Sunday 18 February 2018

Toute l'afrique

(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday won the rarely-awarded Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.1 million euros), which is paid over 10 years, and $200,000 annually for life from then on. Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state, left office on January 22 after a maximum 12 years as president, served in two terms. The 79-year-old won the 2017 Ibrahim Prize, only the second time it has been awarded in six years. In 2011, she shared the...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Tanzania's Catholic church on Sunday accused the government of President John Magufuli of violating democratic norms by limiting freedom of expression. "Party political activities, such as public meetings, demonstrations, rallies, debates inside premises, which are after all every citizen's right, have been suspended until the next elections," said a letter penned by the country's Catholic bishops. Denouncing "violations of the constitution and national laws," the bishops pointed to the temporary shutdown of some media outlets, saying it amounted to "restricting citizens' right to be informed" and hence freedom of expression.
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Top leaders of South Africa's ruling ANC will meet Monday to "finalise" the departure of embattled President Jacob Zuma after party chief Cyril Ramaphosa promised to bring "closure" to the crisis. Ramaphosa said at a party rally in Cape Town on Sunday he wanted to replace "a period of difficulty, disunity and discord" with "a new beginning" for the party. "We know you want this matter to be finalised," he said to rapturous cheering, vowing to tackle the corruption that has tarnished Zuma's government. Zuma has clung to power after rejecting a request by his party's senior officials to resign a week ago. The powerful committee could recall the president from office, though he would be under no constitutional obligation...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
A major operation against jihadists in Egypt has killed 28 fighters in the Sinai Peninsula since it was launched by the military on Friday, the army said on Monday. Another 126 jihadists have been arrested since "Operation Sinai 2018" was launched in the Sinai across from Israel, the central Nile Delta and the Western Desert near the border with Libya, the army said. The security sweep comes as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seeking re-election in March, after a first term in office that has seen him crack down on an Islamist insurgency and other opponents. Egypt's security forces have been increasingly targeted by jihadists since the army in 2013 -- then headed by Sisi -- overthrew Islamist president Mohamed...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Tanzanian authorities have stepped up an escalating war on cannabis by destroying 14 hectares (35 acres) of the crop in the northern province of Arusha in recent days. Saturday alone saw eight hectares laid waste at the Meru forest reserve following another six acres earlier in the week in operation overseen by Interior Minister Mwigulu Nchemba. Tanzania is one of the world's largest cannabis producers. "We have decided to put a stop to the cannabis culture," Arumeru administrative secretary Timotheo Mzava said during Saturday's operation. "Some local officials are themselves complicit (in the trade) and we cannot accept that," Mzava said, noting that three such officials were on the run. "The government will carry out this operation in all corners...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
The new head of the UN's peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo took office on Sunday amid heightened tensions between the world body and the government. As well as being charged with supporting the country's political process and ensuring the protection of its civilians, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria will offer to use her office to mediate the "full implementation of the political agreement of December 31, 2016", according to a statement obtained by AFP. The agreement sets out the general principles for holding elections and the "peaceful transfer of power and the consolidation of stability in DR Congo," the statement said. President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, refused to step down at end of...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
South Africa's ruling party leader Cyril Ramaphosa admitted Sunday to "disunity and discord" within the African National Congress as it struggled to remove scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma from power. Ramaphosa, 65, said he wanted to replace "a period of difficulty, disunity and discord" with "a new beginning" for the ANC party, and he vowed to tackle the corruption that has tarnished Zuma's government. "We know you want this matter to be finalised," he said to rapturous cheers at a rally of party faithful in Cape Town. With the 75-year-old Zuma refusing a February 4 request to resign by senior party officials, the ANC's top decision-making committee will meet on Monday. The committee could recall the president from office, though he...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Moroccan authorities said Sunday they had seized nearly 541 kilos (1,200 pounds) of cocaine in a container from Latin America which arrived in Casablanca. Six people including a Brazilian suspected of being the "mastermind of a criminal network" were arrested, according to the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ). It also seized five vehicles and "large sums of money" in Moroccan dirhams and other currencies. In a statement, the BCIJ said it was investigating a "dangerous" criminal network linked to Latin American cartels taking advantage of "the kingdom's strategic position as a transit point to European territory". Cocaine traffickers have developed new routes to Europe over the past decade. The drug is mostly sent from Central America via West African...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Cameroon's national youth holiday was marred by violence on Sunday, with three soldiers killed and a local official feared kidnapped by suspected separatists in the country's restive English-speaking regions. Dozens of people have been killed in the west African country's two anglophone regions since October after a violent crackdown on protests against the mainly French-speaking government. Authorities imposed a week-long curfew in the troubled areas on Saturday, citing fears of an "imminent" attack by separatists after numerous online threats. Army spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck on Sunday said the three soldiers were killed in the southwestern village of Kembong, adding that there had...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Hundreds of Boko Haram suspects were due back in court Monday to hear if they will be prosecuted, sentenced or released, as proceedings resumed at a military base in central Nigeria. The first major prosecutions of people arrested during the insurgency began last October, involving 1,669 suspects held at the facility in Kainji, Niger state. The justice ministry has said 468 were released after it was found they had no case to answer; 45 were sentenced to between two and 15 years in jail; and 28 had their cases transferred. A further 82 pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser prison sentence or release taking into account time served in custody. The remainder have had their cases adjourned pending further...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
A suspected poacher was mauled to death and eaten by a pack of lions close to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police said Monday, adding that little was left of the victim's body. The remains were found at the weekend in the bush at a private game park near Hoedspruit in the northern province of Limpopo, where animals have been poached in increasing numbers over recent years. "It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP. A loaded hunting rifle was found near the body on...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was expected to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt on Monday, diplomatic sources said, as he started a tour of the Middle East. Tillerson landed in Cairo late Sunday and had dinner with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. The envoy was set to talk with Sisi in the early afternoon, after seeing staff of the US embassy in Cairo and a second meeting with Shoukry. A US State Department official said Tillerson's talks in Egypt would focus on "regional issues of mutual concern such as Libya and Syria, our shared commitment to fighting terrorism", and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Concerns about human rights and civil society are a topic of continuing conversation with the...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Cameroon imposed a week-long night curfew from Saturday in its restive English-speaking west citing fears of an "imminent" attack by separatists but long-serving President Paul Biya claimed the volatile situation had "stabilised". Dozens of people have been killed in the two English-speaking regions since October after a violent crackdown on protests against the mainly French-speaking government. Many English-speakers have accused the Francophone majority of discrimination and that has fuelled a separatist movement. Army spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck said the curfew would come into force Saturday. It will last from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am and is due to concerns of an "imminent attack" in "several cities" by separatists, backed by "mercenaries" from neighbouring Nigeria, a defence ministry memo said. The...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
