Thursday 18 January 2018

Toute l'afrique

(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Sudan has shut its eastern border with Eritrea, state media reported Saturday, days after Khartoum declared an emergency in the neighbouring state of Kasala. "The governor of Kasala issued a decree to close all border crossings with Eritrea from the night of January 5," the official SUNA news agency reported. It did not explain why the border was closed but said the decision comes after President Omar al-Bashir declared on December 30 a state of emergency in Kasala and in North Kordofan state for six months. Officials have said that decision was part of a government campaign to collect illegal arms in those two states. A resident of Kasala told AFP that hundreds of Sudanese soldiers, several military vehicles and...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Angolan President Joao Lourenco on Monday denied "any tension" with his long-serving predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos, many of whose relatives and friends he has sacked from public office in a fight against corruption in the oil-rich southern African nation. In November, within three months of taking control of Angola, Lourenco sacked dos Santos's daughter -- Africa's richest woman -- as head of the state-run oil company Sonangol. In recent weeks, he has fired a string of other business figures closely associated with his predecessor. A long-standing pillar of the regime, the new president had promised to distance himself from the dos Santos clan during his successful campaign ahead of the August 23 poll. Dos Santos, 75, finally quit power...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
At least a dozen people were killed over the weekend in apparent tit-for-tat clashes between farmers and cattle herders in central Nigeria, police and community sources said Monday. The violence between Christian Bachama farmers and Muslim Fulani herders happened in the Lau district of Taraba state on Friday and Saturday. Police spokesman David Misal said 12 people were killed when unidentified gunmen attacked Fulani settlements on Friday. A reprisal attack followed on Saturday, he added. "We recorded four deaths in the Fulani settlements and eight in the Bachama village," he told AFP. Residents of the affected villages put the death toll at 40. It was not possible to verify either figure independently. The attacks are the latest in a bloody,...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Twenty-nine people died and more than 80,000 were affected after tropical cyclone Ava tore through Madagascar last week, authorities said Monday. Seventeen people died on Monday, after a house crumbled following a mudslide in the Ivory suburb, south-east of the capital Antananarivo. "On a national scale, the provisional toll is 29 dead, 22 missing, 17,170 displaced and 83,023 affected," the National Bureau for Risk and Catastrophe Management said in a statement. The cyclone, which made landfall on Friday morning, lashed the eastern part of the African island off Mozambique with violent winds and heavy rains before moving off the territory on Saturday night.
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Hundreds of Sudanese students from the University of Khartoum threw stones at anti-riot police Monday on a third day of protests against soaring bread prices, an AFP correspondent reported. Bread prices more than doubled last week as flour manufacturers raised prices on dwindling wheat supplies after the government decided to stop importing grain and allowed private companies to do so. Sporadic anti-government protests have been held since Saturday in some parts of the country following the price rise. They were staged again on Monday in the area around Khartoum university, triggering clashes between students and anti-riot police. "No, no to high food prices," students shouted as they attempted to leave the university campus but were quickly pushed back by dozens...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
The trial of soldiers accused of involvement in a purported bid to overthrow Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou in December 2015 will get under way on January 23, a source said Monday. Those implicated in the alleged coup include General Souleymane Salou, former chief of staff; Colonel Idi Abdou Dan Haoua, in charge of an air base near the capital Niamey; and Major Nare Maidoka, head of the 1st artillery battalion in Tillaberi. A military tribunal, meeting in a police camp in Niamey, "agreed to reschedule the trial to January 23 at the request of the defendants' attorneys," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The source was unable to say how many would be going on trial. The allegations...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/08/18)
ABUJA (Reuters) - At least eighty-three people have been killed in communal violence in Nigeria since Dec. 31, government and police officials said, much of it involving clashes between Muslim cattle herders and Christian farmers. The killings endanger efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring security and stability to Nigeria - a central pledge of his campaign for election in 2015. Muslim herdsmen, mainly of the Fulani ethnic group, and Christian farmers often clash over the use of land in parts of the Middle Belt. The region is one of Nigeria’s most diverse, where religious, ancestral and cultural differences...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday signalled a coming change of leadership in his party following the removal of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, saying it was time a new generation took over. "I am looking at the imminent prospects of us as the older generation leaving the levers of leadership to allow the younger generation to take forward this huge task that we started together so many years ago with our full blessing and support," said Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in a statement.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/08/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - The South Sudanese government on Monday declared army chief of staff General Paul Malong a rebel and accused him of being behind a series of attacks last week. Malong, who had led President Salva Kiir’s campaign against rebels, has been under house arrest since May after Kiir sacked him following a string of military resignations by senior generals alleging abuses and ethnic bias. Malong initially fled the capital Juba for his home state of Aweil following his dismissal, raising the possibility he might join opposition forces, before returning to Juba. Malong loyalists started joining rebels and in November, Kiir released Malong to exile in Kenya. South Sudan, which became the world’s newest country after splitting from Sudan...