Friday 19 January 2018

Toute l'afrique

(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
GENEVA (Reuters) - Militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are uniting in opposition to President Joseph Kabila, a senior U.N. official there told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday. In 2017, a brutal conflict in Congo’s southwestern Kasai region drew international attention and condemnation because of reports of atrocities by pro-government militias. Less attention was paid to escalating violence by armed groups in eastern provinces bordering Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia. “What we hear is that whilst initially some of these armed groups were in it for themselves - they would burn a village, and pillage, rape, burn and scorch the earth - it seems now that they have more of a...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Somali government responded to widespread criticism by aid agencies on Wednesday, promising to investigate reports that thousands of families fleeing drought and conflict were forcefully evicted from more than 20 informal camps. The United Nations and groups such as the Somalia NGO Consortium say more than 4,000 families, or about 20,000 people, had their homes bulldozed last month inside settlements on the outskirts of the capital of Mogadishu. The demolitions on private land were unannounced, they said, and pleas by the community - largely women and children...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s government needs to explain the benefits and risks of its new flexible currency system, which will stoke inflation, the head of the state High Planning Commission told Reuters on Wednesday. Ahmed Lahlimi said annual inflation will rise to around 1.6 percent in 2018 from 0.2 percent last year as oil prices have been rising and because imports of food and other goods will become more expensive. The North African country launched this week a more flexible...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
The European Union late Wednesday suspended a large-scale water conservation project in Kenya after evictions of local indigenous people turned fatally violent this week. The indefinite suspension of the $38 million (31 million euro) project follows the reported killing of a member of the local Sengwer community by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers on Tuesday. Regarded as squatters by government, the Sengwer people have resisted efforts to move them from the Embobut Forest, which they see as ancestral lands. The scheme aims at conserving forested areas in Kenya's western highlands that are a crucial rainwater catchment area.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
MARSABIT, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Widow Ahatho Turuga lost 20 of her goats to drought early last year, but the shopkeeper is planning to reinvest in her herd once she has saved enough money. “I think I will start with four goats and see how it goes,” she said, rearranging soap on the upper shelf of her shop in Loglogo, a few kilometers from Marsabit town. She recalled how frequent droughts had left her on the edge of desperation,...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has fired his powerful intelligence chief, state media said Thursday, in the latest shake-up of the country's security services. Sisi appointed his chief-of-staff and close ally General Abbas Kamel as interim replacement for outgoing intelligence head General Khaled Fawzy, according to state media. No reason was given for the move, which comes ahead of presidential elections to be held in March. Sisi, who has run the country with an iron fist since 2014, has not...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday called on prosecutors to act urgently in pursuit of a firm owned by friends of scandal-plagued President Jacob Zuma, as pressure mounted on him to step down. Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma as head of the ruling African National Congress last month, making him likely to replace Zuma as the country’s next president in 2019 - or even earlier, if Zuma resigns. In recent days he has gone on the offensive against companies controlled by the Gupta family, businessmen friends of Zuma accused of unduly using political...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
President Macky Sall on Thursday suspended all authorisations for logging and ordered an overhaul of Senegal's forestry laws after a massacre connected to the illegal trade in timber. In a statement, Sall said he had instructed the government "to suspend until further orders all authorisations for logging and to immediately proceed with a revision of the forestry code." He also urged the armed forces to "use all necessary means to permanently neutralise all armed groups" operating on national soil. On...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
The Nigerian armed forces have joined the hunt for two Americans and two Canadians who were kidnapped in an ambush, a military source told AFP on Thursday. Kidnappers seized the four on Tuesday evening in northern Kaduna state, shooting dead two of their Nigerian police escorts in the latest abduction targeting foreigners. "We are on it and making some progress," said the military source in Kaduna, on condition of anonymity. "We have a special team now that arrived from Abuja, they have now joined with the team that are here."
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Thursday at talks in Cairo they were opposed to any "conflict" over the sharing of Nile waters. Sisi said that Desalegn's visit was "a clear sign for our peoples and the entire world of our political will and determination to overcome all obstacles" between the two countries. The Nile should serve as "a source of cohesion... and development, not of conflict" with Ethiopia, which is building a controversial...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Cape Town will next month slash its individual daily water consumption limit by 40 percent to 50 litres, the mayor said Thursday, as the city battles its worst drought in a century. Mayor Patricia de Lille has warned that if rains do not materialise and drastic consumption reductions are not achieved the normal water supply will be shut off. Instead residents will have to queue at standpipes for daily water rations of 25 litres (6.6 US gallons). "We have reached...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, the country's new president has said, pointing to an earlier date than expected following the ousting of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office in November after a shock military takeover ended Mugabe's 37-year reign. "Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace," Mnangagwa said Wednesday during a visit to neighbouring Mozambique. Mnangagwa, 75, vowed to hold...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Ten people were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday in a double suicide-bomb attack in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a civilian militia leader and a resident told AFP. The blasts happened in the Muna Garage area of the Borno state capital, in a market used mainly by internally displaced people (IDPs) from a nearby camp. "I can confirm that 10 people have died in the attack," said Ibrahim Liman, of the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), which assists the...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Two Americans and two Canadians have been kidnapped and two Nigerian police escorts killed in an ambush in northern Kaduna state, police said Wednesday, in the latest abduction targeting foreigners. State police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu said "unknown armed men" seized the four North Americans on the road to Abuja at 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday. "They engaged in a fierce gun battle with the two police escorts attached to the expatriates, who unfortunately lost their lives," he added. No further details were given and Aliyu said "every possible means" were being used to rescue the four abductees and arrest the kidnappers. In Washington, a State Department official referred to the abduction of only one US citizen.
