Friday 20 April 2018

Toute l'afrique

(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
The UN envoy for Libya told the Security Council Wednesday that he is launching a new, final push to bring Libya's rival leaders on board a 2015 political deal that set up a unity government. Ghassan Salame said he believed there was "very little chance" of agreement on amending the deal that established the UN-backed government under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. "However, starting tomorrow, I shall commence a new, and final attempt to realize the amendments," said Salame, who briefed the council by video-conference from Tripoli. The United Nations has launched a plan to bring stability to Libya through...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted an invitation from his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir to visit the North African country, Sudan’s state news agency said on Thursday. Putin, fresh from an election victory granting him his fourth term and extending his leadership of Russia by six years, called Bashir on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations, SUNA said. Bashir congratulated Putin who affirmed his country’s commitment to investing in Sudan’s energy, oil, gas, and gold mining sectors. “The president extended an invitation to the Russian president to visit Sudan and discuss developing relations and building a strategic partnership and Putin accepted the invitation,” SUNA said. It provided no date for the visit. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Benin's President Patrice Talon has asked local firm Petrolin and French giant Bollore to "withdraw" from a major rail infrastructure project to make way for China, in the latest development of the controversial scheme. In an interview published on Thursday in the French magazine Challenges, Talon asked the two companies to "withdraw amicably from the project", which links Benin to Niger to the north, promising they will be "compensated fairly". "A private investor cannot finance the railway we want alone," the head of state was quoted as saying, describing Bollore's offer as "lower-end".
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Former Madagascar finance minister Jean Razafindravonona is being held in pre-trial detention over misappropriation of public funds, the country’s anti-graft office said on Thursday. Razafindravonona, who was finance minister from April 2014 to February 2015, was detained on Wednesday. “He is involved in a case of expenses related to fictitious public contracts,” Benjamin Ratovoson, head of the Independent Anti-Corruption Office (Bianco) in the capital, told Reuters. Lawyers for Razafindravonona, who previously served as the director of the budget office in the finance ministry...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram were in Nigeria's capital on Thursday, a day after their surprise release that fuelled rumours about how their freedom was won. A total of 104 of the 110 students seized from the school in Dapchi, in the northeastern state of Yobe, on February 19 were dropped off by the Islamist militants on Wednesday morning. The girls -- many of them dressed in matching fawn-coloured long hijabs -- boarded a Nigerian military transport plane from the Borno state capital Maiduguri to Abuja on Wednesday night. In the capital...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions on 15 South Sudanese oil operators will work against efforts to restore peace and stability in the nation, the government said on Thursday. The sanctions, which were announced on Wednesday, will require companies and government bodies to apply for special licenses to do business in the United States, an action designed to increase pressure on President Salva Kiir to end the conflict and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. “These measures are viewed by the Ministry of Petroleum as counterproductive to the shared mission of the Republic of South Sudan’s and the United States’ governments to bring peace and stability to South Sudan,” the ministry said in a statement. It pledged to work with the U.S...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
A U.N. peacekeepers’ camp near Kidal in Mali came under rocket fire on Thursday, the U.N. mission said, shortly before a visit by the prime minister, the first to the northern city by a top government official for four years. Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and eight of his ministers are due in Kidal as part of a nine-stop national tour. The city and the province of the same name, the country’s most rebellious, have been under Tuareg control since an uprising in 2012. “I am headed to Kidal,” Maiga said on Twitter before his departure, giving no scheduled arrival time. The West African country, which is mostly desert, is due to hold a presidential election on July 29, but there are...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
At least 14 people died and several others were wounded Thursday when a car packed with explosives blew up in front of a popular Mogadishu hotel, a government spokesman and witnesses said. "There was a heavy blast here and the number of casualties we have is so far 14 killed and a number of others wounded," said Abdiazis Ali Ibrahim, a spokesman for the security ministry. "The toll could be higher," he added. Witnesses said the explosion was caused by a car bomb on one of the capital's busiest streets that was packed with people heading home from work. "The blast was so huge, a vehicle containing explosives went off near a teashop in front of Weheliye hotel, leaving more...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
A former Zambian minister and a leading critic of President Edgar Lungu was arrested in Lusaka on Thursday over allegations of making profits from criminal activity. Chishimba Kambwili has emerged as one of the most prominent voices speaking out against Lungu, who is accused of increasingly authoritarian rule and of cracking down on dissent. "He has been charged with 37 counts of being in possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of crime and two counts of obtaining pecuniary advantage," Kambwili's lawyer Keith Mweemba told AFP. Mweemba said that Kambwili was detained by police and would appear in court on Friday. Kambwili, a lawmaker from the governing Patriotic...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
A former municipal councillor in Burkina Faso has been abducted in a northern zone bordering Mali which has been repeatedly targeted by jihadists, the security ministry said Thursday. Troops were combing the area after the abduction in Lassa village, Soum province, by "five armed individuals on motorcycles" on Wednesday evening, a statement said. His whereabouts were unknown, the ministry added. A similar incident in April last year saw two civil servants abducted in Ina-Bao, also near the Mali border. Both were later released. In 2015, the Ansar Dine group led by rebel leader Iyad Ag Ghaly kidnapped Australian Kenneth Elliot and his wife Jocelyn in Djibo, a town bordering Mali and Niger. Jocelyn Elliot was released a year later but...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
PARIS (Reuters) - Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy told magistrates that accusations of illicit Libyan funding for his 2007 election campaign were a web of lies that had made his life “hell” and lost him a re-election bid in 2012, Le Figaro newspaper said. The 63-year-old, who held power from 2007 to 2012, was told by investigators after two days of questioning in police custody on Wednesday he was formally suspected of passive corruption, an offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail. At issue is a murky affair of Libyan spies, arms dealers and allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi provided Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign with millions of euros shipped to Paris in suitcases...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Mali's Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga made his first visit to the country's troubled north Thursday with a stop due in the city of Kidal, which is still in the hands of former rebels. Just hours before the visit, five French soldiers were wounded in Kidal when their base was attacked, the French army said in Paris, demonstrating the scale of the problem facing troops in the region. Around 4,000 French troops are deployed under Operation Barkhane alongside the United Nations 12,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping operation in Mali.