A Cairo court on Sunday handed 17 people life sentences over unrest that saw the deaths of three civilians, including a journalist and a teenager, during anti-government protests in 2014. The court sentenced 16 others to prison terms ranging from seven to 15 years. Fifteen others were acquitted in the verdicts, announced live on state television. Mayada Ashraf, who worked for privately owned newspaper Al-Dustour, was shot in the head while she was covering clashes in Cairo's northern Ein Shams neighbourhood on March 28, 2014. A Coptic Christian woman and a 13-year-old boy were also killed in the unrest. They were all killed as clashes broke out between security forces and supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
Twin bomb blasts struck a mosque in Benghazi in eastern Libya on Friday, killing at least one person and wounding 149 in the latest attack to target worshippers in the city. The explosions hit the mosque at the start of weekly prayers in Libya's second city, which lies 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) east of Tripoli, a security source told AFP. In the wake of the blasts debris was left scattered across the floor of the mosque, with windows blown out and bloodstains smeared on the wall. The security source said one bomb had been hidden in a coffin in the courtyard of the mosque and another in a shoe cabinet at the entrance. One person was killed and 149 wounded,...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
South Africa's political impasse deepened on Saturday with no resolution to extended talks over President Jacob Zuma's expected departure from office after his own party called for him to resign. Cyril Ramaphosa, the president-in-waiting, and the ruling ANC party have said negotiations should be concluded within days, but have given no details about how Zuma will be eased out of power. The stalemate has left South Africa's political scene in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled this week including the flagship State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday. Zuma cleared his diary of weekend engagements, but deputy president Ramaphosa is due to speak at a rally in the city on Sunday to start...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
A South African court on Friday convicted a self-styled prophet who sprayed his followers in the face with domestic insect killer as a supposed cure for illness. Lethebo Rabalago was found guilty on five charges of grievous assault and contravening chemicals laws for using "Doom", a well-known household insecticide, as a weapon. "This was a dangerous act. The fact that these people were sprayed on their faces with Doom makes this offence the worst of its kind," magistrate Frans Mahodi said, according to public broadcaster SABC. "Spraying people with Doom injured victims seriously," he added. Some suffered coughing for more than seven months. Photographs of Rabalago -- dunned "the Prophet of Doom" -- spraying volunteers at his church in Limpopo,...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's powerful Catholic church vowed Friday to maintain pressure on President Joseph Kabila to step down, at a highly-charged mass for people killed in a protest march last month. "The march of Christians will not stop," Abbot Francois Luyeye said to loud applause at the packed Notre Dame cathedral, the capital's largest church. "We have a sacred duty to continue the good fight for the emergence of a new Congo in which the right man will be in the right place," the priest said in a sermon. The mass was held in memory of the victims of a January 21 march in Kinshasa when security forces opened fire on Catholic-organised rallies against Kabila. The United Nations...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
The Cameroonian army on Friday denied its troops were responsible for alleged atrocities against separatists in English-speaking regions after unverified footage apparently involving soldiers was posted online. "These accusations of atrocities are dreamt up. We are victims of disinformation and fake news," army spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck told AFP, just days after the appearance of the latest of a string of grisly video clips. None of the clips could be independently verified by AFP, with Badjeck insisting the army had "a culture of respect for human rights" and accusing the separatists of being "skilled at disinformation". Since October, troops have staged a crackdown targeting activists in Cameroon's restive western regions where the English-speaking minority has staged protests against the government...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
On a windswept desert plain, displaced families from a town which sided with Libya's leader Moamer Kadhafi before his ouster in a 2011 revolt have been left in a makeshift camp to rue their bad fortune. A last-minute breakdown in a deal to allow their return has left them stranded, within sight of the palm trees of their home town of Tawergha east of the Libyan capital Tripoli and 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the rival town of Misrata. Armed groups from Misrata expelled Tawergha's residents after accusing them of fighting alongside Kadhafi's forces when their town came under a relentless siege during the uprising, as well as accusing them of taking part in torture, rapes and murders. Gunmen from...

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(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Plain-clothed Tunisian police on Saturday broke up a demonstration by LGBT activists in the centre of the capital after it was banned "for their own security", the interior ministry said. A call had been made to protest outside the tourism ministry under the hashtag "#Sayebni" ("Let me go") to demand the repeal of "retrograde" laws and the end of "the criminalisation of sexual freedom and discrimination against women". But activists said late Friday they had been told by the interior ministry that their demonstration had been banned. "We had information that they were going to be targeted," said ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani told AFP. The rally was banned "for their safety and to preserve public order", he said, without elaborating...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Separate outbreaks of violence attributed to a Boko Haram attack and clashes between Muslim herders and Christian farmers left at least six people dead in Nigeria, police and local authorities said Saturday. At least three people were killed late Friday when Boko Haram attacked the Hyambula village in northeast Adamawa state, police and a community leader told AFP after the latest in a spate of jihadist raids targeting civilians. "There was an attack at Hyambula last night. Three people were killed and three others kidnapped," Adamawa state police spokesman Othman Abubakar said, blaming Boko Haram for the attack. The suspected jihadists had shot dead one man, before a suicide bomber blew himself up among residents gathered at the scene, killing...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Two South Africans kidnapped last week in Nigeria were released on Saturday, police said, in the latest abduction targeting foreigners. "Police put pressure on the suspected kidnappers using a police helicopter," police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said in a statement. Thomas Arnold Pearce and Hendrik Gideon were seized from a mining site in Maidaro, in Kaduna State, on January 23 and held captive in a forest hideout. Their case was not made public at the time. It comes a week after two Americans and two Canadians were released after being kidnapped in the same state during a business trip. Two of their police escorts were shot dead in that ambush near Jere, on the road from the town of Kafanchan to...
(AFP (eng) 01/28/18)
Suspected jihadists killed four Malian soldiers on Sunday in the second deadly attack this weekend in the country's troubled north, local and military officials told AFP. Mali's deteriorating security situation is of growing concern as Al-Qaeda-linked groups mount increasingly ferocious attacks on domestic and foreign forces. "Terrorists have killed four soldiers in Menaka in an attack," a Malian military source said, adding: "They were not able to overrun the military camp. We are now in control of the situation." The incident was confirmed by a second Malian military source, who said the armed attackers arrived "this morning on motorbikes and in cars", while a local official said the group had fired rockets. French helicopters were circling the area, the sources...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/18)
Fourteen Malian soldiers were killed and 18 wounded on Saturday in an attack on their camp in Mali's restive north, the army said, while military sources told AFP jihadists were responsible. Mali's deteriorating security situation is of growing concern as Al-Qaeda-linked groups mount increasingly deadly attacks on domestic and foreign forces, and the country's president on Saturday cancelled his visit to an African summit. "The Malian armed forces were attacked early this morning, around 4am, in Soumpi (Timbuktu region). We have recorded 14 dead, 18 wounded and material damage," a statement from the military posted on social media said. A military source based in Bamako had told AFP the men were killed "during a cowardly terrorist attack on the Soumpi...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/18)
The German government said Friday it had asked a US court to throw out a lawsuit brought by indigenous groups from Namibia seeking reparations for the genocide of their peoples under German colonial rule. It was the first time Berlin has formally responded to the class-action suit launched by the Herero and Nama people last year over the tens of thousands killed in the 1904-1908 massacres. Berlin's position "is that the complaint is inadmissable because of the principle of state immunity", foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr told reporters, a day after a New York judge held a 10-minute hearing in the case. "In accordance with US law it was necessary to formally convey this to the court. We did this...