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Privately-owned newspapers went back on sale in Mauritania on Wednesday for the first time in more than a month, after a paper shortage forced them off the shelves and prompted complaints from the national press union. A government-funded printing press covers two-thirds of private publications' costs in the French and Arabic-speaking West African nation, while such media are barred from publishing advertisements from public bodies to raise their own money. On Wednesday, "The Nouakchott Daily" and the weekly Arabic-language "Al-Akhbar"...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Congo's government met with members of a key rebel group on Wednesday for the first time since a landmark ceasefire was signed after months of renewed armed conflict in the oil-rich nation. Fighters loyal to ex-rebel chief Frederic Bintsamou -- seen as having disbanded after a 2003 peace deal -- rose up again in April last year in protest at the re-election of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. The fighting in the southern Pool region affected at least 138,000 people and...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
YENAGOA/LAGOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian militants threatened on Wednesday to attack off-shore oil facilities within days, raising fears of a repeat of a 2016 wave of violence that helped push Africa’s biggest economy into recession. The Niger Delta Avengers - the fighters behind many of the 2016 attacks - said they had planned the assaults after giving up on talks to give their impoverished southern region a greater share of the oil revenue it produced. “This round of attacks will...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
It's been seven years since they ousted their longtime dictator in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings, but Tunisians are still taking to the streets. Why, after so long, has the country been unable to tackle its economic problems? Unemployment, corruption and austerity measures in the 2018 budget have fuelled widespread protests as the North African country marked the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. While Tunisia has been praised as...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Two Nigerian civil servants are facing charges for allegedly embezzling funds earmarked for a day to publicise the fight against corruption, a court official told AFP Wednesday. The pair, from the federal ministry of power, works and housing, are accused of diverting 4.5 million naira ($12,500) out of five million naira allocated to mark International Anti-Corruption Day in 2014. Deputy director Mohammed Musa Abimiku and Micah Paman, who was serving as the chairman of the ministry's anti-corruption and transparency unit,...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Civil servants in Benin walked out on Wednesday, calling for the repeal of a new law banning them from taking industrial action. The three-day strike, called for by seven trade unions representing public sector workers in areas such as health and the justice system, began on Tuesday. Many courts, schools and medical clinics in the country's commercial capital, Cotonou, were deserted as a result, according to AFP reporters in the city. In response, the government attempted to get workers back...

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(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Somali government responded to widespread criticism by aid agencies on Wednesday, promising to investigate reports that thousands of families fleeing drought and conflict were forcefully evicted from more than 20 informal camps. The United Nations and groups such as the Somalia NGO Consortium say more than 4,000 families, or about 20,000 people, had their homes bulldozed last month inside settlements on the outskirts of the capital of Mogadishu. The demolitions on private land were unannounced, they said, and pleas by the community - largely women and children...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
The European Union late Wednesday suspended a large-scale water conservation project in Kenya after evictions of local indigenous people turned fatally violent this week. The indefinite suspension of the $38 million (31 million euro) project follows the reported killing of a member of the local Sengwer community by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers on Tuesday. Regarded as squatters by government, the Sengwer people have resisted efforts to move them from the Embobut Forest, which they see as ancestral lands. The scheme aims at conserving forested areas in Kenya's western highlands that are a crucial rainwater catchment area.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
MARSABIT, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Widow Ahatho Turuga lost 20 of her goats to drought early last year, but the shopkeeper is planning to reinvest in her herd once she has saved enough money. “I think I will start with four goats and see how it goes,” she said, rearranging soap on the upper shelf of her shop in Loglogo, a few kilometers from Marsabit town. She recalled how frequent droughts had left her on the edge of desperation,...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
President Macky Sall on Thursday suspended all authorisations for logging and ordered an overhaul of Senegal's forestry laws after a massacre connected to the illegal trade in timber. In a statement, Sall said he had instructed the government "to suspend until further orders all authorisations for logging and to immediately proceed with a revision of the forestry code." He also urged the armed forces to "use all necessary means to permanently neutralise all armed groups" operating on national soil. On...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
The Nigerian armed forces have joined the hunt for two Americans and two Canadians who were kidnapped in an ambush, a military source told AFP on Thursday. Kidnappers seized the four on Tuesday evening in northern Kaduna state, shooting dead two of their Nigerian police escorts in the latest abduction targeting foreigners. "We are on it and making some progress," said the military source in Kaduna, on condition of anonymity. "We have a special team now that arrived from Abuja, they have now joined with the team that are here."
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Cape Town will next month slash its individual daily water consumption limit by 40 percent to 50 litres, the mayor said Thursday, as the city battles its worst drought in a century. Mayor Patricia de Lille has warned that if rains do not materialise and drastic consumption reductions are not achieved the normal water supply will be shut off. Instead residents will have to queue at standpipes for daily water rations of 25 litres (6.6 US gallons). "We have reached...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Ten people were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday in a double suicide-bomb attack in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a civilian militia leader and a resident told AFP. The blasts happened in the Muna Garage area of the Borno state capital, in a market used mainly by internally displaced people (IDPs) from a nearby camp. "I can confirm that 10 people have died in the attack," said Ibrahim Liman, of the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), which assists the...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Two Americans and two Canadians have been kidnapped and two Nigerian police escorts killed in an ambush in northern Kaduna state, police said Wednesday, in the latest abduction targeting foreigners. State police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu said "unknown armed men" seized the four North Americans on the road to Abuja at 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday. "They engaged in a fierce gun battle with the two police escorts attached to the expatriates, who unfortunately lost their lives," he added. No further details were given and Aliyu said "every possible means" were being used to rescue the four abductees and arrest the kidnappers. In Washington, a State Department official referred to the abduction of only one US citizen.