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Zimbabwean anti-corruption investigators said Monday they are probing whether former first lady Grace Mugabe fraudulently obtained a doctorate that she apparently received within months and the dissertation for which remains unpublished. Grace, whose apparent desire to succeed her 93-year-old husband prompted the army takeover that eventually saw Robert Mugabe resign, was awarded a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe in 2014. Critics argued at the time that Grace, 52, had not actually studied or undertaken research to earn the doctorate and that she had been handed her diploma just months after enrolling. PhDs typically require several years of full-time research and writing. Her dissertation has never been made public, according to local media, breaking with the established policy of most...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Egyptians will head to the polls on March 26-28 in the first round of a presidential election, National Elections Authority chief Lasheen Ibrahim said on Monday. A second round will be held on April 24-26 if required, he told a news conference in Cairo. Ibrahim said the commission would accept applications from presidential hopefuls between January 20 and 29. "The provisional list of candidates and the numbers of their supporters will be published" in state-run newspapers Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar on January 31, he said. Once any appeals by rejected candidates are settled, "the final list of candidate names and their symbols will be announced and published in the official gazette and Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar newspapers" on February 24, he said...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
A rebel movement in a restive southern region of Senegal on Monday blamed the massacre of 13 young men at the weekend on a feud in the illegal teak logging industry. The Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) placed a statement on its website saying it "firmly condemns" the killings, which it said sought to wreck efforts to restore peace to the troubled Casamance region. The movement "will not let itself be distracted or disorientated by the gravediggers of peace", said the group, which has been campaigning for the independence of Casamance since 1982. The west African nation began two days of mourning on Monday. The MFDC called on the authorities to "focus their inquiries"...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
South Africa's parliament indicated Sunday it would this week deliberate procedures for presidential impeachment, as pressure mounts on embattled incumbent Jacob Zuma. The move came just days after the Constitutional Court ruled that parliament had failed to hold Zuma accountable for using public money for private home upgrades. Last month the court found the president guilty of violating his oath of office by refusing to pay back the cash and order the National Assembly to draw up procedures that could be used for his removal.
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
The number of deaths from a year-long outbreak of listeriosis, caused by a food-borne bacteria, has jumped to 61, South Africa's health minister said on Monday. Listeriosis is caused by Listeria monocytogenes, a naturally-occurring germ typically transferred through contaminated food, although it is readily treatable with antibiotics. A total of 727 cases have been confirmed since January 2017, Health Mnister Aaron Motsoaledi said in a statement. As of December 5, the confirmed death toll stood at 36, but has since risen to 61. Because of the disease's "rapid spread and unusual or unexpected behaviour", it has been elevated to the country's list of intensively monitored, serious conditions, Motsoaledi added. A poultry abattoir in the capital Pretoria was identified by health...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Arsene Wenger has compared the life of George Weah to a film script following his former player's election as president of Liberia. Weah, who played for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan during a glittering career, last week secured a stunning run-off victory in the West African country's first democratic transfer of power in decades. Idolised in Liberia as "Mister George", Weah, 51, is to be sworn in on January 22, replacing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in 2006 took the helm of the nation first founded for freed US slaves. Arsenal boss Wenger has been invited to Weah's inauguration but expects to be too busy to attend -- the date falls two days before the second leg of Arsenal's League...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
A Zimbabwe court on Saturday freed on bail two ex-ministers who served in former President Robert Mugabe's government and face charges of criminal abuse of office and corruption. Former foreign affairs minister, Walter Mzembi, and energy minister, Samuel Undenge, appeared in court after their arrest on Friday. Mzembi was granted $400 bail while Undenge was given $300 bail. They were ordered to report to police once a week and surrender their passports. Several ministers from Mugabe's government have been arrested in the past two months since the military took over power and forced the 93-year-old veteran leader to step down. Most of them have been arrested on corruption charges. Former finance minister Ignatious Chombo, ex-mines minister Walter Chidhakwa and ex-sports...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
A Nigerian intelligence official on Sunday denied arresting Cameroon separatists in Abuja, after a rebel movement said its top leaders had been "abducted by gunmen". Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, the president of the anglophone separatist movement in Cameroon, was arrested during a meeting on Friday, January 5, in Nigeria's capital of Abuja, according to a statement by the separatists. "At around 7:30 p.m., the gunmen came into the hotel and abducted all of them including the president," said Chris Anu, secretary of communications for the putative state of Ambazonia.