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Riot police in Ivory Coast on Thursday arrested protestors and fired teargas to prevent an opposition demonstration from going ahead, AFP journalists said. The opposition coalition Together for Democracy and Sovereignty (EDS) called the march to protest against the electoral commission which it accuses of political bias. It comes ahead of senatorial elections on Saturday, with municipal and regional polls due later in 2018 ahead of presidential elections in 2020. Police used tear gas and arrested around a dozen demonstrators who were heading towards the starting point of Thursday's rally in the economic centre Abidjan. After three hours of trying to evade police, the EDS cancelled the rally. EDS spokesman Jean-Gervais Tcheide was arrested while he was being interviewed by...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded ousted Robert Mugabe in November, has pardoned at least 3,000 prisoners to clear out overpopulated jails, officials said Thursday. The pardon will see the release of all female prisoners except those serving life terms, as well as all disabled and juvenile prisoners. Terminally-ill prisoners and those above the age of 60 who have served a third of their time will also be freed. "The president in terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe has granted amnesty to prisoners," the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) said in a statement.
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
The United States imposed restrictions Wednesday on exports of US technical support to the South Sudanese oil industry, warning that it is fuelling the bloody civil war there. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said exporters will henceforth need a license to export, re-export or transfer US technology or equipment to 15 "South Sudanese oil-related entities." The names of the companies will be added to a US Commerce Department list on Thursday, but South Sudan's oil is largely exploited though joint ventures between state-owned Nilepet and Chinese, Indian and Malaysian firms. A non-governmental watchdog, The Sentry, said that any oil firms on the list using US-made equipment would now find it hard to order spare parts, hampering their operations. "The listed...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Boarding schools have been shut indefinitely in the northeast Nigerian state most affected by Boko Haram violence, the government has said, in the latest blow to children's education. "All boarding secondary schools in the state, with the exception of those in (the state capital) Maiduguri and (the town of) Biu, will close down with immediate effect until further notice," the Borno state government said. Borno is the spiritual home of Boko Haram Islamists, whose name translates loosely from Hausa as "Western education is forbidden". The high-profile abductions of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state, in April 2014, and 110...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy blasted what he said was a lack of evidence for corruption charges against him over claims the late Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi funded his 2007 election campaign, in his court statement published Thursday. The day after he was charged in France's most explosive political scandals in decades, the 63-year-old rightwinger said in the statement published by the Figaro newspaper that he had been in "living hell" since the allegations emerged in 2011. Demanding he be treated as a witness rather than a suspect, he urged magistrates to consider "the violence of the injustice" if it was proven...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
The UN Security Council on Wednesday told the peace envoy for Western Sahara to press on with talks on relaunching negotiations to settle the dispute over the North African territory. Horst Koehler met with the council behind closed doors to report on his meetings with representatives from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania as well as the Polisario Front seeking independence for Western Sahara. Council members expressed "their full support" for Koehler's diplomatic efforts to "relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit," said the council president, Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom. However, no date was announced for the resumption of formal talks on ending the dispute. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Koehler, a former German president, in August...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
KIGALI (Reuters) - Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, signaled its opposition to a continental free trade zone, saying it would defend its own businesses and industry. The $3 trillion continental free-trade zone encompassing 1.2 billion people, was accepted by 44 countries on Wednesday, but Nigeria and South Africa, the second-biggest economy, did not sign up, diminishing its impact. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Pretoria would sign up once domestic legal requirements had been satisfied. However, his Nigerian counterpart, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, took a defiantly protectionist stance, saying the economic and security implications of the deal needed further discussion. “We will not agree to anything that will undermine local manufacturers and entrepreneurs, or that may lead to Nigeria becoming...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Kenya's ruling Jubilee Party on Wednesday denied that Cambridge Analytica had stage-managed the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta in highly disputed and deadly 2017 elections. The British firm at the centre of a scandal over the improper use of Facebook data in US President Donald Trump's election 2016 campaign, has also come under the spotlight in Kenya, where it worked on Kenyatta's campaign last year and in 2013. An expose aired by Channel 4 television in the United Kingdom included hidden camera footage of company managing director Mark Turnbull bragging about their role in Kenya's elections. "(In) the campaign which we ran in 2013 and 2017 for Kenyatta, we have rebranded the entire party twice, written their manifesto, done two...

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(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
The death toll from clashes between youths and cattle herders in central Nigeria has risen to 24, the police said on Wednesday. Violence broke out on Monday in the village of Omutu, in the Okpokwu area of Benue state, which has been hit by repeated unrest over land and grazing rights. The killings, most of them of women and children, are said to have been a reprisal for the death of a cattle herder and the disappearance of another. "As of this moment, the figure of those that died... is 24," the Benue state police commissioner Fatai Owoseni told reporters. On Tuesday, police gave the toll as 15. Four people have been arrested in connection with the deaths, he added...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Boko Haram killed 10 people in three separate attacks in northeast Nigeria, in the latest violence against civilians in the restive region, local militia said Wednesday. On Tuesday, four loggers were killed when they stepped on a landmine left by the jihadists near Dikwa, 90 kilometres (55 miles) east of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri. The four had gone to retrieve a vehicle abandoned the previous day following a Boko Haram ambush that left three dead. "Four people died yesterday (Tuesday) just outside Dikwa as a result of an explosion from a mine planted by Boko Haram," Babakura Kolo...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Hundreds of small undertaker firms in Ivory Coast went on strike on Wednesday over what they described as abusive practices by the country's dominant funeral company. Representatives staged a rally outside the morgue of the University Hospital Centre in Abidjan's Yopougon district in protest at their rival, Ivosep. They brandished placards reading "Enough is Enough," "Ivosep, the morgues and cemeteries do not belong to you" and "no to scams." Boniface Kouame kra, president of the National Association of Ivory Coast Undertakers (Synapofu-CI), said "211 undertakers are on strike" over business practices by the industry's biggest company, Ivosep. Ivosep dominates Ivory Coast's funeral industry, a legacy from French colonial times. The market segment left for small undertakers is in making coffins...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Boko Haram's abduction of 110 girls in northeast Nigeria has prompted fresh fears about safety at schools, nearly four years after a similar kidnapping led to promises of better security. The disappearance of the students from Dapchi, in Yobe state, on February 19, also threatens access to education for girls in a region already plagued by low levels of school attendance. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said last weekend it had sent 250 "armed operatives" to provide security in the 30 public secondary schools in Yobe. Five hundred others were sent to neighbouring Borno state and a further 400 to Adamawa state, according to the head of the paramilitary group, Abdullahi Muhammadu. But Alhaji Deri, whose daughter,...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Fighting between tribes in southern Libya on Tuesday killed three people and wounded 20, medics said, in the latest flare-up in over a month of clashes. The violence has rocked the town of Sebha, some 600 kilometres (370 miles) south of Tripoli, where tribal rivalries have frequently spilt over into bloodshed. The Sebha Medical Centre wrote on social media that three civilians, including a young girl, were killed after a two-day lull in fighting. The latest clashes in the marginalised Fezzan region -- known for its smuggling routes -- have see the Arab Awlad Suleiman tribe pitted against the Tubus. The UN said Thursday that it was "deeply concerned" by the escalation in fighting that had left at least six...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Robbers used a hacksaw to try to cut off a South African triathlete's legs when they attacked him on his way to a training session, the sportsman's colleagues said Wednesday. A gang of three men targeted 27-year-old triathlete Mhlengi Gwala in a dawn attack in the east coast city of Durban on Tuesday before dragging him to a bush and attempting to cut off his legs. "He is currently in surgery to try and save his leg -- the surgeons are confident," Dennis Jackson, the head of South Africa's Elite Athlete Development Programme, told AFP. Gwala's friend and fellow triathlete Sandile Shange said Gwala told him that the attackers failed to cut through the bone because they had used a...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