(AFP (eng) 01/27/18)
The US military has opened an investigation after images surfaced online this week that appear to have been taken from the helmet camera of one of the US soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger. Grainy photographs posted and circulated on Twitter purportedly show a soldier in US uniform lying on the dry-earthen ground, a US flag patch on his chest. The image looks like it was recorded from another soldier's helmet camera. The exact provenance of the photos is murky, but the original Twitter account to post the pictures said they had been collected by an Islamic State affiliate.
(AFP (eng) 01/27/18)
The United Nations is in talks with countries that contribute peacekeepers to its mission in the Central African Republic after an investigation found their response to attacks last year fell short, a UN spokesman said Friday. A special investigation led by a retired general from Benin found "deficiencies" in peacekeeping operations in the southeast of the country from May to August 2017 and presented recommendations, the UN said. UN peacekeeping officials are in to talks with the troop- and police-contributing countries "to ensure that these measures are implemented," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
(AFP (eng) 01/27/18)
Drone strikes by the United States military are "wiping out" Shabaab militants in Somalia, the head of the African Union mission in the country told AFP in an interview Friday. The US has stepped up its operations in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, targeting the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab, which has fought for the last decade to topple Somalia's internationally backed government, and a separate self-proclaimed branch of the Islamic State. "These drone attacks and others are wiping out al-Shabaab in good numbers. And that is good to finish with the terrorism," said Francisco Madeira, the chief of the 22,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on the sidelines of the AU's summit in the Ethiopian capital. In recent months,...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Laden with mattresses, suitcases, solar panels, chairs and plastic buckets, thousands of refugees have crossed into Burundi in the past three days to flee fierce fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi police said Friday. Nearly 7,000 Congolese have crossed Lake Tanganyika and taken refuge in Burundi since Wednesday as clashes raged between DR Congo government forces and rebels in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu. "Yesterday, Lake Tanganyika seemed to be completely covered by hundreds of boats of all sizes, packed with refugees and their property, it was quite sight," one rights activist told AFP. Burundi police said a total of 6,692 people had registered as refugees since Wednesday to escape fighting between the army and the...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Friday condemned a deadly attack on a Benghazi mosque which left at least 37 dead, and renewed calls for the arrest of a wanted Libyan commander. "These bombings and executions demand both condemnation and a meaningful response", chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement. At least 37 people died and scores were wounded after Tuesday's two car bombings outside a mosque frequented by jihadists in Libya's second city Benghazi. The attack was followed by video and photographs on social networks Wednesday, appearing to show wanted Libyan commander Mahmoud al-Werfalli carrying out summary executions in retaliation. Bensouda said she was "deeply concerned" by the bombings, but also "appalled" at the reports of...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Ten people in central Nigeria were killed over two days in violence linked to cattle grazing, part of a months-long crisis that has heightened religious tensions, sources said late Thursday. In central Plateau state, military taskforce spokesman Major Adam Umar said eight deaths were recorded from tit-for-tat attacks in the rural districts of Bokkos and Bassa on Tuesday and Wednesday. A Fulani nomadic herder was attacked and killed by sedentary farmers from the Ropp tribe while he was digging out sand to make mud bricks for a home. "In retaliation members of the Fulani community attacked and killed two persons, including a woman, from the Ropp community," Umar said. In a separate incident on Tuesday, Umar said, five people were...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The United Nations launched an international appeal Thursday for $330 million dollars to fund humanitarian aid projects for almost one million people in Libya, a country plunged in chaos and a hub of illegal migration. Maria Ribeiro, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, outlined the priorities for a Humanitarian Response Plan for 2018 at a news conference in Tripoli. The target is "to reach at least 940,000 people" through 71 projects at a cost of $330 million to be carried out in partnership with municipalities, civil society and ministries, she said. In 2017, the international community contributed $98 million...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Air traffic was severely disrupted in Algeria on Thursday due to a strike by Air Algerie crew, grounding the airline's fleet for the second time this week, state media said. The strike caused the cancellation of the majority of the Algerian flag carrier's flights from the capital Algiers, state television reported. Air Algerie was forced to charter planes from French airline Aigle Azur to ensure some of its flights abroad, it added. "This new strike has caused disruptions to all domestic and international flights" from the airport, the official APS news agency reported. The airline announced on Thursday that it had taken "administrative measures" against seven people who had instigated an "illegal" strike on Monday for commercial cabin crew. An...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Most inhabitants of Madagascar thought the plague was a footnote of medical history until the disease dramatically returned last year, slaying more than 200 people. Fear and anxiety rippled across the Indian Ocean island nation. "People were afraid to come to hospital -- they were afraid of catching the plague," recalled Professor Mamy Randria, head of the infectious diseases service at a hospital in the capital Antananarivo. Randria found himself on the front line of an urban war against the disease, which shook his own medical personnel when they realised what they were up against. "They were terrified by the reputation of the plague. It kills very fast and it is very contagious," he said. Many families of plague victims...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Hundreds protested on Thursday outside a Moroccan court in support of four journalists being tried for publishing content deemed confidential. The journalists stand accused of publishing in late 2016 excerpts of a parliamentary commission's debates over huge deficit at the national pension fund. A member of the Democratic Labour Confederation (CDT) is also being prosecuted for providing information on these debates. "Freedom of expression is a red line," journalists and activists chanted outside the courthouse in the capital Rabat. Thursday's hearing was adjourned to March 8 as one of the journalists did not appear for trial. "This trial is quite unique. We're being prosecuted for publishing accurate information," defendant Abdelhak Belachgar said.