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Privately-owned newspapers went back on sale in Mauritania on Wednesday for the first time in more than a month, after a paper shortage forced them off the shelves and prompted complaints from the national press union. A government-funded printing press covers two-thirds of private publications' costs in the French and Arabic-speaking West African nation, while such media are barred from publishing advertisements from public bodies to raise their own money. On Wednesday, "The Nouakchott Daily" and the weekly Arabic-language "Al-Akhbar"...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
YENAGOA/LAGOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian militants threatened on Wednesday to attack off-shore oil facilities within days, raising fears of a repeat of a 2016 wave of violence that helped push Africa’s biggest economy into recession. The Niger Delta Avengers - the fighters behind many of the 2016 attacks - said they had planned the assaults after giving up on talks to give their impoverished southern region a greater share of the oil revenue it produced. “This round of attacks will...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Two Nigerian civil servants are facing charges for allegedly embezzling funds earmarked for a day to publicise the fight against corruption, a court official told AFP Wednesday. The pair, from the federal ministry of power, works and housing, are accused of diverting 4.5 million naira ($12,500) out of five million naira allocated to mark International Anti-Corruption Day in 2014. Deputy director Mohammed Musa Abimiku and Micah Paman, who was serving as the chairman of the ministry's anti-corruption and transparency unit,...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Civil servants in Benin walked out on Wednesday, calling for the repeal of a new law banning them from taking industrial action. The three-day strike, called for by seven trade unions representing public sector workers in areas such as health and the justice system, began on Tuesday. Many courts, schools and medical clinics in the country's commercial capital, Cotonou, were deserted as a result, according to AFP reporters in the city. In response, the government attempted to get workers back...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The United Nations this year will seek more than $1.5 billion to respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an official said Tuesday, warning the country was at a "breaking point". "The size of the crisis in the Congo is really challenging our collective ability to respond", said the UN migration agency's chief envoy to the country, Jean-Philippe Chauzy. The African giant has been plagued by near-relentless instability since independence from Belgium in 1960. Evem so, "no-one was expecting the humanitarian crisis to expand to such an extent last year," Chauzy told reporters in Geneva.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
A group of Tanzanian Muslims who have been held in prison since 2013 on terror charges stripped naked in an unusual protest to demand the start of their trial, a witness said Wednesday. Some 60 Muslims were detained nearly five years ago following a series of deadly attacks in Arusha, a mainly Christian city in the north, but they have yet to go on trial. A witness, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the incident occurred on Tuesday morning when...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
About 200 protesters marched Wednesday in the Sudanese capital's twin city of Omdurman against rising food prices, with anti-riot police firing tear gas to disperse the rally. Prices of food items but mainly bread have surged in past weeks across Sudan after a jump in the cost of flour due to a shortage of wheat supplies. Sporadic protests have since erupted in parts of Sudan, including Khartoum, with demonstrators coming out onto the streets in their hundreds. "No, no to...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Eight children have died after suffering acute food poisoning believed to have been caused by eating sea turtle meat in northern Madagascar, the country's health service said on Tuesday. The consumption of sea turtles and 24 other fish species by humans is not recommended by experts, as they are known to consume toxic algae that can prove lethal in the summer months. "Twenty-seven people suffered food poisoning, of which eight died between January 8 and January 9 after eating sea...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
A cyclone in the southwest Indian Ocean was heading on Tuesday towards the holiday paradise of Mauritius and the French island of La Reunion, government officials and weather experts said. The storm on Monday amplified to the status of intense tropical cyclone -- broadly equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic, they said. However, it was downgraded on Tuesday to a tropical cyclone, roughly equivalent to a Category 2 event, packing heavy rain and peak gusts of 150-180...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Police in Ghana on Tuesday said they were investigating whether three people had links to extremist groups after they were arrested following the discovery of suspected explosives in the capital. The Ghana Police Service announced in a statement late on Monday that the suspects were detained after the discovery in the Odorkor area of Accra. On Tuesday it said three men -- identified as Ismaila Ali Musah, Abdul Karim Yakubu and Osman Hassan -- had been charged with possession of explosives and remanded in custody to reappear in court on January 30. No further details were given and Ghana's most senior police officer, Inspector General of Police...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Boko Haram jihadists have killed nine people in two separate attacks in northeast Nigeria, militia members and local residents said on Tuesday, underlining the persistent threat to civilians. The first attack happened at about 11:00 am (1000 GMT) on Monday when six people collecting firewood were shot dead in Jinene village, near the border town of Ngala, in Borno state. The second occurred in Pallam village, in the Madagali area of neighbouring Adamawa state, at about 11:30 pm, and saw the militants seize food, before burning several shops and homes.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
"We first heard gunshots. Then we saw the horses arrive, each carrying two or three men, armed with Kalashnikovs, rifles, bows and arrows," Charles Tombe says. "They shot at everyone -- we fled into the bush. There are corpses over there, rotting." Tombe, 52, ran a small medical centre, which he said was burned down along with all the other houses after the village of Bekoro Misso was looted. He is one of numerous eyewitnesses AFP interviewed about militia violence...

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(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s government needs to explain the benefits and risks of its new flexible currency system, which will stoke inflation, the head of the state High Planning Commission told Reuters on Wednesday. Ahmed Lahlimi said annual inflation will rise to around 1.6 percent in 2018 from 0.2 percent last year as oil prices have been rising and because imports of food and other goods will become more expensive. The North African country launched this week a more flexible foreign exchange system, part of free-market reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund to protect the economy against external shocks and safeguard its foreign reserves. The dirham has hardly moved since against major currencies, easing...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
It's been seven years since they ousted their longtime dictator in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings, but Tunisians are still taking to the streets. Why, after so long, has the country been unable to tackle its economic problems? Unemployment, corruption and austerity measures in the 2018 budget have fuelled widespread protests as the North African country marked the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. While Tunisia has been praised as a model of democratic transition, post-revolution governments have struggled to improve living standards and tackle pervasive graft. Why the new protests? "Work, bread and national dignity" -- that was the slogan that rallied Tunisian protestors in 2011. But a growth...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
As demand for batteries drives a surge in the price of cobalt, the Democratic Republic of Congo is gearing up to overhaul its mining regulations to harvest more profit from the coveted metal. The global boom for smartphones and electric cars has pushed up the price of cobalt, a key ingredient in top-range batteries, to $75,000 (almost 63,000 euros) a tonne -- an increase of 127 percent in one year. DR Congo is the world's leading producer of cobalt, where authorities consider the previous mining code to favour foreign investors at the expense of the economy. The central African country is also the top African producer of copper, currently trading on the London Metal Exchange...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
South Africa is fighting to revive its frayed clothing industry, once a crucial provider of jobs in a country suffering from high unemployment, as a flood of cheap imports forces local factories to shutter and lay off workers. Once the economic lifeblood of many small regional towns, the abundance of cheaper products from China has led to the loss of nearly two-thirds of the sector's jobs over the past two decades. "After being employed for 22 years we were informed that the factory would close down in eight weeks," said Vimla Padayachee, 46, who lost her job three years ago.
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
South African prosecutors said Tuesday they are seeking $130 million from global consultancy McKinsey and a local firm linked to a graft scandal that has engulfed President Jacob Zuma. The announcement was the first move against the Gupta family that is accused of corrupt dealings with Zuma, including allegations it profited from lucrative government contracts and chose ministerial appointments. The local company, Trillian, was controlled by an associate of the Guptas at the time of the allegations in 2015 and...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
Nigerian stocks have jumped to a nine-year high as Africa's biggest economy emerges from its worst recession in 25 years, buoyed by the high price of oil at $69 a barrel. The country's main equity index grew 12 percent this year in dollar terms, pushing it to the highest level since 2008, according to Bloomberg News. Investors are buying the cheapest stocks in Africa, confident that the Nigerian economy is set to recover and oil prices will stay high. "2018...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Morocco will start a gradual and controlled liberalisation of its currency the dirham from Monday, Prime Minister Saad-Eddine Al-Othmani said after a cabinet meeting. The North African country has had a fixed exchange rate regime for the dirham since the 1970s. It is pegged to the euro and the dollar. Othmani spoke to AFP on Friday after a cabinet meeting during which the long-expected decision was taken. The process of moving towards what the authorities call a "flexible exchange rate"...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Angolan President Joao Lourenco removed the son of his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos from the top job at the oil-rich country's sovereign wealth fund, the presidency said on Wednesday. Jose Filomeno dos Santos, who was implicated in the "Panama Papers" offshore scandal, will be replaced by former finance minister Carlos Alberto Lopes. Last year's "Panama Papers" revelations showed how the world's wealthy used a discreet Panamanian legal firm to stash assets offshore. The investment fund under Dos Santos Jr's control has been shown to have transferred tens of millions of dollars to businessman Jean-Claude "Zenu" Bastos de Morais to run the organisation.