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Two women were found dead and 290 migrants rescued from two boats off the coast of Libya on Sunday, the navy said. The migrants were rescued off the coast of Garabulli, 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Tripoli, then taken to the capital, naval officer Meftah al-Zlitni said. He did not give further details on how the women had died. They had left Libya Saturday evening on a makeshift craft with 140 other migrants from various African countries, but their motor broke down a few hours later. "We stayed put from six o'clock in the morning" until the navy arrived, said Baba Koni, a Malian who was on board the boat. He said the motor had become waterlogged and cut...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
The UN said it was "deeply alarmed" by the actions of security forces in DR Congo during anti-Kabila protests in Kinshasa last Sunday, and believe the toll of victims during the crackdown "may be higher". "Our colleagues on the ground were denied access to morgues, hospitals and detention centres. They were sent away from some sites by defence and security forces," the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said from Geneva in a statement on Friday. "The security forces allegedly fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas grenades, in some cases at point blank range," the statement added. The organisation said at least five people were known to have been killed and 92 injured...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Egypt's former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq said on Sunday that he will not now be a candidate in this year's presidential election, reversing a previous pledge to stand. His decision to step aside is likely to pave the way for the poll to be dominated by incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The National Elections Authority is expected to announce a date for the election on Tuesday. Shafiq's decision not to stand came after he was returned to Egypt last month from the United Arab Emirates, where he had lived in exile since 2012. "I have decided to not run in the upcoming 2018 presidential elections," Shafiq said in a statement posted online. "I saw that I will not be the best...

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(AFP (eng) 12/22/17)
A Radio France International (RFI) correspondent was acquitted Thursday in Cameroon after he was jailed for 10 years in April for "laundering the proceeds of terrorist acts", representatives said. A military tribunal in Yaounde acquitted Ahmed Abba following an appeal, but he was sentenced to 24 months in prison for a lesser charge of failing to "denounce acts of terrorism". This paves the way for his release although he has served a total of 29 months behind bars following his arrest in July 2015. He had been facing up to a decade in jail after the court agreed in April with authorities' charges that he had collaborated with the Boko Haram jihadist group and failed to pass on information about...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/17)
Egypt's judiciary has submitted "new elements" in the investigation of the 2016 murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, prosecutors from the two countries announced Thursday. "The Egyptian investigation team has submitted accounts and documents containing new elements," Attorney General Nabil Sadek of Egypt and his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Pignatone said in a joint statement. They said the new elements covered "progress achieved by the company tasked with recovering recordings from metro stations in Cairo", without elaborating. In January, Egypt authorised Italy to send experts to examine footage from surveillance cameras at a Cairo metro station to shed light on Regeni's final public movements...
(AFP (eng) 12/21/17)
Mali's army said Thursday it killed five jihadists but lost one soldier repelling an attack in the centre of the vast, landlocked nation. The assault happened at a military outpost near the remote town of Niono at around 0130 GMT, a military statement said. The troops "reacted forcefully, pushing back the assailants," it said. The country, bordering Niger and Burkina Faso, has struggled to defeat Islamist militants who have regularly attacked the military and UN peacekeepers. Jihadist groups allied with Tuareg separatists captured the entire north of the country in 2012 but were pushed back by a French-led military intervention a year later. In 2015, Tuareg rebels signed a peace deal but its implementation has been patchy and much of...