More than 20 African migrants were missing and feared drowned Tuesday after scores of people seeking to reach Italy were rescued from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday. A Cypriot merchant ship picked up 72 migrants in international waters on Saturday, 30 of whom had left Libya on a wooden boat and 42 others from a rubber dinghy. They were then handed over to the Aquarius humanitarian ship chartered by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The IOM said that after arriving at the port of Pozzallo in Sicily on Tuesday, the survivors from the first group told them that 21 people travelling with them had been lost at sea. "People...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Cape Town will not be forced to shut-off normal water supplies in 2018 in response to a three-year-long drought as previously feared, the region's governing party said Wednesday. Mmusi Maimane, who leads the Democratic Alliance which controls both the Cape Town city council and the wider Western Cape province, said that a 60 percent reduction in consumption averted the shut-off. "Provided we continue consuming water at current levels, and we receive decent winter rainfall this year, 'Day Zero' will not occur in 2018. This means the taps will stay open in 2018," he said in a statement. It was previously forecast that "Day Zero" -- when normal water supply would be disconnected and people would have to queue at 200...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Eight soldiers were killed and 61 injured, as well as 24 civilians, in last week's twin attacks in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the authorities said Tuesday, adding that eight jihadist assailants also died. The previous official toll from Friday's twin assault on the country's military headquarters and the French embassy had been seven soldiers and nine attackers dead, and there was no mention of any civilian casualties. "The confusion (over the number of dead) stemmed from a body that was found on the site" of the attacks, public prosecutor Faso Maiza Sereme told a press conference. "After further tests and checks, it proved to be one of our soldiers," she said. The authorities had previously said around 80 were injured,...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Heavy rains, filthy conditions, medicine shortages and endemic corruption have combined to make a lethal malarial cocktail for Angola. Since the start of the year more than 300,000 cases of the disease have been reported across the country, leading to at least a thousand deaths. The toll, say experts, is a clear sign of the poverty and failings of governance in a country which, paradoxically, is one of Africa's top oil producers. "The number is frightening," said Jose Antonio, the director of public health in Kilamba Kiaxi, a poor neighbourhood of the capital. Luanda province, which includes the capital, has been the hardest hit with more than 75,225 cases and 117 deaths followed by Benguela in the west of the...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
For many migrants arriving in Europe, it's difficult to talk about the toll taken by the journey. But Ibrahim Soumahoro is unusually frank: the four years spent getting to France have been "lost years". "I wouldn't make this journey again for anything in the world," the 20-year-old Ivorian said, struggling to control his emotions as he tells his story. "It's not worthy of a human being, all this humiliation." After a trip that saw him go through hell in Libya and lose his best friend in the Mediterranean, Soumahoro wound up in Briancon, a town perched high in the French Alps. In jeans and a hoodie, his hair in short dreadlocks, Soumahoro looks like any other young man, but he...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Jihadist strikes on Burkina Faso have shed light on West Africa's Achilles' heel, experts say. They point to a country whose security apparatus has been battered by the ouster of a dictator with military roots, and where poverty and unemployment provide jihadists with fertile ground for recruitment. Audacious twin attacks on Friday in the capital Ouagadougou targeting the military headquarters and the embassy of former colonial ruler France, sent shockwaves through the region. The strike on the military HQ appears to have been aimed at a scheduled meeting of the so-called G5 Sahel -- a French-backed group of five countries fighting jihadism in the volatile Saharan region. Burkina Faso is the "soft underbelly" of the region...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
At least 16 people, mostly women and children, were killed in clashes between youths and cattle herders in central Nigeria, police said Tuesday. Monday's violence in the village of Omutu, in the Okpokwu area of Benue state, is the latest flare-up linked to tensions over land and grazing rights in the restive region. State police spokesman Moses Yamu said in a statement that a meeting had been called to calm anger after a herdsman was killed on Monday and another went missing. "Unfortunately as the search and peace meeting were going on some herdsmen surreptitiously went on (a) rampage, resulting in the macheting to death of 15 persons, mainly women and children," he said. Yamu said some houses were set...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Rwanda police said Tuesday it had arrested six "masterminds" planning to defy a government order shutting down over 700 sub-standard religious buildings. The clergymen are accused of holding meetings at which they discussed resisting the order, issued last week, to close 714 churches and one mosque for allegedly failing to meet safety and hygiene standards. "After the suspension of churches that did not meet required standards, some church leaders began illegal meetings intended to defy and obstruct the directive," said Rwanda police spokesman Theos Badege. "Police began investigations to find the masterminds behind this illegal act."
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Four countries in southern Africa on Monday took steps against South African chilled meat imports made at a factory found to be the origin of the world's worst-ever listeria outbreak. Mozambique and Namibia announced they were immediately suspending imports of the products. Botswana said it was recalling the items "with immediate effect", while Zambia called on South African retail chains in its country to pull the incriminated goods from local shelves. Since January 2017, 948 people in South Africa have contracted listeriosis -- a disease caused by bacteria from soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces which can contaminate fresh food, notably meat. At least 180 have died, according to official figures. Health officials say the source of the outbreak was...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Lassa fever has claimed 110 lives in Nigeria since the beginning of the year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said Tuesday, in one of the worst outbreaks since 2016. The World Heath Organisation last week said the epidemic had reached record highs with 317 laboratory confirmed cases and 72 people dead. "Since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 110 deaths: 78 in positive-confirmed cases, 8 in probable cases and 24 in negative cases," the NCDC said in its latest report. A total of 1,121 suspected cases were reported, "353 are confirmed positive, 8 are probable, 723 are negative (not a case) and 37 are awaiting laboratory results." The NCDC said cases have been reported in 18...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Kenya's health ministry on Tuesday announced a ban on the import and sale of certain South African processed meat products after a listeria outbreak that has killed at least 180 people. Kenya is the first nation in east Africa to ban ready-to-eat meat products from South Africa that include polony -- a local version of baloney sausage -- sliced ham and Frankfurter-style sausages. "In order to ensure the health of the public is protected and as a precautionary measure you are required to stop the importation and sale of these products" and recall those already on sale, the health ministry wrote in a note to country health officers. Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have also blocked the...