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
The Sudanese pound hit an all-time low against the dollar on the black market Tuesday, brokers said, fuelling concerns of soaring inflation as importers rushed to buy the US currency. On Tuesday, the pound reaching 30 to a dollar on the black market, its lowest level ever. The official rate is 18 pounds to a dollar. An acute shortage of dollars has weakened the Sudanese pound steadily, with the currency losing about 60 percent in the past year on the...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Angry Sudanese queued outside bakeries in Khartoum on Friday as bread prices doubled overnight, with bakers blaming a government decision to stop importing wheat. Customers had to wait nearly an hour to buy a loaf, while several bakery operators said price hikes on flour meant they would be forced to stop production entirely. "All bakeries have decided to raise the price of bread after the price of flour was raised yesterday," Mohamed al-Saeed, a member of a bakery owners' union,...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Libya's oil revenues have more than tripled in 2017 despite violence and political instability, according to figures released Friday by the central bank. The backbone of the North African country's economy, Libya's oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Oil output fell from 1.6 million barrels per day to less than 500,000 bpd between 2014 and 2016 due to violence around production facilities and export terminals as rival militias fought for control. Despite revenues surging to $14 billion (12 billion euros) in 2017, up from $4.8 billion...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/18)
Egypt's grand mufti has said that bitcoin is forbidden in Islam, warning the digital currency could be used for criminal purposes. Bitcoin, launched in 2009 and based on a peer-to-peer payment system, poses "high risks to individuals and states," Shawqi Allam said in a published ruling. It could provide "stable and secure financial resources for terrorists and criminal groups," said Allam, who acts as the country's official interpreter of Islamic law. Minting and issuing currency is an "absolute right" of monetary institutions and "one of the most specific functions of the state," he said. Bitcoin is a virtual currency created from computer code.
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Small lines formed at banks in Mauritania on New Year's Day as customers withdrew new banknotes and swapped cheque books after the government revamped the currency, the ouguiya, in a bid to fight inflation. Ten ouguiyas became one ouguiya as of January 1, requiring new banknotes and a six-month phasing out of the old ones, starting with the largest denomination of 5,000 ouguiya ($14.10, 11.76 euros). President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced the change on November 28, the West African state's national holiday. The revamp, he said, would the ouguiya "to resume its place in financial transactions...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
The scandal-hit South African retail giant Steinhoff announced Tuesday it would restate some financial results for 2015 and 2016 amid a probe into accounting irregularities. Last month, Steinhoff revealed it was under criminal and tax investigations, with a reported six-billion-euro ($7-billion) hole in its accounts. "The 2016 and 2015 financial statements of Steinhoff Investment Holdings Limited will need to be restated and can no longer be relied upon," the company said in a statement. Steinhoff had been a darling of...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/17)
Credit ratings agency Moody's downgraded debt held by embattled South Africa-based home retail giant Steinhoff on Thursday and warned of further downgrades amid "increasing pressure" on the company's cashflow. Moody's said in a statement it was cutting Steinhoff's credit rating from "B1", or speculative with a high credit risk, to "Caa1", or poor quality and a very high risk. Earlier this month, Steinhoff revealed it was under criminal and tax investigations over suspicions of accounting irregularities, with a reported six...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/17)
Morocco's Royal Air Maroc has ordered four 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft from US aviation giant Boeing for delivery at the end of next year, the two companies said Wednesday. The new aircraft, worth $1.1 billion at list price, would allow the flagship carrier "to expand its services, especially internationally", a Boeing statement said. The delivery "at the end of 2018" would bring to 60 the number of planes in the airline's fleet, an official at the Moroccan flagship carrier told AFP...
(AFP (eng) 12/27/17)
An explosion on a pipeline carrying crude oil from Libya's south to a port terminal in its north Tuesday will slash production, the National Oil Company said. ‏"NOC continues to investigate the causes of the explosion" north of the town of Marada, it said in a statement. The company said it expected production to drop by between 70,000 and 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) after the blast along the pipeline from Zaggut to the eastern port of Al-Sidra, one of...
(AFP (eng) 12/27/17)
Long queues formed at petrol stations across Nigeria Tuesday, with motorists sometimes waiting up to 24 hours to fill up their tanks, as Africa's number one oil producer faces a crippling fuel shortage. "I couldn't travel. I would have loved to travel to Osun State (north of Lagos) to spend time with my family (for Christmas), but I cancelled on that one," motorist Tope Alake told AFP as he waited at one of the few petrol stations still open in...
(AFP (eng) 12/23/17)
Angola has suffered a week of fuel shortages, a bitter irony for one of Africa's leading oil producers, and a hardship that some people blame on opponents of President Joao Lourenco. The majority of petrol stations in the capital Luanda have had long lines of motorists for seven days now, all waiting for the chance to fill up their tanks. "We don't have any more," said Henriques Carvalho, a pump attendant in the Bairro Popular district. "They came here to...
(AFP 12/21/17)
It was supposed to be tiny Cape Verde's moment to shine: a chance for the Atlantic island nation to take up the rotating presidency of the commission of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). But the archipelago has found itself once again out of step with its mainland cousins, who decided to hand the responsibility to Ivory Coast at a meeting in Nigeria last weekend. Cape Verde is different. A pillar of democracy, stability and human rights,...