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Thirteen civilians travelling from Burkina Faso were killed on Thursday when their vehicle ran over a landmine in central Mali, local officials and a security source said, giving a provisional toll. "Thirteen Malian and Burkinabe civilians were killed near the town of Boni when their vehicle struck a mine," local official Mahmoud Traore told AFP, as a Malian security source blamed "terrorists" for the blast. "Terrorists uses these mines to spread fear," the source said, adding that the victims of Thursday's blast were killed instantly. Those wounded are in a "critical" condition, according to the source.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/25/18)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Liberia has imposed a one-year ban on female genital mutilation - a highly contentious issue in the West African country - but campaigners said on Thursday it may not be enforceable and urged new president George Weah to push for a permanent law. The ban came into force after former leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed an executive order late last week before stepping down. But the move received little publicity, overshadowed by this week’s inauguration of Johnson Sirleaf’s successor, former soccer star George Weah. The ban makes it an offence to perform FGM on anyone under 18 but it can still be carried out on adults with their consent. Campaigners said FGM should be banned...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Two Malian customs officers have been killed in a suspected jihadist attack at a market in the small village of Toubakoro, security sources told AFP on Wednesday. "Two customs officers were killed, a terrorist too," according to one source. The attackers arrived in Toubakoro, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the capital Bamako, on motorcycles and were armed, said another source, adding that, "there was a great panic in the village". "The jihadists were well informed about the comings and goings of the security forces," said an elected representative who was near the market at the time. "The jihadists fired at a customs vehicle," he added. Islamic extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north of Mali...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
A cholera outbreak in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa is stabilising and moving in a downward trend, the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Wednesday. The latest outbreak has affected 23 of the 26 provinces in the vast central African country since 2017, with "55,000 people falling ill... and around 1,190 deaths", according to MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders. "The situation (in Kinshasa) is stable with a downward trend, but it does not exclude vigilance, because the epidemic is not yet eliminated," said Jean Liyolongo, MSF emergency coordinator. Since the end of November, MSF has recorded a total of 826 cholera cases and 32 deaths. "We reached the peak in week one (first week of January) when we...

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(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 is the only language these people understand and for us it’s not going to be a one-day event,” Magaya said by phone from Nairobi, the capital. “Tuesday is just the launch of the mass movement and we will spread these...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/25/17)
New laws and a crackdown on mining firms in Tanzania has slowed fresh investment in what has long been seen as one of Africa’s brightest mining prospects as companies assess the consequences of government efforts to claim a bigger slice of the pie. Takeover bids and exploration plans have been canceled and workers laid off. The share prices of many firms listed in Australia, Britain, South Africa and Canada with interests in Tanzania have halved as the value of their investments tumble. The tumult follows the passage of three laws in July that, among other things, hike taxes on mineral exports, mandate a higher government stake in some mining operations and force the construction of local smelters to bring Tanzania...
(AFP (eng) 09/25/17)
Sustained global demand for cashews has helped Guinea-Bissau's farmers rake in record prices, but the industry wants a crack at more revenue by processing the wonder nut at home. Demand for cashews has risen 31 percent globally over the last decade, according to the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC), driven by its popularity in Asia and cashews' image as a healthy ingredient in the West. "I have never earned as much money as this year," said Braima Seidi, a cashew farmer who has collected enough this season to build a house, purchase a motorbike, and buy a tonne of rice for his family. "I always managed about two-and-a-half tonnes, but as the prices were low my income was...
(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 in the second quarter after more than a year of contraction, as higher oil output boosted the supply of foreign currency to buy raw materials and food. That upswing probably gives the MPC, led by Governor Godwin Emefiele, room to...
(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 into effect before the end of this year. Under it SMEs will be taxed under a simplified system. It’s aimed at encouraging those firms to operate in the formal economy. Tareq Qabil, the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, said:...
(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 our efforts in reinforcing confidence and enhancing a climate for investments, both domestic and international,” he added. All government departments and their related entities were advised to review their work programmes with KPMG “to ensure that their audit processes have...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
South Africa’s central bank is concerned about “regrettable” practices at auditor KPMG [KPMG.UL], its governor said, as the company’s chairman held a meeting with a former finance minister it had tarnished in a report it later said was flawed. “We will engage banks and audit firms primarily to understand the context so we are better placed to manage any potential financial stability risk that may arise from the issues around KPMG,” Governor Lesetja Kganyago said on Thursday. KPMG cleared out its South African leadership last Friday after it found that work it did for firms owned by the Gupta family, businessmen friends of President Jacob Zuma, “fell considerably short” of its standards. KPMG’s investigation into its work for the Guptas,...
(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 to be in 18 African countries.” The approach by Lagos-based Dangote follows a joint offer from Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and PPC’s domestic rival AfriSam Group Pty Ltd. While PPC has said it will consider all bids, the Public...
(Xinhuanet 09/21/17)
Zambia, Africa's second biggest producer of copper, saw export earnings from the red metal increasing by 49.7 percent in the first half of 2017, figures released by its finance ministry said on Thursday. Earnings from copper earnings rose to 3,165.9 million U.S. dollars during the first half of 2017 from 2,114.3 million dollars over the same period last year, according to figures published in the 2018-2020 medium term expenditure framework released by the ministry. This has been attributed to an increase in both export volumes and copper prices on the international market. Realized copper prices averaged 5,655.4 dollars per ton during the first half of 2017 compared to 4,499.3 dollars during the same period of last year. The southern African...
(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
(APA 09/19/17)
Botswana, Namibia and Mauritius have missed out on the list of top 10 best investment destinations in Africa in 2018 but are seen as “investment grade” economies, according to a new report by South African-based Rand Merchant Bank. The report, titled “Where to Invest in Africa 2018”, showed that Egypt has now replaced South Africa as the best investment destination on the continent. South Africa lost its traditional spot at the top of the investment rankings. South Africa has ranked in the number one position for the past six years. Surprisingly one of the biggest economies in Africa, Nigeria did not make it in the top 10 and was relegated to 13th spot. Although Namibia, Botswana and Mauritius have consistently...
(Xinhuanet 09/19/17)
The European Union (EU) on Monday urged the Sudanese government to undertake reforms at all levels to attract foreign investment. "There are no European economic sanctions imposed on Sudan, but it is very important for Sudan to undertake reforms at all levels in order to attract foreign investment," Jean-Michel Dumond, head of the EU delegation to Sudan said in a statement Monday. Dumond said the current visit by a delegation of Sudanese officials and businessmen to a number of EU countries is an opportunity to exchange views on the investment opportunities in Sudan. The Sudanese delegation, led by Sudan's State Minister of Investment Osama Faisal, is visiting several European countries, including Belgium and Germany, to publicize Sudan's investment opportunities. According...
(APA 09/19/17)
African Development Bank’s (AfDB) funding in Burkina Faso reaches 1023 billion FCFA, the bank said on Tuesday ahead of its president’s three-day visit to the West African country. AfDB president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, is expected in Ouagadougou on 27 September 2017, according to the Office of the Prime Minister. The bank’s funding in Burkina Faso goes to road building and accessibility (26 percent), public finance and governance (22 percent), agriculture (21 percent), social (13 percent), energy (10 percent), water and sanitation (8 percent). At the end of August 2017, the total volume of the AfDB portfolio stood at CFAF 280 billion in Burkina Faso, financing 16 projects. During his first visit to Burkina Faso, Dr Adesina will meet with the...