(AFP (eng) 12/21/17)
Pirates have kidnapped 10 sailors from a merchant ship off the coast of southern Nigeria in the latest attack in the restive region, the International Maritime Bureau said on Thursday. "A bulk carrier underway was attacked and boarded by six pirates from a small boat. Ten crew members were reported missing. The remaining crew onboard sailed the vessel to a safe port," the IMB said in a statement. The kidnapping happened around 32 nautical miles south of Brass last week in the volatile Niger delta, a growing piracy hotspot in west Africa, it said. The number of reported attacks off the Niger delta has been increasing in recent weeks, according to the Sea Guardian consultancy, with more than 15 known...
(AFP (eng) 12/21/17)
As South Sudan's warring parties met for peace talks this week, dozens of refugees streamed into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, fleeing what they said was a fresh government offensive. The push to recapture a key rebel stronghold came shortly before mediators tabled a ceasefire agreement in Addis Ababa, raising serious doubts over the government's commitment to talks seen as a last-ditch chance to end the country's four-year war. On Sunday, President Salva Kiir's troops attacked the town of Lasu in Central Equatoria State, which has served as the headquarters for Riek Machar's SPLA-IO, the main opposition movement in South Sudan.
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Five jihadists were killed Wednesday near El-Arish airport in Egypt's restive North Sinai where a rocket strike killed two officers during a visit by the defence and interior ministers, security sources said. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for Tuesday's strike on the airport, saying in a statement it had targeted visiting Defence Minister Sedki Sobhy and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar. The military said after the attack that an officer was killed and a helicopter damaged when a "projectile" struck the airport while the ministers where visiting "to inspect the security forces and security situation in Sinai". Neither minister was harmed and the military later published footage of them returning to Cairo, but a second officer has died...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Italian giant Eni and fellow petroleum company Shell will stand trial in Italy over allegations of bribery and corruption in the 2011 purchase of an offshore oil block in Nigeria. A judge in Milan ordered Eni, Shell and key figures such as Eni chief Claudio Descalzi and his predecessor Paolo Scaroni to stand trial in proceedings to begin March 5. The companies are accused of corruption in the 2011 purchase of OPL245, an offshore oil block estimated to hold 9 billion barrels of crude, for $1.3 billion. "Eni's Board of Directors has reaffirmed its confidence that the company was not involved in alleged corrupt activities in relation...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
The UN refugee agency is to evacuate thousands of vulnerable refugees from Libya next year, its country representative said on Tuesday. "In 2018, we will try to send between 5,000 and 10,000 of the most vulnerable refugees to third countries," Roberto Mignone said. "We can't give an exact number as it will depend on how many refugees can be taken in by European countries, Canada or others," the UNHCR representative said. Libya has long been a transit hub for migrants seeking a better life in Europe, but people smugglers have stepped up their lucrative business in the chaos since the 2011 revolution. Libyan authorities have come under fire over migrant abuses since the airing last month of CNN footage of...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Security forces and an army-backed militia planned massacres in an opposition stronghold in the Democratic Republic of Congo, human rights activists charged Wednesday, calling the killings "crimes against humanity". The southern Kasai region suffered "one of the worst human rights crises in the world" between March and July, the Paris-based International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) said in a report compiled with partner rights groups in the country. It includes heart-rending testimony such as that of a 27-year-old woman who described soldiers attacking her village and burning down houses. As she fled, she "saw a lot of corpses... of children, of villagers." The FIDH said the atrocities "were perpetrated mainly by elements of the Bana Mura militia at the instigation and...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Dekergar Duko, a lean father-of-two who crushes rocks for a living, often reminisces during his days of backbreaking labour about his life under Liberia's warlord-turned-president, Charles Taylor. Living in a hovel metres (yards) away from the so-called "College of Knowledge" where the dreaded strongman trained child soldiers to kill, Duko recalls when times were so much more comfortable. "I really wish for our former president to be back with us," Duko says. "In Taylor's day, at least we were growing." Duko's image of Taylor as a caring, decisive man -- he would alter the price of a sack of rice with a simple...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
A grocer from Niger who knifed a Danish couple in Gabon shouting "Allahu akbar" came to the capital just two days before the attack and had been stalking the pair, a prosecutor said Monday. Saturday's attack on the Danes, who were in the west African state filming for National Geographic, was "premeditated," Libreville prosecutor Steeve Ndong Essame Ndong said, adding that the man had lived in Gabon for 19 years. He said the 53-year-old came to Libreville on Thursday "with the aim of committing this cowardly act 'against whites'", adding that it was not clear if the attacker was acting alone or for a group. The man said in his first statements that he "acted in retaliation for US attacks...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
The United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan called Tuesday for the "swift and safe" return of six aid workers who have disappeared in the northwest of the country. The co-ordinator, Alain Noudehou, said in a statement that one international and five national aid workers had gone missing on Sunday while travelling between the towns of Raga and Wau, where they were working on food security. The six were employed by two foreign organisations, and one national organisation. On Monday, France-based NGO Solidarites International said it had "lost contact" with three of its workers, but said it could not be confirmed whether they had been kidnapped. The South Sudanese government, and rebels led by exiled former vice-president Riek Machar, accused...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