(AFP 03/06/18)
The assailants were methodical. They came in waves. First came the ones who killed. Then came the ones who torched homes. And finally, the ones who looted anything of value. Ahead of them, terrorised villagers fled for their lives -- the latest victims of the ethnic conflict that bedevils Ituri, the troubled northeastern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bloodshed is part of a cycle of violence between the Hema and Lendu communities, cattle herders and farmers who have long fought over land -- a conflict that has recently intensified as DR Congo struggles over its future. At least 49 people were killed last week, bringing the death toll since mid-December to more than 100, while 200,000 people...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
A plan for India to build a military base on an outlying Seychelles island has won favour among the archipelago nation's politicians, but some hostility from its people. The base on Assumption Island is to be funded by India and shared by the two countries' militaries. The deal was struck in principle in 2015 during a visit to the Seychelles by India's prime minister Narendra Modi, but progress since has been slow. The government of the Seychelles, based in Victoria on Mahe Island 1,135 kilometres (705 miles) northeast of Assumption, says the base will help coastguards to patrol its 1.3 million square kilometre (500,000 square mile) exclusive economic zone for illegal fishing, drug trafficking and piracy. Currently, the remote coral...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Burkina and French investigators on Monday pushed ahead with a probe into deadly jihadist attacks last week suspected to have aimed at a major anti-terror meeting. Forensic teams were at work at the scenes of last Friday's twin attack in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, and two suspects were being questioned, sources said. The operation, using guns and a car bomb, aimed at the country's military headquarters and the French embassy. Nine assailants and seven soldiers were killed and at least 80 people were injured, according to a government toll. The operation was claimed by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), led by the Malian jihadist Iyad Ag Ghaly. One of the two suspects is believed to have played...

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(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
JUBA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Jimmy’s parents finally pulled their son out of the churning river, his body was already lifeless and limp, heavy in the arms of his father. But the eight-year-old’s death – and that of three other boys – could have been easily prevented, had it not been for the price of drinking water in South Sudan’s capital Juba – costing a third of a family’s monthly income. The only school the family could afford was on the other side of the river, and, with no bridge, Jimmy had to wade through its turbulent waters each day. “My brother drowned on his way to class,” said his 18-year-old sister Mary Irene, who has just graduated from...
(AFP (eng) 10/01/17)
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower, on Sunday set its minimum rate for farmers at 700 CFA francs per kilo for the 2017-18 crop, a steep drop over the previous year, due to falling global prices. Although production increased 28.5 percent to a record 2.15 million tonnes in the 2016-17 season, world cocoa prices have fallen by more than a third. The minimum price guaranteed to farmers was 1,100 CFA francs (1.68 euros, about $1) per kilo at the start of the 2016-17 season. But the Ivorian government had to lower the price to 700 CFA francs in April due to falling prices in international markets, which was linked to overproduction in relation to demand and aggravated by the...
(Xinhuanet 09/29/17)
With South Africa's "strike season" in full swing, the Department of Labor on Thursday warned against frequent strikes that is harming both the economy and the labor force. In its latest Industrial Action Report, the department said the South African labor market lost a total of 946,323 working days as a result of 122 work stoppages last year. This represents a 4.7-percent increase in working days lost in 2016 as compared to 903,921 days in 2015, according to the report. In term of wages lost, the South African labor economy lost approximately 161 million rand (about 12 million U.S. dollars) due to work stoppages in 2016, up from 116 million rand in 2015. Most of the work stoppages were due...
(Xinhuanet 09/29/17)
Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi said Thursday that the African country and China need each other at a reception celebrating the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. At the event, Venson-Moitoi said a lot of African countries have benefited from China's development. She also praised China's contribution to the development of education, technology and economy in her country. "The most important thing is that we must have sincerity, and I know we both need each other," she said. Chinese Ambassador to Botswana Zhao Yanbo made a speech at the event about China's achievements in economic and social development, as well as China-Botswana relations.
(Xinhuanet 09/29/17)
The Zimbabwe government has enacted legislation to curb selling of cash by unlicensed dealers, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in a statement to the parliament on Thursday. The illegal practice has become rampant in the past few months as cash shortages in banks continue in the country. Chinamasa said President Robert Mugabe enacted the Exchange Control Regulations on Thursday. "These regulations will empower the police to arrest anyone trading in currency without a license as it is an offence," Chinamasa said. Because the banks have no sufficient cash for depositors, U.S. dollar notes and bond notes are available on the parallel market but the U.S. dollar is trading at a higher value than bond
(Xinhuanet 09/29/17)
Algeria's fiscal deficit will reach 1,113 billion dinars (about 99 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2017, the official Algerian Press Service (APS) reported Thursday. The APS quoted Faisal Tadinit, the general director of the finance ministry, who made the remarks in the Finance and Budget Committee of the People's National Assembly (Lower House) on Thursday. Tadinit explained that the decline in oil prices since mid-2014 has had a significant impact on the low fiscal revenues. In spite of this, the government is continuing its efforts in the field of public investment to keep the economic growth and employment rate
(APA 09/29/17)
A delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after a two-week stay in Cotonou, has informed President Patrice Talon of its satisfaction with the way the Benin government has met its commitments made April to international financial institutions. “The program approved for Benin is firmly on track and all criteria agreed with the government have been respected,” the head of the IMF delegation Norbert Toé said meeting with the President on Wednesday. The government of Benin has embarked on very ambitious reforms and the IMF has decided to accompany implementing them, he said before urging the Benin authorities to stay on track of improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable strata of the country. On April, the IMF’s Executive...