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(AFP (eng) 11/15/17)
Belgian coach Marc Wilmots parted ways with Ivory Coast Wednesday after failing to help the west African country to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia. Ivory Coast lost their decisive World Cup match 2-0 to Morocco on Saturday, leading to talks between the federation and Wilmots. "At the end of talks, the two parties agreed to amicably end their collaboration, all the while praising the good atmosphere during the six months of work together," the federation said. Ex-Belgium coach Wilmots, 48, had signed a two-year deal with Ivory Coast in March, with a possibility to extend that by a further two years. jlf/lp/gj
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
South African prosecutors argued Friday that Oscar Pistorius' six-year jail sentence for murder must be increased, saying he failed to show genuine remorse after killing his girlfriend. The Paralympic athlete shot dead Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet. He pleaded not guilty at his trial in 2014 and has always denied that he killed Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar. At a one-day hearing at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, state prosecutors fought for the right to appeal against what they described as a "shockingly lenient" sentence. Pistorius, 30, was not present for the latest stage...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
Tanzanian marathon runner Ismael Juma died on Thursday when his motorbike collided with a lorry, Athletics Tanzania (AT) announced on Friday. The 26-year-old was one of Tanzania's hopes for a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April. "Tanzania athletics has lost one of its top long distance runners," AT secretary general Wilhelm Gidabuday told AFP. "Ismail Juma was one of 19 athletes selected to start training later this month for the Commonwealth Games in Australia." Gidabuday...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/09/17)
Papa Massata Diack has described accusations he was part of a large corruption racket involved in determining the location of the Olympic games as the biggest lie in the history of world sport. France’s financial prosecutor said this week that investigations had revealed a corruption scheme centered on Diack, the son of the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack. The prosecutor said there were indications that payments were made in return for the votes of IAAF and International Olympic
(AFP (eng) 06/29/17)
Authorities in Tunisia on Wednesday announced they have frozen the assets of football club magnate and former presidential hopeful Slim Riahi on suspicions of money laundering. An investigating judge imposed the restriction on all of Riahi's shares on the stock market, bank accounts and property, said prosecution spokesman Sofiene Sliti. The announcement comes after the government launched what Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has called a "war" on graft from which he said nobody involved in corruption would emerge unscathed. Corruption...
(AFP (eng) 06/18/17)
Ivory Coast international Cheick Tiote, whose sudden death in China at just 30 years old shocked his country, was laid to rest Sunday as he was hailed a "worthy son" of the African nation. Tiote, a 52-time capped player who featured at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, was honoured with a military funeral at the Williamsville cemetery in Abidjan where hundreds of people gathered to mourn. "Ivory Coast has lost a worthy son who served so bravely, who fought...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
The agent of the late Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote on Wednesday called for the media to cease making unsubstantiated claims about the reasons for his death. The 52-time capped star -- a member of the Ivory Coast squad that ended a 23-year drought in winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations -- died after fainting during training with second division side Beijing Enterprises on June 5. He was 30 years of age. His death shocked the football world, reverberating...
(AFP (eng) 06/06/17)
Ivory Coast international midfielder Cheick Tiote has died aged 30 while training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, his spokesman announced in a statement on Monday. Tiote, who was part of the Ivory Coast squad that delivered the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a 23 year drought although he was injured for the final, had only moved to China in February after ending a seven year stay with English outfit Newcastle United. "It is with deep sadness that I...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
South Africa's Akani Simbine surprised a world-class sprint field, including Justin Gatlin, Asafa Powell and Andre De Grasse to claim a season-opening 100m Diamond League victory on Friday. The 23-year-old powered home in a time of 9.99sec to become the first South African man to win a Diamond League 100m, and serve notice that the Blue Riband event could be more competitive than for some time with the impending international retirement of Usain Bolt. "I'm happy with my shape now,...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
Reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya narrowly failed in his attempt to complete the distance under the previously insurmountable two-hour mark, finishing in a time of 2hr 00min 24sec on Saturday. The time, which smashed the world record of 2hr 02min 57sec set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya, will not enter the record books largely because of the non-compliant system of pacemaking used in the attempt, made on the Monza National Autodrome racing circuit. For the entire attempt, Kipchoge ran behind a six-man pacesetting team which trailed a time-keeping vehicle by less than 10 metres. Despite narrowly missing the mark, Kipchoge said he believed it was possible and that he could make
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
Sports Minister Bidoung Mkpatt has called on Cameroon's athletes to come away with as many medals as possible at the Islamic Solidarity Games which take place in Baku from May 12-22. Mkpatt made the comments at a farewell ceremony for the team in Yaounde. The west African country is sending 62 athletes to the Azerbaijan capital and they will compete in six sports -- athletics, football, weightlifting, handball, wrestling and judo. Four years ago, Cameroon took part in the third edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games in Palembang, Indonesia in 2013, but could only come away with one bronze medal
(AFP (eng) 04/22/17)
Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele believes he is in the sort of form to break Eliud Kipchoge's fastest ever time in the London Marathon on Sunday. Should the 34-year-old -- who still holds the 5,000 and 10,000 metres world records -- manage that it would be a fitting end to a week that has seen the great race receive even more advance publicity than usual. That has been thanks to Britain's Prince Harry revealing earlier this week he had sought...
(AFP (eng) 03/25/17)
Cameroon began their reign as African champions with a 1-0 friendly victory over Tunisia in Monastir Friday thanks to a Vincent Aboubakar goal. The Turkey-based striker took advantage of his first scoring opportunity to beat Aymen Mathlouthi after 14 minutes in the Mediterranean resort. Aboubakar had several other chances, including a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but could not add to his tally. Tunisians Taha Yassine Khenissi and Syam Ben Youssef were foiled by the woodwork during the first half. Aboubakar...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/17)
Frank Fredericks will stay on the IAAF Council while an ethics board reviews allegations that he accepted payments before the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio, Sebastian Coe, the organization's head, said on Tuesday. Fredericks, an International Olympic Committee member, stepped down two weeks ago as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics and has also removed himself from the IAAF task force looking into doping in Russia. Despite the allegations, however, he will remain a member of the IAAF council while the ethics board determines if an investigation is necessary.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/18/17)
Kenya's national Olympic committee has escaped the threat of suspension after failing to adopt a new constitution but funding will continue to be withheld until further notice, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Saturday. The IOC froze financial support to Kenya nine days ago, after the country's troubled national committee (NOCK) failed to adopt a revised constitution, and said it would discuss the matter at its executive board (EB) meeting in Pyeongchang this week, leading to speculation that it...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
Madagascar's football chief Ahmad Ahmad was elected president of the Confederation of African Football Thursday, ousting veteran leader Issa Hayatou after 29 years in office. Ahmad won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou's 20, official results showed. Delegates cheered and pumped their fists in the plenary hall after the result was announced. Ahmad, a 57-year-old father of two, had a discreet playing and coaching career before he took the reins of the Madagascar football federation...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Former sprinter Frankie Fredericks quit as head of the IOC commission monitoring candidates for the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday amid a probe into money he accepted from a sports marketing chief accused of corruption. Fredericks, 49, strongly denied any wrongdoing in accepting nearly $300,000 (283,000 euros) on the day that Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Olympics. But he said he had "personally decided that it is in the best interests of a good functioning of the International Olympic Committee candidature process that I step aside as chairperson of the 2024 Evaluation Commission
(AFP (eng) 03/07/17)
Former sprinter Frankie Fredericks said on Monday he had stepped down from an IAAF taskforce investigating Russian doping amid a corruption probe. "I have decided to step aside from the taskforce so that the integrity of its work is not questioned due to the allegations made against me in Le Monde," the 49-year-old Namibian was quoted as saying in an IAAF statement. "It is important that the taskforce's mission is seen as free and fair with no outside influence." Le...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/17)
Nigeria looks likely to back Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou for re-election, despite the personal preferences of the head of the country's football association. Sports minister Solomon Dalung told a meeting of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) executive committee they would vote in "Nigerian interest" at next month's vote. Long-time CAF boss Hayatou is seeking another term of office but NFF president Amaju Pinnick has said his preferred candidate was Madagascar's Ahmad Ahmad. Dalung indicated that by "Nigerian...