A Ugandan court on Tuesday released eight editors and directors of one of the country's most popular newspapers, who were charged with treason last month, effectively stalling the tabloid's operations. The eight men -- five directors and three editors -- were arrested during a police raid on offices of the privately owned English-language Red Pepper and its local-language sister publications. They were charged with treason over an article implicating President Yoweri Museveni in a plot to overthrow his Rwandan counterpart. A Kampala court released the men on bail of 20 million Ugandan shillings each ($5,000). "It has been a month of uncertainty for these journalists as they have been moved from one detention centre to another but to also their...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
Four people were killed and five injured late Monday when a freight train derailed in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), officials said. The accident happened at the village of Bena-Kadiebue, 65 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kananga, the capital of Central Kasai province. "The toll is still provisional, because the freight cars are lying on their side," Francois Mutambue, a senior official with the national railway company at Kananga, told AFP on Tuesday. "Sand deposits" on the track were to blame for the accident, he said. Railways accidents in DRC are frequent and often deadly. Decrepit track and ageing locomotives are the most-cited causes.
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
Egyptian security forces killed five militants when they raided a hideout in a suburb north of Cairo on Monday, the interior ministry said in a statement. Security forces have been battling an insurgency by an Islamic State group affiliate based in North Sinai since the military's 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and the crackdown on his supporters that followed. Most of the violence has been in North Sinai province, but there have also been attacks on the military, police and even churches elsewhere, including Cairo. The ministry said the five were hiding out at a construction site in Obour City...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
Around 36,000 child migrants, including 14,000 who are unaccompanied, need help in Libya, a major transit hub for migrants trying to reach Europe, UN agencies said Monday. Out of about 400,000 migrants in Libya, nine percent are children, the UN children's agency UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration said in a joint statement. UNICEF and the IOM described the number of unaccompanied children among those needing assistance as shocking. So far this year, nearly 15,000 unaccompanied children have reached Italy after crossing the Mediterranean, they said. But 400 died trying to make the treacherous journey, and many more were abused, exploited and detained. In response, the two agencies said they had joined forces and agreed...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
Former Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has filed papers to South Africa's Constitutional Court appealing against his 13-year jail term for shooting dead his girlfriend, a lawyer for the victim's family said Tuesday. A court last month increased Pistorius's sentence for murdering Reeva Steenkamp to 13 years in the latest stage of a long court battle since his trial in 2014. Pistorius shot dead Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet, later saying that he thought she was an intruder. "We respect the law. It is Oscar Pistorius's constitutional right to appeal his sentence. The law must take its course," Tania Koen, a lawyer for the...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/18/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces on Monday killed five suspected militants and arrested 10 others in raids in the north of the country, the interior ministry said in a statement. The suspects had planned attacks against public infrastructure and Christians and had links with militants in North Sinai, it said. The raids took place in Alexandria and Qalyubiya provinces. Egypt has regularly carried out arrest raids and reported the killing of militant suspects in recent months as it fights a years-old Islamist insurgency in the remote North Sinai region. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the army and security forces to restore order in Sinai within three months after an attack on a mosque in November that was the deadliest...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
A UN peacekeeper from Guinea badly wounded in an attack in northeastern Mali last week has died, the UN mission in the conflict-riven west African country said on Monday. Peacekeepers faced four separate, near simultaneous attacks on Friday night in the city of Kidal, which is currently under the control of former rebels. "The UN peacekeeper from the Guinean contingent who was seriously wounded during one of the attacks on Friday in Kidal died at the Pasteur clinic in Bamako," the Malian capital, a tweet by the mission, known by the acronym MINUSMA, said. The mission chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif had condemned a "deliberate attempt to put people in danger" in a statement on Saturday, when a second peacekeeper was...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
At least four people were killed when Boko Haram fighters opened fire on a military convoy transporting civilians and food aid in northeastern Nigeria, security sources said Sunday. Troops later killed two jihadists and recovered weapons after trailing them to nearby villages, the sources said. "We've been informed that Boko Haram terrorists killed four people in an ambush against a civilian convoy near Gamboru," on the border with Cameroon late Saturday, Babakura Kolo, a member of a paramilitary force battling the jihadists, told AFP. The attackers arrived in two pick-up trucks before opening fire on the vehicles. They also managed to steal a lorry carrying food aid to thousands of people displaced by violence in Gamboru, as well as two...