(APA 09/29/17)
Ethiopia has earned $2.9 billion in revenue from export trade during the country’s last fiscal year which ended on July 8, 2017, a top government official said The revenue has seen $1.1 billion lower than the targeted $ 4 billion, Asefa Mulugeta, Director General of Export Promotion at the Ministry of Trade, said in a briefing on Thursday. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday announced that Ethiopia’s economy showed strong resilience in 2016/17 amid continued weak global prices for the country’s key exports and re-emergence of drought coenditions in parts of the east African nation. IMF’s preliminary findings revealed the country’s exports have been stagnant due to weak global commodity markets and delays in completion of key related projects...
(AfricaNews 09/28/17)
Mauritius expects its unemployment rate to fall to 7.2 percent in 2017 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, official data showed on Thursday. The total labour force in the Indian Ocean island – whose annual gross domestic product is $11 billion with a population of 1.3 million – was estimated at 549,400 in the second quarter compared with 537,000 in the same quarter a year ago. Statistics Mauritius said in a statement it has revised downward its March forecast of 7.3 percent. According to the body the employment level of Mauritians is expected to increase by 8,400 from 538,600 in 2016 to 547,000 in 2017,” . The agency said unemployment rate in the second quarter fell to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent in the same period in 2016.
(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 the matter. Ivory Coast is proposing payments of 750 CFA francs ($1.31) per kilogram for its farmers for the bigger of the two annual harvests that starts next month, compared with 1,100 francs for the previous main crop, said the...
(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
(Xinhuanet 09/28/17)
The Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani and vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Alain Pilloux discussed expansion of bilateral cooperation on Wednesday. The two sides vowed their satisfaction with the current level of cooperation, exploring prospects for cooperation and partnership between Morocco and the Bank, the PM office said in a statement. They examined ways to join forces to develop local currency lending to small businesses and provide affordable loans to Moroccan banks and microfinance organisations. During a visit to Morocco EBRD Vice President Pilloux, signed a Memorandum of Understanding today with Morocco's Ministry of Economy
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
South Africa’s notoriously volatile rand has been sailing into calmer waters in recent months, with price swings narrowing to the lowest level in almost three years. That’s about to change, options pricing suggests. The rand’s three-month implied volatility against the dollar has soared relative to actual fluctuations as the ruling African National Congress’s leadership contest approaches, suggesting traders are paying up for protection ahead of an event that may introduce two-way risks for the currency. The ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, is in turmoil because of scandals that have shadowed Jacob Zuma, 75, during his eight-year presidency. The party is embroiled in a factional split between supporters of his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,...
(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 rate for three straight meetings until July as consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in four years in that month. The government has vowed to boost growth from last year, when the economy expanded at its slowest rate in...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Cocoa arrivals at Ivory Coast ports had hit around 2 million tons by September 24 since the start of the season on Oct. 1, the largest cocoa harvest ever seen in the world’s top grower, exporters estimated on Monday. The figure was up by about a third from about 1.5 million tons in the same period of the previous season and breaks a world record for a single year’s harvest from any cocoa exporting country. Exporters estimated that around 4,000 tons of beans were delivered to the port of Abidjan and another 6,000 tons to San Pedro for a total of 10,000 tons delivered between September 18 and September 24. That compared with 24,000 tons during the same period of...
(The Associated Press 09/26/17)
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday welcomed Egypt's economic reforms, saying the Arab world's most populous nation has made a good start at reining in public spending, boosting investor confidence, and addressing the surging inflation generated by the new policies. In its first review since Egypt secured a $12 billion, three-year bailout loan in November, the IMF said Egypt's performance has been on track, allowing it to release a new $1.25 billion disbursement. That brings the total payout so far to $4 billion. The Washington-based lender of last resort says energy subsidy reform, wage restraint, and a new value-added tax have all contributed to reducing the fiscal deficit and helped free up space for social spending to support the poor...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Bauxite mining companies have resumed normal operations in Guinea’s Boke region as local authorities try to negotiate a definitive end to unrest that has disrupted production for more than a week, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. Riots have gripped Boke and surrounding towns several times this year as angry youths have pillaged police posts and blocked trains and railroads to protest against electricity cuts and a lack of jobs and services. Mining companies have had to stop and start operations repeatedly over the past week. Despite decades of mineral extraction, Guinea, Africa’s top bauxite producer, remains one of the world’s least developed countries, a major gripe of young Guineans who want to see tangible benefits from mining...
(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 targeting vehicles plying the main roads. Dangers on the highways are fueling the popularity of flights to places such as Deng’s central hometown of Bor, even as the oil-producing East African nation battles an economic crisis and mass hunger. “It’s...
(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...

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(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...
(BBC News Africa 06/19/15)
Liberia FA chairman Musa Bility has announced plans to stand for the presidency of Fifa, saying it is Africa's time to lead world football. The 48-year-old is the second person to declare his candidacy after former Brazil international Zico. "Africa is the largest voting bloc in Fifa and we must take the lead to bring football together," said Bility. "We all agree that football is facing a difficult moment and it is in difficult moments that great leaders emerge." Bility, who has led the Liberian FA since 2010, becomes only the second African to make a bid to become Fifa president.
(Voice of America 06/19/15)
Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the death of National Basketball Association (NBA) legend and South Sudanese Manute Bol. To mark the occasion, young Sudanese from all regions of the country will compete in a two-day Manute Bol peace builders basketball tournament. Bol worked hard to make the creation of South Sudan as a country a reality, but he did not live to see the independence of the country. Now, South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war since December 2013. Achuei Chol is the wife of Nicola Bol, brother of the late Manute Bol and one of the tournament organizers. She said both organizers and participants hope the tournament will help bring peace to South Sudan. “I thought...
(BBC News Africa 06/18/15)
Africa's richest businessman says he is planning a bid to buy Arsenal. Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote believes the building of an oil refinery in his homeland will give him the finance to secure a takeover. The 58-year-old, who has an estimated wealth of £11.5bn, says he has supported the Gunners since the 1980s. "When we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and enough resources to pay what they are asking for," he told BBC Hausa. American Stan Kroenke is Arsenal's majority shareholder, owning 67.02% of the club's parent company Arsenal Holdings plc. Russian-Uzbek Alisher Usmanov owns 30.04% with the remainder of the 62,217 shares held by minority shareholders including former players and the Arsenal Supporters' Trust,...