(AFP (eng) 02/26/17)
Kenya's Wilson Kipsang stormed to victory in the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday in the fastest race ever run in Japan. The former world record holder clocked 2hr 3min 58sec over a flatter course than in previous years as he added the Tokyo title to victories in London, New York and Berlin. Sarah Chepchirchir won the women's race in a personal best 2:19:47 -- the first sub-2:20 in Japan -- to complete a perfect day for Kenya. The top six men's...

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(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Cameroonian author Patrice Nganang has had his custody extended by 48 hours by the authorities, his lawyer said Tuesday, nearly a week after his arrest for publishing an article critical of the country's president. "His detention was extended (Monday) for 48 hours by the state prosecutor," lawyer Emmanuel Simh told AFP, adding that Nganang would "in principle" appear before the prosecutor after its expiry. Simh said the detention was "illegal" because Nganang was not initially notified he was being placed in custody. Police say Nganang made an online death threat against President Paul Biya, but Cameroon writers and activists have called for his unconditional release. Nganang, who teaches literature at New York University, published last...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
A frank documentary about the lives of gay Tunisians received an enthusiastic welcome at a local film festival Friday despite homosexuality being a crime in the North African country. "It's brilliant. If this film made it, then of course we can screen many others," said Sikander, a member of the audience who only gave his first name, as he left the theatre at the Carthage Film Festival. The room of 500 seats was not big enough to fit all those who flocked to see "Upon the shadow", an intimate -- at times explicit -- portrait of a group of transvestite and gay friends speaking openly about their love lives, being rejected by their families and their fear of the police...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
In Madagascar, ceremonies in which families exhume the remains of dead relatives, rewrap them in fresh cloth and dance with the corpses are a sacred ritual. But an outbreak of plague sweeping the Indian Ocean island nation has prompted warnings that the macabre spectacle, known as the turning of the bones or body turning, presents a serious risk of contamination. On a recent baking hot Saturday in Ambohijafy, a village outside the capital Antananarivo, a "turning" procession snaked through the...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Zekarias Mesfin spent months making a movie about his dangerous illegal migration from Ethiopia -- and when he arrived at the film's premiere, he was in a coffin carried by six white-gloved pallbearers. Not that Zekarias, 33, was dead. But he chose the dramatic entrance to show how close to death he came 12 years ago when he left his home in Ethiopia to journey across the deserts of Sudan and Egypt to try to get to Israel. "I was...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
A documentary about the back-breaking work of a young Congolese coal seller to feed his family has won the top prize at the Cannes film festival's Critics' Week. "Makala" by French director Emmanuel Gras follows Kabwita, who goes door-to-door selling coal on his bicycle in the southern Democratic Republic of Congo. "Makala" means coal in Swahili. "There is something beautiful and dignified in his work," the director told AFP, "earning his living by the sweat of his brow. "I wanted to show a man of action, not someone in (the misery) of poverty but someone who lives their life," he added.
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
Tunisian and international non-governmental organisations warned Tuesday of deteriorating freedom of the press in a country considered to be a rare success story of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. "The Tunisian government these past weeks has not stopped tightening its grip on the press," they said in a joint statement published on World Press Freedom Day. Twenty-five associations, including the Tunisian Press Syndicate, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International, said they were "deeply concerned" about the creation of a regulatory body for audiovisual communication. Six years after a popular uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the rights groups expressed concern about the recent banning of a small daily
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
Ethiopia’s state of emergency has seen thousands of people detained, allegedly in connection with the unrest last year in the Oromia region. Those arrested have included journalists and bloggers. VOA sat down with three of them in Addis Ababa ahead of World Press Freedom Day (May 3). University lecturer and commentator Seyoum Teshome was arrested in October and detained for two months after he gave a radio interview to Deutsche Welle in which he criticized the government. Since his release,...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
"I haven't once spoken my mother tongue Kilokele in the 62 years I've lived in Kinshasa. None of my nine children speak it," says Charles Tongohala. Tongohala's native tongue is one of 450 spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a sprawling nation of 71 million people whose lingos -- almost all of them spoken, not written -- account for nine percent of the world's 5,000 languages. He was a boy when he moved to DR Congo's capital from a...
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
A painting by a South African artist showing President Jacob Zuma raping the late Nelson Mandela has caused outrage in the country, with the ruling party Friday describing it as "grotesque". The piece by controversial artist Ayanda Mabulu shows Zuma seated on a red chair, penetrating a crying Mandela. Both men have their legs wide apart, exposing their genitals. The African National Congress and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have condemned the colourful artwork titled: "The economy of rape". "Whilst we respect Mabulu's freedom of expression, we find his work grotesque, inflammatory and of bad taste,"
(AFP (eng) 03/05/17)
"Felicite," a tale about a nightclub singer who has to scrape together funds to pay for her son's treatment after a road accident, scooped the top prize on Saturday at Africa's top cinema festival. The film won the Golden Stallion award at the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, held in the capital of Burkina Faso. The prize adds to the Silver Bear jury prize awarded to the film two weeks earlier at the Berlin Film Festival. The film...