(AFP (eng) 09/19/17)
Pummelled by political unrest and jihadist attacks, Egypt's tourism industry is slowly growing again, but too slowly for thousands of bazaar workers who fondly recall when tourists thronged their stores. Abu Aya owns a souvenir shop in the southern city of Luxor which is home to ancient pharaonic monuments, and he fondly remembers the days when the front pocket of his traditional Arabic robe sagged with cash. "Before 2011 it was filled with dollars and euros. Today the sellers just sit in front of their stores reading the papers because there are so few customers," the 47-year-old said. In the promenade bazaar lined with shops selling souvenirs and incense, every business seemed to be suffering from the downturn. For years...
(Xinhuanet 09/19/17)
Tourist arrivals in Morocco saw a year-on-year increase of 8 percent in July, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism said on Monday. Between January and July, over 6.5 million tourists visited the North African kingdom, the ministry indicated in a statement. Tourists from Germany were up by 11 percent, followed by Netherlands with an increase of 7 percent, and Spain and Italy of 6 percent, it reported. The country also witnessed a continuous surge in the emerging tourist markets, with Chinese tourist arrivals jumped by 406 percent, while Japanese visitors rose by 46 percent and South Koreans by 44 percent. A total of 10.3 million tourists visited Morocco in 2016, an increase of 1.5 percent from 2015. Morocco expects tourist arrivals...
(Bloomberg 09/18/17)
Egyptian Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer said inflation in the most populous Arab country has peaked after policy makers responded to the surge in prices by raising borrowing costs to the highest level in more than a decade. “We are in the right direction and we are moving very fast,” Amer said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Dubai on Monday. “We’ve been aggressive in our monetary policy, and this has been resisted a bit. But we thought it’s important so we can get our shop fixed very quickly.” Egypt in November became the first Arab country to liberalize the exchange rate as part of a sweeping program to restore investor confidence in an economy battered by years of...
(Bloomberg 09/18/17)
Egypt’s cabinet is expected to approve a plan to sell 1.5 billion in euro-denominated bonds in two to three weeks, the finance minister said, as the government seeks cheaper finance abroad to plug its budget gap. The Finance Ministry has started initial discussions with some European investment banks, Amr El-Garhy said in an interview in Bahrain late on Saturday. The notes, which will be Egypt’s first in euros, will likely have tenors of five to 10 years, he said. The plan is to sell the bonds before the end of November, El-Garhy told Bloomberg earlier. There are some “pockets of money” in Europe that are interested in Egyptian assets, El-Garhy said. “We’re taking good advantage of the current market conditions...
(Bloomberg 09/18/17)
Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s deepening dispute with companies he accuses of being tax cheats is rattling investors and dimming the allure of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. Since taking office in late 2015, Magufuli has been on a drive to increase revenue from natural resources to help fund his industrialization plans. His administration has passed laws enabling it to renegotiate contracts and ordered foreign mining firms to sell stakes on the local stock exchange to increase transparency. The authorities have hit Acacia Mining Plc with a $190 billion tax bill, curbed its exports and detained a senior employee, and seized gems and questioned staff from Petra Diamonds Ltd., alleging it hadn’t paid its dues. “In his bid to do some...
(Xinhuanet 09/18/17)
Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia on Sunday admitted that the North African nation is facing a difficult financial situation, saying the government will resort to non-traditional financing resources to overcome this crisis. While presenting the outlines of the government's Plan of Action to the members of the lower house of the Parliament, Ouyahia said non-traditional funding would enable Algeria to come out of the financial crisis within five years. Ouyahia noted that due to the oil prices plunging in the last three years, "foreign exchange reserves have fallen by half, going from 200 billion dollars in 2014 to nearly 100 dollars billion currently." Ouyahia specified that the Revenue Regulation Fund (FRR) has been exhausted by last February, saying the only...
(Bloomberg 09/18/17)
Pravin Gordhan, who was ousted from his post as South Africa’s finance minister in March, slammed KPMG LLP after it withdrew a report on the country’s tax agency that was used as evidence in a police probe against him and led to the removal of senior staff. The auditing firm said on Friday that its conclusions and recommendations in a report for the South African Revenue Service about a unit that allegedly spied on politicians should no longer be relied on. It said the evidence provided to KPMG doesn’t support the interpretation that Gordhan knew, or ought to have known, that the unit was established and operating unlawfully. “Very good people were severely intimidated due to the KPMG report,” Gordhan...

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(New Vision 11/12/15)
Uganda overturned a run of bad results against Togo by winning in Lome Thursday afternoon. They scored when a Farouk Miya free-kick was diverted to goal in the first half. Later goalkeeper Onyango saved a penalty while Uganda missed several chances to burry the game with a second goal. Cranes Starting XI vs Togo 6.30pm: Onyango, Guma, Ochaya, Juuko, Isinde, Aucho, Mawejje, Oloya, Miya, Diego, Massa
(AFP (eng) 11/09/15)
Athletics is braced to be rocked on Monday by a damning report into allegations of widespread doping and blackmail in a sport long-viewed as the flagship of the Olympic Games. Just 270 days out from the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics, an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will release its findings into a scandal already viewed as more damaging than the corruption crisis engulfing world football governing body FIFA. "This is going to be a real game-changer for sport," said the report's co-author Richard McLaren. "You potentially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets through extortion and bribes." The commission, chaired by former WADA...
(BBC News Africa 11/09/15)
TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo were crowned club champions of Africa for a fifth time after a 2-0 victory over Algeria's USM Alger in the second leg of the Champions League final. The goals came from the Tanzanian Mbwana Samatta and Ivory Coast's Roger Assale in front of their home fans in Lubumbashi.
(Reuters (Eng) 11/02/15)
Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany ran to a Kenyan sweep of the New York City Marathon titles on Sunday. Biwott took command by the 23rd mile and pulled away from his biggest challenger fellow Kenyan Geoffery Kamworor to claim the most important win of his career. Fourth in London earlier this year, Biwott won in an unofficial time of two hours, 10 minutes and 34 seconds. "It was fantastic," said the 29-year-old former dairy farmer. "The pace was slow (in the first half of the race) but I knew that last 15 kilometers I pushed hard." Kamworor came home in 2:10:48 with Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa third in 2:12:10. Defending champion Wilson Kipsang of Kenya faded to fourth. Former Boston Marathon...
(AFP 10/17/15)
Togo's footballers are in limbo, with no end in sight to a suspension of league competitions and fears growing about the impact of the 11-month suspension on the national side. No ball has been kicked in the country's top two domestic leagues for nearly a year, leaving the 2014-15 season unfinished after deadlines for the resumption of fixtures were missed. The situation is frustrating the likes of Blaise Kouma, who captains second division side Etoile Filante, based in Togo's capital, Lome. "We're lacking competition and going backwards. It's bad for Togo. We're a great footballing nation," he told AFP. Tom Saintfiet, the Belgian coach of the national side 'Les Eperviers' (The Sparrowhawks), agreed. "It's a real shame. No competitive football...