(BBC News Africa 06/08/15)
Germany began their bid to regain the Women's World Cup by putting 10 past Ivory Coast in Ottawa. Celia Sasic scored a hat-trick and Anja Mittag netted twice as Germany were 5-0 up inside 35 minutes. Mittag completed her treble after the break, with Simone Laudehr, Sara Dabritz, Melanie Behringer and Alexandra Popp all finding the net. "We had judged them to be better than they were today," said Germany coach Silvia Neid. Germany fell short of matching the record they set with an 11-0 win over Argentina in 2007. They went on to defend the trophy they won four years earlier, but failed to reach the semi-finals on home soil in 2011. Now, the team at the top of...
(AFP (eng) 06/06/15)
Football's world governing body faced fresh pressure Saturday, after media reports the highest levels of South Africa's government approved a $10-million payment that US investigators suspect was a bribe to get the 2010 World Cup. Then president Thabo Mbeki and foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma approved the payment, the reports said, which the authorities again insisted Friday was for a legitimate development project in the Caribbean. The new revelations came as FIFA remained in the eye of a corruption storm that has seen seven executives arrested, its president Sepp Blatter announce his resignation and former executive committee member Chuck Blazer admit to paying bribes.
(Bloomberg 06/05/15)
South Africa’s Sports Minister made light of his country’s role at the heart of soccer’s corruption storm by asking his 211,000 Twitter followers for tips to avoid being accused of bribery. “I promise honorable tweeps am carrying no briefcase,” Fikile Mbalula tweeted on Wednesday evening before boarding a flight to London to attend the start of South Africa’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. “Please send more tips to avoid being accused of a bribe.” Suggestions from his followers, many of which were re-tweeted by the former youth leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, included the use of duffel bags instead of briefcases and avoiding having a photo taken with “anyone or anything” -- lest they...
(BBC News Africa 06/03/15)
Fifa says it paid $10m (£6.5m) to a Caribbean football body led by Jack Warner, who is charged by the US with corruption, at South Africa's request. South Africa's instruction was that the money was for a Diaspora Legacy Programme which should be "implemented directly" by Mr Warner, Fifa said. The US says the $10m was a bribe in exchange for Mr Warner supporting South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid. Mr Warner and South African officials have denied any wrong doing. South Africa won the bid ahead of Morocco to become the first African country to host the World Cup. Africa news updates Mr Warner hails from Trinidad and Tobago and was the president of the Confederation of North, Central...
(KBC 06/01/15)
President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to forge a united front against problems facing the country. The President told leaders to rise above the politics of division and instead promote peace and harmony in the country. He said it was a betrayal of the ideals of freedom fighters and “a sin against nationhood” for politicians to engage in negative ethnicity and inter-communal conflict. The Head of State spoke Monday when he led the nation in marking the 52nd Madaraka Day at Nyayo National Stadium. “Our freedom heroes and heroines saw that Kenya was indivisible: it could not be seen through the eyes of tribalism and other sectarian or parochial interests,” he added. President Kenyatta said competition in politics should never...
(BBC News Africa 05/19/15)
The Court of Arbitration Sport (CAS) has upheld a football ban for Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah following his transfer from Udinese. Udinese claimed Mensah's transfer to French side Evian in 2011 was illegal as he was still under contract with the Italian club. The four-month ban started on 30 April 2015 but football's world governing body Fifa has clarified how it will work in a statement to the BBC.
(BBC News Africa 05/07/15)
Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor has publicly laid bare some of the personal issues that have disrupted his career. The 31-year-old Togo international was granted personal leave by his club last December and has struggled this season. On Tuesday he posted a lengthy message on his Facebook page, giving an insight into the cause of what he described in March as his "dark moments". In the post Adebayor revealed the financial burden of supporting his family as well as ongoing conflicts. However, he urged his readers to "keep in mind that none of this is about money" and said the "main purpose is not to expose my family members. I just want other African families to learn from this". He wrote:...
(AFP 04/23/15)
China flexed its economic muscle again on Thursday when it was announced it would finance the construction of a 60,000-seat stadium in Abidjan in time for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. "A gift from China, the Olympic stadium of Ebimpe with 60,000 seats will allow the hosting of high-level football, athletics and rugby tournaments," a spokesman said before a sports ministry meeting in the Ivory Coast capital. The project will also see the construction of a sports city around the stadium in the suburb of Anyama, in the north of the capital. The work, which will take around two years, will start in January 2016. "The stadium is a gift from China; the Ivory Coast has just the space...
(Xinhuanet 04/16/15)
KAMPALA, April (Xinhua) -- Uganda will send a team to participate in the 2015 World University Games to be held in South Korea July 3-14. Patrick Ssebuliba, the National University Sports Federation Secretary said on Wednesday that they will send athletes to participate in tennis, badminton, basketball, swimming and track- and-field. "Preparations are already in high gear and we hope to perform well compared to the 2013 Games in Russia," Ssebuliba said. Uganda's women's basketball team has already been grouped alongside Brazil, Australia and Chinese Taipei for the Games in South Korea.
(AFP (eng) 04/08/15)
Gabon won a three-country contest against Algeria and Ghana on Wednesday to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament. The result of a vote among 14 Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee members was announced mid-afternoon in a Cairo hotel after the three candidates made short presentations. The Gabonese were co-hosts with neighbours Equatorial Guinea of the 2012 Cup of Nations. A Gabonese Football Federation official said maches would be staged in capital city Libreville, Franceville, Port Gentil and Oyem. Stadiums in Libreville and Franceville were used for the 2012 tournament and the other two venues are expected to be ready by mid-2016...
(Bloomberg 04/03/15)
The Moroccan soccer governing body had its fine for pulling out as host of the African Cup of Nations reduced to $50,000 from $1 million by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The CAS also said in an e-mailed statement it reversed the Confederation of African Football’s decision to bar Morocco from participating in the 2017 and 2019 tournaments. Morocco was stripped of the African soccer championship in November because it sought to postpone the event because of concerns over the spread of Ebola. Ivory Coast won the title in February after Equatorial Guinea stepped in as host.
(BBC News Africa 04/03/15)
When Moses Kipsiro rounded the final bend in the 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games eight months ago, he was third behind Canada's Cameron Levins and Kenyan Josphat Bett, and looking a little boxed in. The Ugandan had won a 5,000/10,000m double at Delhi 2010, beating Kenya's A team, but had flopped in the shorter distance in Glasgow five nights before. If a gap did not open up soon, Kipsiro was heading towards another consolation prize in a career that has had too many bad breaks for a man so talented, none more so than when he was an early faller in the final of the Olympic 10,000m at London 2012. Occasional training partner Mo Farah - they also share an...