(AFP (eng) 02/25/17)
A solar-powered cinema was unveiled in Burkina Faso Friday ahead of the city's hosting of Africa's top film festival, even as movie theatres on the continent continue to disappear. The theatre, with its 300-seat capacity, will run on solar energy. Named Canal Olympia Yennenga, it is now the third-largest movie hall in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou. Located in the city's posh Ouaga2000 neighbourhood, the theatre cost about 3 million euros ($3.2 million) to build. It is the brainchild of French businessman Vincent Bollore, whose company owns French premium TV and cinema group Canal Plus. "In the city of Ouagadougou, we lack movie theatres of this calibre," said Burkina Faso
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
Nollywood film "The Wedding Party" has shown Nigerian cinema at the top of its game, with its success at the box office taking it to new audiences across Africa and the world. The country may well be in recession but Nollywood, which churns out some 2,000 films a year and is the world's second-biggest film industry outside India, has never been healthier. "The Wedding Party" is a madcap, glamorous comedy telling the story of the marriage of Dunny and Dozie, despite the misgivings of their families' rivalries. One family is Igbo and the other Yoruba -- two of the main ethnic groups in Nigeria.
(AFP (eng) 01/25/17)
A public television station in Morocco was given an official reprimand on Tuesday for broadcasting a sequence on how to use make-up to conceal the bruises of battered women. It was transmitted last November -- marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women -- by 2M on its morning magazine programme "Sabahiyate". The sequence depicted a woman with a swollen face, with the presenter telling viewers that she was not really injured, and that these were just "cinematic effects". On Tuesday, the country's High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA) said the sequence
(AFP (eng) 01/12/17)
Every January, thousands of voodoo worshippers joined by crowds of tourists and descendants of slaves trudge down the long sand track leading to the beach at Ouidah in Benin. The cars, motorbikes and women in wrap skirts with tribal scars on their cheeks head to the Gate of No Return monument overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean beach. Erected in 1992 in memory of those packed on ships bound for the New World, it is a living reminder...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
As many African women spend much of their spare time in hair salons, Ivory Coast's chief librarian, also a woman, came up with a brainwave scheme to help them read and learn to read. Crammed on shelves between hair extensions, untangling creams and straightening lotions, a total 23 hair salons now offer customers a range of books on loan from the National Library. "Libraries are practically non-existent in our suburbs and the ones that do exist get very few visitors,...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/16)
Surrounded by untidy stacks of paper and abandoned half-empty coffee cups, photographer Aida Muluneh chain smokes cigarettes in her Addis Ababa office and rails against the negative portrayals of Africa by foreigners. The 42-year-old came returned to Ethiopia nine years ago after living in Yemen and Canada and set herself the task of changing perceptions of the continent, replacing the outsiders' dominant eye with an African one. The Addis Foto Fest, which she founded and which opens its fourth edition...
(AFP (eng) 12/09/16)
Journalists from Cameroon and Ivory Coast on Thursday won Africa's top fact-checking awards for investigating government claims that turned out to be false. Manfei Anderson Diedri, of the website Eburnietoday.com, scooped the francophone award for an eight-month investigation into a land dispute in central Ivory Coast. Diedri uncovered that while Abidjan claimed it had ownership of 11,000 hectares of land granted to a Belgian company for industrial rubber plantations -- which villagers claimed was their property -- there was no...
(AFP (eng) 12/03/16)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Friday condemned the swift shutdown of four Benin broadcasters close to the opposition, saying it raised fears of an "authoritarian" shift in the west African country. The four broadcasters -- Radio Soleil and TV stations Sikka, Eden and E-tele -- were all cut off on Tuesday and Wednesday, the press freedom group said in a statement. All were shut down on the grounds that they were transmitting from places away from their original locations, RSF...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/16)
Sudan on Sunday ordered a private television channel to stop broadcasting after accusing it of operating without a licence, the network's owner told AFP. Hussein Khojali, owner of 24-hour entertainment network Omdurman Channel, said he received a letter from the Sudanese Authority of Radio and Television Broadcasting asking him to stop broadcasting. "Today at 8:30 pm (1700 GMT) we received a letter from the authorities saying the channel has been stopped from broadcasting because it didn't have a licence," Khojali...

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(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Prosecutors are demanding jail terms ranging from 20 years to life against militiamen accused of raping dozens of children, including a baby, in eastern DR Congo, plaintiffs said on Tuesday. Eighteen men, including provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike, have been on trial since November 9 in Kavumu, in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu. "The prosecution yesterday demanded punishment ranging from 20 years' jail to life for most of the accused, except for four for whom it requested acquittal," Charles Cubaka Cicura, speaking on behalf of a group of lawyers representing the victims, told AFP. The defendants are suspected of belonging to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (AP) -- The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says her government will continue sending aid to South Sudan despite the stalling of a peace process to end the civil war that has killed tens of thousands. Nikki Haley spoke Monday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa after meeting with Ethiopian and African Union leaders to discuss Africa's peace and security challenges. Haley said South Sudan's president "doesn't care if we pull USAID. He doesn't care if his people suffer. That's the concern we have." Haley warned South Sudan could become a breeding ground for extremist groups amid the suffering. South Sudan plunged into conflict in December 2013 after a dispute in the capital Juba between forces loyal...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara will propose to his counterpart in Ghana that the two neighboring countries and world’s biggest cocoa producers narrow a gap in producer prices to discourage smuggling of beans, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ouattara will call Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday before Ivory Coast announces a new minimum price for cocoa purchases on Oct. 1, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak about...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Nigeria plans to sell as much as $5.5 billion of Eurobonds in the next three months to fund capital projects and replace local-currency debt, according to the Debt Management Office. Yields on existing bonds rose. That would bring the amount raised through Eurobond sales by Africa’s most-populous nation this year to more than $7 billion as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration restructures its debt portfolio to almost double the portion of foreign borrowing in a bid to reduce financing costs. The government wants to raise $2.5 billion in October to help fund 2017’s 7.4 trillion-naira ($20.8 billion) budget
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
As the battle to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma as leader of the African National Congress grows increasingly fractious, party Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize is emerging as a possible compromise choice to keep the continent’s oldest political movement from tearing itself apart. While the race for the top job is widely seen as a head-to-head contest between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife and former chairwoman of the African Union Commission, Mkhize, a 61-year-old medical doctor, has two advantages: he’s stayed above the infighting and has strong support in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal, which has the most ANC members of the nation’s nine provinces.