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(Xinhuanet 08/26/17)
Ghana expects its mining reform program to make the mining sector a leading catalyst of economic development, Coordinator of the Multi-Modal Integrated Project (MMIP) Isaac Karikari said. According to him, mining is also expected to boost the livelihoods of mineral-rich communities and eliminate child labor in mining. Speaking to Xinhua on Friday during a two-day National Multi Stakeholder Workshop on the African Mining Vision, Karikari explained that job creation, especially in mining communities, would be the key economic benefits Ghana could derive from the implementation of the project. The project, which is expected to cost 200 million U.S. dollars, will see the Ghanaian government funding
(APA 08/25/17)
Mozambique's government has secured $18 million for the electrification of four districts in the central provinces of Zambézia and Tete within the framework of implementation of the national grid extension programme, APA can report on Friday. This was revealed by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Letícia Klemens, in a brief interview with APA shortly after returning from a visit to the two provinces. The districts to be covered are Luabo, Mulevala and Derre, in Zambézia province, and Doa in Tete, all located in the Zambezi Valley. "The extension of the national electricity grid to the districts of Luabo, Mulevala, Derre and Doa will constitute a driving force for boosting the economic and social development of these points rich...
(Xinhuanet 08/25/17)
A consortium of public health and civil society organizations on Thursday hailed the Zambia government's decision to increase tobacco and alcohol taxes to promote healthy lifestyle in the Southern African country. Price increase is the most effective way to control the consumptions of tobacco and alcohol, especially among the vulnerable groups such as youth, pregnant women and low-income smokers and drinkers, said Fastone Goma, chairman of the Zambia Tobacco Control Consortium. The organization is confident that lawmakers will approve the tax measure in the interest of both public health and social stability, he said, urging the lawmakers to resist attempts to frustrate the move. Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya announced on Monday that the government will introduce "sin tax" in...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/23/17)
Angolans headed to the polls on Wednesday in a parliamentary election expected to usher in the ruling party's defense minister as the first new leader of Africa's second-biggest oil producer for 38 years. Joao Lourenco, who has pledged to boost growth and fight corruption, would inherit an economy mired in recession as gaping inequality, soaring inflation and high unemployment squeeze poor Angolans who have benefited little from a decades-long oil boom. The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) is expected to remain in power but with a reduced majority. Its support has waned due to widespread political cronyism, though many Angolans remain loyal to the party that emerged victorious from 27 years of civil war in 2002. "I've...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/22/17)
Tunisia's tourism revenues have risen 19 percent so far this year, reflecting a recovery in a vital sector crippled two years ago by attacks on foreign holidaymakers. Tourism Minister Salma Loumi said 4.58 million foreign tourists visited the North African country between Jan. 1 and Aug. 10. Arrivals from neighboring Algeria were up 60 percent, helped by a promotional campaign by Tunisia, while visits by European tourists rose 16 percent. "There are good indicators, revenues rose by 19 percent to 1.5 billion Tunisian dinars ($613 million)", Loumi told reporters on Tuesday. Tunisian officials expect the number of foreign tourists to rise to 6.5 million this year, up about 30 percent from 2016, due to an improving security situation and interest...