(BBC News Africa 10/15/15)
Ten players from the Eritrean football team have refused to return home after playing a World Cup qualifying match in Botswana and are now seeking asylum there, officials say. The men were detained by police after deciding not to board their plane. They are reported to have refused to go home despite the intervention of the Eritrean ambassador in Botswana. There have been a number of mass defections by Eritrean athletes in recent years. One of the most noticeable was in 2013, when Uganda granted asylum to 15 Eritrean players and their team doctor after they absconded at the end of a football tournament. A senior official at the Botswana Football Association says it has yet to establish why the...
(BBC News Africa 10/02/15)
A Sierra Leonean sprinter who went missing after competing at Glasgow's Commonwealth Games and later applied to stay in the UK has had his bid refused. Jimmy Thoronka, 21, did not return home after the event in the summer of 2014, amid Ebola fears in his home country. He was arrested after being found sleeping rough in London, but applied to stay in the UK and was offered a scholarship by a London university. But the Home Office has confirmed his appeal has been rejected. A spokesman said: "All applications for a visa or leave to remain are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules. "Mr Thoronka's claim did not meet the required thresholds within...
(BBC News Africa 09/25/15)
Defending champions New Zealand made it two World Cup wins out of two with an efficient Pool C victory over Namibia at London's Olympic Stadium. Namibia are the lowest-ranked side in the World Cup, meaning damage limitation was always going to be the aim against the All Blacks. New Zealand scored five tries before the break, before adding another four in the second half. The highlight for the African team was a fine second-half try by Johan Deysel.
(AFP 09/20/15)
The Springboks' stunning defeat by Japan in their opening match of the Rugby World Cup has shocked South Africa, casting doubt on the team's chances of progressing to the final stages of the tournament. "Ultimate Bok Humiliation", "Boks Humiliated" -- were some of the headlines in South Africa's main newspapers on Sunday. The Sunday Times stated that the defeat by the team ranked 13 in the world "rocked the game to its very foundations" -- South Africa are ranked number three and have twice won the World Cup. Under the headline "Bok heads to roll", the paper said the future of coach Heyneke Meyer may be in doubt following the shock defeat. It also said the explosive match exposed flaws...
(AFP (eng) 09/13/15)
Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been released from his contract with Tottenham Hotspur by mutual agreement, the Premier League club announced on Sunday. The 31-year-old's departure was anticipated as he was not included in Tottenham's 25-man Premier League squad for this season or given a squad number. "We can confirm that we have reached a mutual agreement with Emmanuel Adebayor which will see him released from his contract with the club," Spurs said in a statement on their website. "We wish Emmanuel well for the future." Formerly of Metz, Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid, Adebayor joined Spurs, initially on loan, in 2011, before signing on a permanent basis in August 2012. He finished as Spurs' top scorer in...
(AFP (eng) 09/02/15)
Durban was officially named as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, making it the first African city ever to stage the sporting spectacular, sparking big celebrations. South Africa's third largest city was the only candidate for the 2022 hosting rights after Canada's Edmonton withdrew in February, citing cost concerns. But the vote still sparked joy in Durban, where television pictures showed large crowds waving the South African flag. "I'm excited, the city is excited!" Durban 2022 bid chairman Mark Alexander said from Auckland, where the official announcement was made at the 71-nation Commonwealth Games Federation's (CGF) general assembly. Newly elected CGF president Louise Martin, who led a commission that backed Durban's bid after examining it in fine detail,...
(BBC News Africa 09/01/15)
Victorious Kenyan athletes have returned home to a hero's welcome after they topped the medal table at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing for the first time. The team were received at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi by thousands of supporters, led by Deputy President William Ruto. Mr Ruto hosted a special breakfast to honour the team at his residence. Kenya won seven gold, six silver and three bronze medals to finish top. President Uhuru Kenyatta will receive the team for a special dinner at State House on Thursday.
(BBC News Africa 08/31/15)
Kenya has come top of the overall medal table at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing for the first time, with seven gold medals. Kenya also won six silver and three bronze medals, with Jamaica and the US in second and third place respectively. Their final gold medal was won by Asbel Kiprop in the 1500m. President Uhuru Kenyatta tweeted: "Our young people have once again shown that they are as good as the world's best and brightest."
(Voice of America 08/26/15)
BERLIN— Some Kenyan athletes were warned ahead of unannounced doping tests and a banned runner accused athletics officials of demanding money to hide positive tests, German state broadcaster ARD reported on Tuesday. ARD and Britain's Sunday Times reported recently that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had not followed up on hundreds of suspicious doping tests, throwing the sport into turmoil. ARD has reported on allegations of doping in Kenyan athletics in the past.
(AFP (eng) 08/25/15)
Ethiopian favourite Genzebe Dibaba stormed to the women's world 1500m title as she stamped her authority with a sumptuous display of controlled running in Beijing on Tuesday. The world record-holder strolled through a pedestrian first lap before taking the front, tracked by Kenyan Faith Kipyegon and Dawit Seyaum, also of Ethiopia. But a second kick 200m from the line saw Dibaba stretch away to win in 4min 08.09sec, Kipyegon taking silver in 4:09.96 and fast-finishing Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan third in 4:09.34. Dibaba last month ran 3:50.07 to shatter the world 1500m record set in 1993 by China's Yunxia Qu, who competed under the guidance of controversial coach Ma Junren. She also holds the world records for the indoor 1500,...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/15)
Denied entry to watch his favourite football team, Osama Gamal glumly settled on a pavement outside and followed the match live on his phone as policemen guarded the near-empty stadium. Egypt once boasted some of the strongest teams in Africa and the Middle East, and the sport was adored by millions. But the bloody turmoil of the past four years has not spared the world's most popular sport, which in the minds of many Egyptian fans has become synonymous with deadly riots and stampedes. Games are now played in empty stadiums, with spectators banned. "Although it is played for spectators, we no longer enjoy football, our only pleasure in life," said Gamal, 21. Two editions of the Egyptian Premier League...
(AFP (eng) 07/20/15)
Four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi linked up with Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba on Saturday to lay the first stone at a future African Cup of Nations venue. The Barcelona star, who won a treble of Spanish title, Copa del Rey and Champions League last season, officially started the building process at the Port-Gentil stadium, which will host Africa Cup of Nations matches in 2017. The ceremony took place on a wide sandy ground where the stadium will be built. It was the Argentine forward's first visit to Gabon and he signed autographs on team jerseys worn by his fans, before proceeding with the laying of the first stone, accompanied by the president. "When I was in...
