthier and wealthier, as women without contraceptives become locked in "a cycle of poverty," Melinda Gates told AFP as a conference on the topic was held in Ivory Coast. "When a woman has access to contraceptives she can lift herself out of poverty, and if she doesn't have access to contraceptives, it locks her inside a cycle of poverty for the rest of her life," said the wife of Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates, whose foundation is very active in the field. Family planning has "huge health benefits for the woman and for her children, and it has economic benefits," Gates told AFP by telephone from the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan...
(Lusaka Times 12/13/16)
Both international and local media outlets have reported that five countries in West Africa have resolved not to import dirt fuels from Europe any more. This comes in the wake of whistle blower watch dog report that European refineries were exploiting weaker regulatory frameworks in Africa by exporting diesel containing very high levels of Sulphur content. And the United Nations (UN) has commended the move by the above countries in that it will help more than 250 million people breathe safer and cleaner air. Sulphur particles emitted by diesel engines are considered to be a major contributor to air pollution and are ranked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the top global health risks associated with heart...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/16)
The cocktails keep flowing by the pool on the tourist strip, but in The Gambia's markets many African migrant traders are packing up their businesses and heading home. The international community is piling pressure on President Yahya Jammeh to leave power after 22 years and hand over to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won an election two weeks ago only for Jammeh to later reverse his original concession of defeat. Of the economy's two main sources of investment from abroad, tourism appears to be weathering the country's political storm far better than the thousands of petty traders who move to The Gambia from the rest of west Africa. President-elect Barrow told AFP on Monday claims that tourist numbers could be...
(Le Monde 12/09/16)
Dozens of politicians, diplomats, military and intelligence chiefs, members of the opposition and leading business figures were wiretapped across the continent. This rare overview of modern satellite espionage could hardly be less technical and abstract, for it not only names the victims of intercepts but also reveals the scale of a surveillance operation spanning an entire continent. That continent is Africa. New documents shown to Le Monde, in collaboration with The Intercept, from the data cache of the former NSA (National Security Agency) operative Edward Snowden, originally given to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, offer unprecedented insight into information on twenty African countries collected by GCHQ, the British intelligence service, between 2009 and 2010. Dozens of lists of intercepts examined...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/07/16)
As the darkness falls on the plains around Bunambiyu, a remote village in Tanzania's northern Shinyanga region, Elizabeth Julius switches on her solar lantern to finish sewing clothes for her customers. Not long ago, nightfall would have forced her to close her tailoring shop, or use a smoky kerosene lamp. But with the solar-powered lamp, Julius can now sew for as long as she wants. "Solar energy has entirely changed my life. I use it at work and at home, yet it doesn't cost me anything," said the 29-year-old entrepreneur and mother of two. "I often wake up at night to work because I need the money to support my family," she said. Julius and her husband, Zablon, used to...
(APA 12/06/16)
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says Africa can yield benefits from commodity-based industrialization and agro-alliance with new policy approaches, according to a statement issued here Tuesday. The ECA has on many editions of its annual Economic Report made a push for the developmental state and a return to planning, arguing that the strong role of the state is key to fostering Africa’s structural transformation. The acting ECA Executive Secretary Abdalla Hamdok spoke on the need for new policy approaches to incentivize agricultural production in activities and sectors with higher returns. In his remarks at the opening of the African Economic Conference on the theme, Feeding Africa: Towards Agro-Allied Industrialization for Inclusive Growth, Hamdok said: “Our desire for structural transformation...
(Agence Ecofin 12/05/16)
Earlier this week, the government of Togo, during a council of ministers, adopted a decree to establish the Société d’Infrastructures Numériques or SNI (Digital Infrastructures Company). The firm will hold the nation’s strategic telecom capital. Clearly put, SIN will own the main telecom infrastructure used to provide quality telecom services across the nation. The decree states that the SIN could award a paid contract for the “management, operation and maintenance of the infrastructures to a private operator and make sure that agreements signed with their managers will be respected”. In a statement the government, after the council of ministers, said SIN’s creation falls under the West African Regional Programme for the Development of Communication
(AfricaNews 12/05/16)
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses failed to use home advantage and revenge in the final of the Women African Cup of Nations (AWCON 2016) losing by a goal to Nigeria’s Super Falcons. The Super Falcons thus successfully defended the title they won in 2014 by defeating Cameroon in Namibia. The hosts entered the final aiming to win their first title and avenge two previous defeats by Nigeria. But a late goal by Oparanozie Desire dashed hopes and sent disappointment through the teeming home fans. Desire slotted in from close range after a beautiful lob from team mate Ngozi Okobi hit a Cameroonian defender and fell on her path with six minutes to the end of the game. The remaining duration and three...
(Voice of America 12/02/16)
Activists are using the women's Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon to campaign for the protection of the continent's forests and animal species. The campaign, called “Sports for Nature," is spearheaded by conservationist groups who say some of Africa's natural resources are on the verge of going extinct. In Yaounde, birds sing at a makeshift park near the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium, one of the sites of the 2016 women's football African Cup of Nations. Conservationist Nevielle Tanyi points toward a crocodile walking nearby and describes the danger it poses to workers trying to maintain a pond. "When we provoke the crocodile to leave the pond area, it goes toward the side where there is no water and it normally...
(Xinhuanet 11/30/16)
Over 250 women security officers from 37 countries across Africa attending Africa Regional Convention of Women in Security Organs here vowed to step up efforts to stamp out gender-based violence (GBV) in the continent. The convention, organized according to the Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD), was designed to redraw strategies for women officers to play their role in the fight against crimes, especially child abuse and violence against women and girls. At the two-day event that opened Monday, the women officers from police, military and prison services called for more workshops and regular conferences and establishing anti-GBV centers in all member countries of KICD. They also called for prioritizing countries that need more attention in fighting violence against women and...
(Xinhuanet 11/29/16)
Experts in capital markets are advocating the acceleration of the bourses markets across Africa in order to drive economic growth on the continent. Speaking at the opening of Africa securities exchanges conference in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Monday, experts emphasized that capital markets are becoming more important to African economies because they help raise funds for long term investment which will drive Africa into middle income status. Rwanda hosts the 20th African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) annual conference from November 27 to 29 dubbed: "The Road to 2030: Making the African Capital Markets Relevant to the Real Economy." The three-day meeting has brought together more than 300 global and regional experts and stakeholders in capital markets, regulators, law firms...

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