Thursday 19 April 2018
(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.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/14/17)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Your afternoon chocolate bar may be fuelling climate change, destroying protected forests and threatening elephants, chimpanzees and hippos in West Africa, research suggests. Well-known brands, such as Mars and Nestle, are buying through global traders cocoa that is grown illegally in dwindling national parks and reserves in Ivory Coast and Ghana, environmental group Mighty Earth said. “Every consumer of chocolate is a part of either the problem or the solution,” Etelle Higonnet, campaign director at Mighty Earth, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “You can choose to buy ethical chocolate. Or you’re voting with your dollar for deforestation.” Nestle did not immediately respond to requests for comment while Mars said in an email: “We take a...
(AFP (eng) 09/13/17)
His family has ruled Togo for more than 50 years but President Faure Gnassingbe has in the last week faced unprecedented public pressure to step down. He and his country stand alone in West Africa in resisting calls for constitutional reform, even as parliament begins to look again at the issue. "Togo is the only ECOWAS country never to have seen any real democratic change," said political analyst Gilles Yabi, referring to the West African regional bloc. "The current regime is carrying on the one before it, which was one of the most brutal Africa had ever known," he told AFP. "Beyond (constitutional) reform, the Togolese people want real change." Faure Gnassingbe took over as Togo's president in 2005 after...
(The Associated Press 09/13/17)
Togo's parliament suspended its session Tuesday as opposition members protested the lack of a promised discussion of constitutional reforms, while anger grew over the 50-year-rule of the Gnassingbe family. Opposition lawmakers want a discussion on reinstating the country's 1992 constitution, which included presidential term limits and two rounds of voting to allow the opposition to reassemble behind one candidate. Thousands of people across the small West African nation have been demonstrating for term limits on President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since his father died in 2005. The protests began last month, when security forces killed at least two people and injured several others.
(Xinhuanet 09/13/17)
In an effort to promote economic development and solve complex conservation challenges facing world heritage sites, the African World Heritage Fund Patron and former President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba will host a business leader's breakfast event in Namibian Capital, Windhoek on Thursday. The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of the African Union and UNESCO, launched in 2006. Webber Ndoro, executive director of the African World Heritage Fund, at a media briefing on Tuesday in Windhoek said that the aim of the event is to promote a holistic private sector engagement, raise a sense of ownership and accountability for heritage protection as well as transmission of World Heritage sites in Namibia and Africa. "To...
(AFP (eng) 09/12/17)
Lawmakers in Togo met in parliament on Tuesday after days of anti-government protests but constitutional reform was left off the agenda. Opposition party supporters had hoped that changes to the political system would be discussed after the government proposed a bill on the subject last week. But according to the official parliamentary agenda, the only topic for debate was the National Assembly's administrative budget for 2018. Eric Dupuy, spokesman for the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, described the parliament as "out of sync with what's happening politically" in Togo. Opposition members of parliament requested the extraordinary session be ended immediately...
(AFP (eng) 09/12/17)
Togo on Monday cancelled an upcoming Africa-Israel summit, citing lack of time to prepare, after days of anti-government protests targeting President Faure Gnassingbe. The summit was due to have been held in the capital, Lome, late next month and was billed as a chance for closer cooperation in trade, security and diplomacy. "The summit has indeed been postponed," a source at Togo's foreign ministry told AFP, confirming an earlier statement from his counterparts in Israel. "No new date has been agreed yet," he added, without elaborating. Israel's foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Gnassingbe himself had requested the event be pushed back after discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "The president of Togo has emphasised that elaborate preparations are needed...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/12/17)
Olympic boxing’s governing body, AIBA, has banned African confederation head Kelani Bayor for three years for allegedly provoking the crowd at the continental championships in Brazzaville last June. Bayor is an AIBA vice-president and executive committee member as well as chairman of Togo’s national Olympic committee. “The Disciplinary Commission found that a hostile and threatening reaction to AIBA officials by spectators after the result of a bout on the last day of the competition was exacerbated by comments from Mr Bayor,” AIBA said in a statement on Monday. It found Bayor had “committed serious and unacceptable violations of the AIBA Disciplinary Code” at the tournament in Congo Republic. AIBA said the ban was from all boxing activities and responsibilities and...
(Myjoyonline 09/11/17)
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has cautioned the security in Togo to respect the peaceful protests by the civilians calling for an immediate end to the 50-year rule of the current government. The former Ghanaian leader in a statement Monday, described the situation in the neigbouring country as one of "great concern". There is uneasy calm in Togo following series of protests across the country with some residents fleeing their homes. The protesters want the country to return to the use of the 1992 constitution which imposes limits on presidential terms. But according to former President Rawlings: "The description of an imminent civil war by some commentators shows the extent to which the situation has regressed." The situation in Togo...
(Bloomberg 09/11/17)
The South African companies that dominate the U.K.’s growing private hospital industry are counting on more people like Katie Corrie. A children’s party entertainer, Corrie opted to use 13,000 pounds ($17,000) of her savings and inheritance to get a hip replacement rather than spend months on a National Health Service waiting list. Britons like her are forking out almost 1 billion pounds a year to cover their own medical expenses, a trend that’s giving at least one industry the scope to look past Brexit turmoil. “Even if I hadn’t had the money put aside, I would have found a way to pay for it,” said Corrie, 50, who estimates the business she runs with her husband would have lost 10,000...

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