(Voice of America 06/27/15)
JUBA— There was more than a sense of sportsmanship and athleticism in the air this week when the Black Stars Basketball Club beat three other teams to win the inaugural Manute Bol tournament in the South Sudanese capital, Juba. "The theme of this tournament is that sport can unite us," said Nicola Bol, a cousin of the late Manute Bol and one of the organizers of the tournament. The Black Stars team, which won the inaugural Manute Bol basketball tournament, named after the South Sudanese NBA player who died suddenly in June 2010, huddle before a match.The Black Stars team, which won the inaugural Manute Bol basketball tournament, named after the South Sudanese NBA player who died suddenly in June...
(BBC News Africa 06/26/15)
Consider a world in which the England kit man is paid as big an appearance fee as Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart or Raheem Sterling. Tough to imagine? Not so if you worked for Ghana's Football Association at the 2014 World Cup where their "equipment officer" earned $100,000 (£64,000). In a 396-page report which investigates the Black Stars' first-round exit in Brazil, payment for a role also defined as "ball boy" is highlighted. Ismail Hamidu was the lucky recipient of a sum equal to that earned by individual players, doctors, coaches and manager James Kwesi Appiah.
(BBC News Africa 06/20/15)
Ivorian ex-Fifa executive Jacques Anouma has told the BBC that he did not accept a $1.5m (£1m) bribe over Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid. His denial comes amid a criminal investigation by Swiss prosecutors into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. Mr Anouma said that justice should now be left to run its course. The Swiss investigation follows the indictment of seven top Fifa officials in May, accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m. Mr Anouma also said that $2m paid by Qatar to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in 2010, ahead of the final World Cup vote, did not oblige African members to vote for the Gulf nation. Negotiations with Qatari officials...

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(Bloomberg 08/08/17)
In five decades of importing steel wires, Zahar Benmoussa’s company never worried about currency risks -- until Morocco announced plans to float the dirham. “For the first time in our history, we started to hedge” in the currency market, said Benmoussa, managing director at Casablanca-based Grillages Marocains. Across Morocco, fears of a weaker dirham triggered a rush for dollars and euros, causing a $3 billion drop in its reserves in just three months this year. Then in June, the government put its plans on hold again. It was at least the second time it stalled on a move supported by the International Monetary Fund and a centerpiece of Morocco’s ambitions to become North Africa’s dominant financial hub. By delaying, it...
(Bloomberg 08/04/17)
Ghana has recorded its biggest cocoa harvest in six years, according to two people familiar with the matter, after favorable weather conditions boosted output in the world’s second-biggest grower. Graded and sealed deliveries since the beginning of the season in October reached 909,493 metric tons by July 27, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. That is the biggest since the 1,012,839 ton harvest for the whole of the 2010-11 season and compares with 778,043 tons produced in the 2015-16 crop, when severe desert winds damaged crops and affected rainfall. Certified purchases for the first seven weeks of the so-called light crop, the smaller of the two annual harvests which started June 8,...
(Voice of America 08/04/17)
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday it will provide an additional $169 million in humanitarian aid to the drought-stricken African countries of Ethiopia and Kenya. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said the funds, over $136 million for Ethiopia and almost $33 million for Kenya, would be used for emergency food aid, nutrition supplies and health services. USAID said nearly 8 million Ethiopians are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Without it, the agency said "food insecurity could reach catastrophic levels for some families in the worst-affected areas" and result in "the displacement of affected populations." In Kenya, USAID said some 2.6 million people are "acutely food-insecure" as drought conditions continue. The latest round of humanitarian...
(Bloomberg 08/03/17)
Paul Kagame has held an iron-clad grip on power in Rwanda since taking office 17 years ago and that’s set to remain after Friday’s presidential elections, with his victory an almost foregone conclusion. The 59-year-old led a rebel army that ended the East African country’s 1994 genocide in which about 800,000 people died, and he’s been credited with turning Rwanda’s economy into one of the continent’s top performers by cutting red tape, improving internet access, roads and electricity supplies. Yet his detractors, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, say civil liberties have fallen by the wayside and the credibility of the vote has been compromised by a violent crackdown on his opponents...
(Bloomberg 08/03/17)
Nigeria took a step to unify its multiple exchange rates by allowing banks to use a currency window for investors when quoting the naira rather than the official rate. The naira weakened on the interbank market. FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, the Lagos-based platform that oversees interbank trading, asked lenders this week to publish quotes reflecting trades in the Investors’ & Exporters’ FX Window, according to Ecobank Transnational Inc. and Access Bank Plc. The window was opened in late April in a bid to attract inflows to the dollar-starved nation. The interbank rate weakened 14 percent to 366.04 per dollar as of 5:42 p.m. in Lagos, close to 367.08 for the so-called Nafex rate, the daily fixing published by FMDQ for...
(Bloomberg 08/03/17)
What matters isn't so much who wins the upcoming elections, but how they win. On Aug. 8, Kenyans will choose a new president, as well as new governors, senators and members of parliament. Much as it matters that the best candidates win, something else matters even more -- that the election itself succeeds. This cannot be taken for granted. Violence and intimidation have cast a pall over four of the six votes Kenya has held since becoming a multiparty democracy in 1991. In the worst outbreak, after bitter disputes over the 2007 contest, at least 1,100 Kenyans were killed and several hundred thousand were displaced. This year’s contest brims with peril. For starters, it’s a closely fought grudge match between...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Plans by Ghanaian companies to raise capital are stalling as the West African nation’s securities regulator continues to operate without an appointed board more than six months after the previous committee’s term ended. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Ghana is unable to permit at least two corporate bond sales and process an “uncountable” number of broker-dealer and fund manager applications as approvals may only be granted by a fully constituted board, Jacob Aidoo, head of issuers at the regulator, said in an interview in the capital, Accra. The previous SEC board dissolved in January following the swearing in of President Nana Akufo-Addo. HFC Bank Ghana Ltd. will wait until September before it asks shareholders to vote on a 50-million...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
A raft of emails leaked to South African media about how the Gupta family have won billions of rands of contracts from state-owned companies and influenced government decisions through their closeness to President Jacob Zuma isn’t authentic, family member Atul Gupta said. “There’s no authenticity of Gupta Leaks at all,” Gupta told the British Broadcasting Corp. in an interview. There is every-day “perception-mongering to drive their own agenda,” he said. Companies controlled by the Gupta family, who are friends with Zuma and in business with his son, were dropped by their South African bankers, brokers and auditors, and the nation’s graft ombudsman implied that the president allowed the family to influence cabinet appointments and the issuing of state contracts. Zuma...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Egypt may exceed its $10 billion target for foreign direct investment this year as the weaker pound reduces the cost of doing business in North Africa’s largest economy and a new investment law comes into force, the investment minister said. Sahar Nasr told Bloomberg she had been approached by investors from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China and the United Arab Emirates -- including Emaar Properties PJSC Chairman Mohamed Alabbar and Al Ghurair Group -- about potential investments. The pipeline for the fiscal year that began July 1 includes oil and gas, real estate, tourism and logistics investments
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Kenyan opposition candidate Raila Odinga drew more support from voters in three opinion polls as he prepares to take on President Uhuru Kenyatta in next week’s election, raising the likelihood of a runoff vote. Polls released on Tuesday showed Odinga is favored by as much as 49 percent of the electorate, compared with as little as 42 percent two months ago. Kenyatta is backed by up to 48 percent of voters, down from a high of 49 percent, according to the surveys. “The race is going to be very close,” Jared Jeffery, an analyst at Paarl, South Africa-based NKC African Economics, said in an emailed research note. “Odinga’s ascendancy in the polls points to a possible runoff.” Kenyan elections heighten...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
OPEC oil output has risen this month by 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a 2017 high, a Reuters survey found, led by a further recovery in supply from Libya, one of the countries exempt from a production-cutting deal. A dip in supply from Saudi Arabia and lower Angolan exports helped to boost OPEC's adherence to its supply curbs to 84 percent. While this is up from a revised 77 percent in June, compliance in both months has fallen from levels above 90 percent earlier in the year. The extra oil from Libya means supply by the 13 OPEC members originally part of the deal has risen far above their implied production target. Libya and Nigeria were exempt from the...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
South Africa’s Reserve Bank will on Tuesday ask the court to reverse an instruction from the nation’s anti-graft ombudsman to change its mandate, as it seeks to protect its independence. The High Court in Pretoria, the capital, is due to hear the central bank’s application to set aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s June 19 instruction that lawmakers must change the constitution to make it focus on the “socio-economic well-being of citizens” instead of inflation. This roiled markets, with the rand being the most volatile among major and emerging-market currencies this year, was condemned by the ruling party and parliament. The independence of the central bank is cited by rating companies as a key strength, and any move to erode that...