(Voice of America 09/27/17)
Al-Shabab militants have launched what appears to be a forced recruitment campaign in Somalia's southwestern regions of Bay and Bakool, according to Somali officials. The group, which controls large parts of both regions, is pressuring leaders of local villages to make sure teenagers join its ranks, according to the governor of Bay region, Ali Wardhere Doyow. "They have been holding meetings for clan elders and told them to meet specific numbers of recruits they want collected from clans," Doyow told VOA's Somali Service. Doyow said many families and their children have fled their villages to larger towns in the Bay region
(Bloomberg 09/26/17)
Ghana’s central bank kept its key lending rate at the lowest since 2015 after inflation accelerated for the first time in four months. The Bank of Ghana left the rate at 21 percent, Governor Ernest Addison told reporters Monday in the capital, Accra. Two of seven economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted the hold, while the rest forecast cuts ranging from 50 to 100 basis points. The central bank of West Africa’s biggest economy after Nigeria’s had reduced the key...
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Ayaak Deng’s first-ever flight let her skip over a hundred miles of bloodily contested South Sudan and visit family she hadn’t seen in a year. It’s the kind of trip that’s revitalizing small airlines that initially struggled because of the almost four-year civil war. The airport in the capital, Juba, has recorded about 1,000 domestic passengers a day this month, more than five times the average in the first half of 2016, before a peace deal collapsed and gunmen began...
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Rwanda’s police said they arrested an activist barred from running for the presidency and two family members for alleged offenses against state security and forgery. Diane Rwigara, her mother and sister were arrested Saturday after the East African nation’s police “uncovered credible evidence linking the trio to offenses against state security,” the force said in a statement on its website. Investigators have five days to complete the probe and decide whether to forward the case to prosecution, the police said. Rwigara’s lawyer didn’t immediately answer phone calls seeking comment. A women’s rights activist, Rwigara attempted to run in August’s presidential vote against long-time ruler Paul Kagame only to be disqualified
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Kenya’s main opposition alliance will begin mass protests this week to force out electoral officials it suspects of rigging last month’s annulled presidential vote. The National Super Alliance will begin its campaign on Tuesday and will continue until the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission officeholders resign, said Norman Magaya, chief executive officer of the opposition coalition. It may escalate the protests if lawmakers from the ruling Jubilee Party continue with plans to amend the country’s electoral laws, he said. “Demonstration...
(Bloomberg 09/25/17)
Now that Nigeria’s economy is recovering from its worst slump in 25 years, the central bank can turn its focus to fighting inflation again -- and shoring up its currency. The Monetary Policy Committee has kept its interest rate at a record-high 14 percent since July 2016, trying to support the economy, and will probably hold it there at its decision this week to contain above-target consumer-price growth. Officials can take heart from a pickup in West Africa’s biggest economy...
(Euronews 09/25/17)
Egypt’s economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country’s 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed – according to the Ratings Agency… Egypt’s economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country’s 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed – according to the Ratings Agency Moody’s. One of the top reforms on the agenda concerns small and medium enterprises (SMEs). A new law is expected to come...
(Financial Times 09/23/17)
Government departments told to examine relationships with firm after political scandal. South Africa’s finance minister has told all government departments to review their relationship with KPMG in response to the accounting firm’s role in a political scandal over links between the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma. In a statement published yesterday, South African finance minister Malusi Gigaba, who was appointed in March, said he had “deep concerns about audit matters currently surrounding KPMG”. “These developments further threaten to undermine...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Nigeria’s decision to designate a group campaigning for an independent state of Biafra as “terrorist” and ban it runs the risk of backfiring. A federal high court in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday granted an application by President Muhammadu Buhari’s attorney general to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra, known as Ipob, designating it as a terrorist organization. The move came as tensions escalated in southeastern Nigeria, with the group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, threatening to disrupt state elections unless there’s a vote on secession and his supporters clashing with the security forces. “We saw in videos young people willing to confront the military with their bare hands,” Freedom Onuoha
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Kenya’s electoral commission rescheduled the date for a rerun of last month’s annulled presidential vote, as President Uhuru Kenyatta slammed the Supreme Court ruling that overturned his victory as a “judicial coup.” The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission said Thursday the vote will be held Oct. 26, nine days later than its initial suggestion, to ensure the body is “fully prepared” to deliver a credible election. Just before, Kenyatta said in a televised address that the East African country’s highest...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Dangote Cement Plc, the Nigerian company controlled by Africa’s richest person, has written to PPC Ltd. offering South Africa’s biggest cement maker cash and shares as part of a takeover deal that is fueling a bidding war. PPC’s shares rose. “We are waiting for them to get back to us, hopefully early next week,” Aliko Dangote said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in New York. “They can be part and parcel of the Dangote Cement story, where we’re going...
(Bloomberg 09/21/17)
The United Nations said its road map for peace in Libya wasn’t working in its current form and unveiled plans to revamp the agreement to unify the North African country and pave the way for new elections. Ghassan Salame, the UN’s envoy for Libya, outlined an action plan at a high-level meeting Wednesday in New York. He said the initiative would be led by Libyans to find a way out of the crisis that’s split the nation among rival militias...
(Bloomberg 09/20/17)
South African programs to add coal and gas power generation from independent providers should wait until policies are updated and the nation’s future needs are clearer, said Energy Minister Mmamaloko Kubayi. The government is also seeking a “middle ground” with developers in a program to add renewable-energy projects, she said in a phone interview Tuesday. Kubayi announced earlier this month that the long-delayed contracts must be signed by the end of October, but not before pricing was renegotiated to make the deals more attractive to state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. South Africa expanded the so-called independent power-producer
(Bloomberg 09/20/17)
President Muhammadu Buhari urged the international community to support the Lake Chad region in its fight against Islamist extremism even as other conflicts emerge. Nigeria and neighboring countries lack the resources and the capacity to effectively deal with the security threat from groups linked to al-Qaeda and other Islamist organizations, he said Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts,” Buhari said. The Islamist group...
(Bloomberg 09/19/17)
A United Nations commission urged the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed in Burundi, saying it had compiled a list of alleged perpetrators of violence during the country’s two-year crisis. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has reasonable grounds to believe “serious human-rights violations and abuses” have been committed in the East African country since April 2015, its chairman, Fatsah Ouguergouz, said Tuesday in Geneva. The abuses included torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and rape, with most victims being opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government, he said. The commission has drawn

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