(BBC News Africa 03/31/15)
Manchester City's Yaya Toure says he will decide about his international future with the Ivory Coast this week. Toure captained his country to a first Africa Cup of Nations triumph since 1992 in Equatorial Guinea this year. And the 31-year-old midfielder suggested he may now follow brother Kolo into international retirement . "I think now my target is done," Toure told BBC's Sportsworld programme. "I want to wait a couple of days for what I will decide for my future." Toure was speaking in Ivory Coast's largest port city Abidjan, where the African champions have just played two celebratory friendly matches - a 2-0 win over Uganda and a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea. The games were designed to honour...
(Xinhuanet 03/20/15)
KAMPALA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic on Friday named a 25-man team that will prepare to face Nigeria on March 25 in an international friendly. "I have named the squad and hopefully all of them will make the trip because we need to try out a number of things," Sredojevic told Xinhua in an interview here. He said he picked the players basing on their current form in their respective teams. Defender Andrew Mwesigwa and midfielder Godfrey Kizito who were part of the team in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers were not invited because they are yet to settle with their teams. Mike Azira who features for MLS side Seattle Sounders...

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(Voice of America 07/27/17)
Somalia is suffering from a renewed displacement crisis as people flee drought and conflict, particularly in the country’s southern region. Gerard Waite, chief of mission for the International Organization for Migration Somalia, told VOA that about 800,000 people have fled their homes in response to the drought over the past seven months. That is in addition to the 1.1 million people who were previously displaced in the country. “We have a displacement crisis on top of a drought crisis,” Waite said. “The 800,000 new IDPs [internally displaced persons] that have resulted from the drought have put incredible pressure on the existing camps. The formation of new camps has developed, [and] these camps are, by and large, not very well managed...
(Bloomberg 07/27/17)
South Africa, the continent’s biggest producer of corn, increased its forecast of this year’s record crop after farmers improved their yields. Growers will probably reap 15.97 million metric tons of corn in the 2017 season, Lusani Ndou, a senior statistician at the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee, said by phone on Tuesday. That’s more than double the 7.78 million tons produced a year earlier when the worst drought since records began more than a century ago reduced the harvest to a nine-year low. The committee increased its estimate by 2.2 percent from the 15.63 million tons it projected in June. The forecast is higher than the 15.8 million tons in a Bloomberg survey of analysts and traders last week. The committee...
(Bloomberg 07/26/17)
Nigeria’s central bank left its main lending rate unchanged for a sixth consecutive meeting as it seeks to hold on to gains it’s made in inflation and exchange-rate stability. The Monetary Policy Committee held the key policy rate at 14 percent, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele told reporters on Tuesday in the capital, Abuja. That was in line with the forecast of all but two of 19 economists in a Bloomberg survey. While inflation in Africa’s most-populous nation slowed to 16.1 percent in June, it remained well outside the government’s 6 percent to 9 percent target range. That, and the need for a stable exchange rate, limited room for loosening policy even as Nigeria contracted for the fifth...
(Bloomberg 07/26/17)
Tullow Oil Plc plans to drill more wells off Ghana once a ruling on a border dispute is out of the way. Ghana and Ivory Coast disagree over their maritime boundary, frustrating projects to pump oil and gas offshore. In September, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, or Itlos, will rule on the matter, likely clearing the way for an expansion of Tullow’s Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme project, the company said. “We were aware of the dispute before we initiated the overall TEN project,” Paul McDade, chief executive officer of the London-based producer, said Wednesday. “Ourselves and our partners and the Ghana government took some legal advice from various experts globally around the likely outcome,” he said. “We don’t expect...
(Bloomberg 07/26/17)
Ghana’s industry body for cocoa purchasers said its members are struggling to pay farmers for their crops because the regulator isn’t reimbursing buyers for the delivery of beans. Purchasers are buying beans on credit from farmers in some instances, while others have stopped taking delivery from growers, which is causing stocks to accumulate on farms, Ayisi Botwe, executive secretary of the Licenced Cocoa Buyers Association, said by phone on Tuesday. The body’s members usually account for about 95 percent of cocoa purchases from farmers in the world’s second-biggest grower of the crop, Botwe said. “The licensed buying companies are cash-strapped because there is no funding from Cocobod,” Botwe said, referring to the regulator which is also known as Ghana Cocoa...
(Bloomberg 07/25/17)
Tanzania sent Acacia Mining Plc a tax bill equal to almost two centuries worth of the gold producer’s revenue. The government issued the company, which mines all of its gold in the African country, with a $40 billion tax bill and another $150 billion in interest and penalties, Acacia said in a statement Monday. The charge covers alleged under-declared export revenues from the Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines over periods between 2000 and 2017. Acacia reiterated that it has fully declared all revenues. The stock sank as much as 17 percent on Tuesday to the lowest since December 2013. In just three days, the company has lost 42 percent of its value. The giant tax bill is the latest twist in...
(Bloomberg 07/25/17)
A record number of Ghanaians are saving money using mobile phones as lenders push products to lure deposits using technology that is cheaper than building branches. Deposits with mobile-money providers jumped 25 percent to 1.57 billion cedis ($360 million) this year through April, the Accra-based central bank said in a response to questions this month. That compares with 19.6 million cedis in 2012, when the Bank of Ghana began compiling the data. Lenders including Fidelity Bank Ltd. and AFB Ghana Plc this year began offering savings products to mobile-phone users, while Ecobank Ghana Ltd. in 2016 allowed customers to buy government
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
The U.S. government says the HIV epidemic is "coming under control" in Swaziland, the country with the world's highest prevalence of the virus. The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) said Monday that new infections among adults in Swaziland have dropped by nearly half since 2011. It said the latest research also shows that life-saving anti-retroviral treatment has doubled in the country during the same time period and now reaches over 80 percent of infected adults. PEPFAR has focused much of its efforts on increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs for over 11 million people, mostly in sub-Saharan
(Bloomberg 07/25/17)
A weak naira and stubborn inflation may prevent Nigeria’s central bank from following South Africa and Ghana in cutting interest rates. Only two of 19 economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted the Monetary Policy Committee will reduce borrowing costs on Tuesday. The rest said the key rate will stay at a record high of 14 percent, where it’s been for a year. Governor Godwin Emefiele, who is scheduled to announce the MPC’s decision at about 2.30 p.m. in the capital, Abuja, said last month that tight monetary policy will continue. The central banks of South Africa and Ghana cut their key rates in the last week as the inflation outlook in the two economies improved. While price growth in Nigeria,...