(Voice of America 08/01/17)
Police in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have arrested more than 100 protesters in cities across the country who were calling for presidential elections to be held by the end of the year. Demonstrations took place Monday in the capital, Kinshasa, the eastern city of Goma, and at least a half dozen other cities. In Goma, witnesses said police used tear gas to disperse protesters, while in Kinshasa, media groups said several journalists covering the protests were briefly detained. The U.N. Joint Human Rights Office in Congo condemned Monday's arrests, saying that "arbitrary arrests are incompatible with the right to information and right of freedom of assembly" guaranteed in Congo's constitution. The youth movement Struggle for Change (LUCHA) organized...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
Egypt’s foreign-currency reserves surged to a record in July, as investor confidence surged since the country embarked on an International Monetary Fund-backed economic program last year. Net international reserves rose by $4.7 billion to $36.04 billion, according to central bank data released on Tuesday. Egypt received a $1.25 billion loan installment from the IMF in July. Officials at the central bank were not immediately available for comment. Investors have been pouring money into Egyptian debt and equities since authorities removed most currency restrictions and raised interest rates in November to end a dollar-shortage and secure a $12 billion IMF loan. The government has also tapped international bond markets, twice, raising $7 billion. More than $13 billion has flowed into Egyptian...
(Financial Times 07/31/17)
Resolution of one problem triggers new set of challenges. Egyptian entrepreneurs, like Ibrahim Soudan, were forced to scour the black market for dollars a year ago to pay for imports as they battled a crippling foreign currency shortage. But today the country’s banks are flush with greenbacks and the black market for dollars has been wiped out — the result of Cairo’s decision to float the pound eight months ago to clinch a $12bn International Monetary Fund loan. The devaluation was one of several politically sensitive measures the government took that has earned it plaudits from the IMF and helped
(Voice of America 07/29/17)
KIGALI — Normally, African election campaigns like the one taking place in Rwanda generate a lot of "noise," meaning tension and worries of unrest, according to Moody Awori, head of the East African Community team tasked with observing the August 4 presidential vote. In Rwanda, however, "I have not seen that, I have not heard that and, in fact, sometimes it is difficult to know that an election campaign is going on," he said. "To me, that is a plus." Of course, a campaign is taking place. Incumbent President Paul Kagame has attracted huge rallies in the capital, Kigali, and everywhere else he goes. His opponents, opposition party leader Frank Habineza and independent Philippe Mpayimana, have drawn crowds too, although...
(Bloomberg 07/28/17)
Jose Eduardo dos Santos is set to maintain control from behind the scenes when he steps down as Angola’s president next month after almost four decades in office. Dos Santos will until at least 2018 still be leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, the party that has ruled the southern African nation since its independence from Portugal in 1975. And, this month the government pushed a law through parliament that may enable his appointees to remain in charge of the security services. “Dos Santos has no intention of giving up power,” Gary van Staden, an analyst at NKC African Economics in Paarl, outside Cape Town, said by phone. “He intends to keep the levers that...
(Bloomberg 07/28/17)
Zimbabwean companies including Delta Corp Ltd. and BAT Zimbabwe Ltd. have seen their fortunes turn as cash-strapped consumers start to embrace electronic payments for goods and services. Delta, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV’s brewing operations in the southern African country, reported a 12 percent rise in lager volumes in the three months through June, the first increase since September 2015, while British American Tobacco Plc’s Zimbabwe unit posted an 8 percent profit gain in the half year through June. Delta, also Zimbabwe’s biggest company with a market capitalization of about $1.6 billion, said the turnaround was in part due to drinkers turning to alternatives to cash to buy beer as the country battles hard currency shortages. Last year the central bank resorted...
(Voice of America 07/27/17)
Civil society activists say a move to exclude South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar from a regional peace process will ensure that South Sudan remains engulfed in war. Ministers of the East African bloc IGAD said Monday that Machar will not be invited to the next meeting for the peace process, which is aimed at revitalizing a 2015 peace agreement between the rebels and South Sudanese government. “We already agreed that the process, all opposition groups including Riek Machar’s ideas, the representatives of Riek Machar, can be involved in this process. For the time being, physically we are not inviting Riek Machar,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu said at the end of the ministers' meeting in South Sudan's capital, Juba...
(Voice of America 07/27/17)
Thirty-two people, most of them soldiers with Cameroon’s elite Rapid Intervention Battalion, remain unaccounted for after their ship capsized off the coast of the Bakassi Peninsula over a week ago. Relatives of the missing are demanding answers. Dozens come every evening to comfort the residents of a house in the Yaounde-Nkoabang neighborhood of the capital. It is the home of Alex Alega, one of the 32 soldiers still missing after a Cameroonian military vessel went down off the Atlantic coast July 16. His brother, Theophile, is anxious for news. He says it is unacceptable that, to date, the military has not explained

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