(Voice of America 07/22/17)
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe lashed out Friday against factions in his party angling to take over from him, saying they have no backing. The 93-year-old spoke at a rally in Lupane, about 600 kilometers southwest of Harare - as part of his effort to recruit young people to support him in next year's elections. It was the first time Mugabe spoke in public since returning from Singapore, where he went earlier this month to seek medical treatment for the third time this year. Mugabe did not mention his health in his speech. Instead, he attacked the opposition, accusing it of having nothing to offer Zimbabweans, and vowed he would win next year’s election. He then turned to his own Zanu...
(Bloomberg 07/21/17)
Ghana’s central bank may cut its key interest rate for a third straight meeting with inflation at its slowest in four years and a strengthening currency. Consumer-price growth has tumbled 7.1 percentage points since reaching an all-time high of 19.2 percent in March last year. While the cedi weakened to a record low against the dollar on March 2, it has strengthened 8.2 percent since then. The median of seven economists’ estimates is for a 100 basis-point cut in the key rate to 21.5 percent on Monday. “Persistent inflation is unlikely to halt Ghana’s monetary easing,” Mark Bohlund, an economist at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a report. “The stronger cedi should moderate price increases in coming months.” The lender sees...
(Bloomberg 07/21/17)
South Africa’s first interest rate cut in five years, and a surprise one at that, probably won’t be enough to break the rand’s resilience. The currency fell as much as 1.2 percent after the South African Reserve Bank reduced its key rate on Thursday to 6.75 percent from 7 percent to boost an economy in recession, defying predictions of 20 out of 23 economists in a Bloomberg survey. But it soon recovered some of its losses to trade 0.9 percent weaker at 13.0343 per dollar by the New York close. It gained 0.2 percent to 13.0083 per dollar as of 8:53 a.m. in Johannesburg Friday. The rand has been one of the main beneficiaries of an emerging-market rally this year,...
(Bloomberg 07/20/17)
A provincial structure of South Africa’s ruling party is instituting disciplinary measures against a member who has called for President Jacob Zuma to step down and has been receiving death threats from the African National Congress’s Youth League. The public pronouncements by Makhosi Khoza, who is a member of parliament, “represented the worse form of arrogance,” the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal province, where she is from, said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “Her public stunt and participation in platforms intended to replace the societal leadership role of the ANC constitutes a blatant betrayal of the core values of the ANC.”
(Bloomberg 07/20/17)
The Agbada 2 flow station should have been buzzing with activity, pumping crude to one of Nigeria’s largest export terminals. Instead it was idle in the muggy, mid-morning heat as Wilcox Emmanuel, the facility’s manager, shrugged in resignation about the thieves who’d shut him down. As much as 30 percent of the oil sent by pipelines through the swampy Niger River delta is stolen, consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. estimates. That’s depriving the country of income amid a crippling recession and compounding the pain of a global price slump for Africa’s largest producer. At Agbada, the wells dotting the surrounding forests had been closed for three weeks following a pipeline leak that was probably deliberate. “Who knows when we’ll be back...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Zimbabwe’s capital city plans to raise a $100 million bond this year to finance the building of new homes and end a decades-long housing shortage, its mayor said. The capital, Harare, has “outgrown itself and the population has grown beyond the city’s initial designs,” mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said Tuesday in an interview. An original plan to obtain $150 million through the central government became “entangled in politics,” he said, without elaborating. “Now we’re looking at raising $100 million through a bond, which will definitely happen this year.” Harare is home to about 1.6 million people within its city limits, and some 2.8 million in the greater metropolitan area -- a figure that’s slightly less than a quarter of the southern...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Questions about the integrity of Kenya’s electoral authority along with perceptions of impunity are among factors that have raised the risk of violence erupting after elections in the country next month, the Washington-based Africa Center said. The vote will be one of the most competitive in the country’s history, with unrest already having been reported during political-party primaries in April, the U.S. Department of Defense agency said in a report on its website. “Combined, these factors heighten the risk that aspirants could use violence as an electoral strategy,” the agency said. President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second term in the Aug. 8 race against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who has warned of possible violence if the election is...
(Voice of America 07/18/17)
Somalia has internet service again, after a 23-day outage that cost the country's fledgling economy tens of millions of dollars. Abdi Anshur, Somalia's minister for posts and telecommunications, told reporters in Mogadishu Monday that the internet link which went down on June 24 has been fixed. “Following efforts by Somali government and the company that provided the service, we have succeeded to restore the connection,” said the minister. The connection was cut when a ship severed an undersea fiber optic cable connecting Somalia to global data networks.
(Bloomberg 07/18/17)
Kenya vowed tough security measures after suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants stepped up attacks around the East African nation’s coast and northeast. President Uhuru Kenyatta said security forces had intensified their hunt for al-Shabaab militants in Lamu’s Boni forest, according to an emailed statement from his office. “Fire must be met with fire,” Kenyatta said. “We shall bury them.” The militants have increased raids in Lamu, Garissa and Tana River counties during the past weeks. In the latest incident, the Ministry of Public Works Principal Secretary Maryam El Maawy was wounded in a July 13 attack. “We have to deal with these terror-mongers,” Kenyatta said.
(Bloomberg 07/18/17)
PBC Ltd., the biggest buyer of cocoa beans from farmers in Ghana, is seeking to cut borrowing costs by arranging its first government loan guarantee in seven years. PBC is asking for a guarantee of as much as 400 million cedis ($91 million) from the government, acting Chief Executive Officer Nana Agyenim Boateng said in an interview. It’s also hired Accra-based Fidelity Bank Ltd. and the local unit of Standard Chartered Plc to market a 400 million-cedi one-year bond, mainly to pension funds, with the aim of lowering borrowing costs. PBC, which buys cocoa from farmers in the world’s second-biggest producer and sells it to the regulator, needs to borrow money each season to fund the purchases. While the Ghana...
(Bloomberg 07/17/17)
The last time Rwanda held presidential elections, opposition leader Frank Habineza’s deputy was killed and he fled into European exile. Seven years on, he sees his candidacy in next month’s vote as a cautious step toward greater political freedoms in the tiny East African country. The Aug. 4 election will be the first time Habineza, who leads the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and says he still faces intimidation, has been allowed on the ballot papers. That, according to the 40-year-old, is enough of a victory as he competes against President Paul Kagame, who’s running for a third term after the constitution was changed and is all but certain to win. “This is an election where people will hear an...

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