(Bloomberg 08/22/17)
China’s Sinohydro Corp. may build three additional hydroelectric plants in Ivory Coast after completing what will be the nation’s biggest dam by October, according to a government official. The combined capacity of the three plants may be as much as 500 megawatts, adding to the 275 megawatts that will be supplied by the Soubre dam once it’s completed, said Brahima Dosso, the director of the Soubre project at CI-Energies, a state-owned company that oversees investments in the energy sector. The $592 million Soubre dam on the Sassandra river, in the western region, is one of the flagship projects of President Alassane Ouattara, who has vowed to boost the country’s energy supply, already the most reliable in West Africa, to maintain...
(Bloomberg 08/22/17)
A Nigerian startup is developing the first agricultural commodities exchange in Africa’s most populous country to take advantage of the government’s efforts to boost farming output to reduce reliance on oil. The exchange, Integrated Produce City Ltd., will be located near the southern city of Benin, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, a site accessible to nearby growers of cocoa, palm oil, rubber and cassava, Chief Executive Officer Pat Utomi said in an interview. “The concept of a wholesale-produce market is to enable the farmer to fully dispose of his produce, instead of today where he loses 80 percent of his output” that rots before it can reach the market, Utomi said on Aug. 18...
(AFP (eng) 08/21/17)
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross warned Monday that South Sudan's inability to pay civil servants risked worsening a humanitarian crisis and urged donors to step in. ICRC chief Peter Maurer was in Kampala after a three-day visit to conflict-torn South Sudan, where he warned of a "spiral which no international actor can prevent" as civil servants working in critical sectors such as health and water services go unpaid. Maurer said he had "rarely seen another conflict in the world where the fighting and the economic fragility -- the inability of the state to pay salaries -- has had so much humanitarian impact." He called for the international community and national actors "to use every resource...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo suspended value-added tax on imports by mining companies after briefly reinstating the duty, the country’s main business chamber said. Customs authorities had resumed collecting VAT on imports including machinery soon after a July 2016 decree halting remittances expired last month, Federation des Entreprises du Congo Managing Director Kimona Bononge said in a letter to Finance Minister Henri Yav Mulang. The minister has subsequently “resolved the problem,” Bononge said by phone from Kinshasa, the capital. “The finance minister has given an instruction to the DGDA to not collect VAT on imports by mining companies,” Bononge said by phone
(Bloomberg 08/17/17)
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, plans to invest $20 billion to $50 billion in the U.S. and Europe by 2025, in industries including renewable energy and petrochemicals. The 60-year-old Nigerian cement tycoon aims to move into these territories for the first time in 2020 after completing almost $5 billion of agricultural projects and an $11 billion oil refinery in his home country, he said in an interview with Bloomberg Markets Magazine this month. “Beginning in 2020, 60 percent of our future investments will be outside Africa, so we can have a balance,” said Dangote, worth $11.6 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Dangote Group’s major investment will be in the U.S. and Europe, he said. “I think renewables is the...
(Bloomberg 08/16/17)
Namibia’s central bank reduced its key rate for the first time since 2012 as consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in almost two years last month and the economy contracts. The Monetary Policy Committee reduced the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.75 percent, Bank of Namibia Deputy Governor Ebson Uanguta told reporters Wednesday in capital, Windhoek. Inflation in the southwest African nation, the world’s biggest producer of marine diamonds, was 5.4 percent in July, the weakest since January last year after food-price growth eased as the country recovers from a regional drought.
(Bloomberg 08/16/17)
South Africa’s credit rating may be cut to junk if its policies become “even less predictable” or shift in a way that could undermine the economy, Moody’s Investors Service said. Policy uncertainty and political turmoil have increased in the last two months as the nation’s anti-graft ombudsman instructed lawmakers to change the central bank’s mandate, the mines minister published new regulations that the industry says undermine investment and President Jacob Zuma’s defeat of a no-confidence motion in parliament weakened the rand. South Africa entered a recession in the first quarter.
(AFP (eng) 08/16/17)
Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso admitted Monday that his oil-rich country was facing a serious economic crisis, though he said it was not an "irreparable disaster". He notably called on former rebel chief Frederic Bitsamou, leader of the so-called Ninja rebel group and accused of violence against communities in the south of the country, to turn himself in to the authorities. The public debt of Congo, a small central African country of 4.5 million people, represents 117 percent of its GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund, which recently said that Brazzaville had hidden part of its debt from the IMF. "Our country has real difficulties, nobody should hide them," Sassou Nguesso said in a speech broadcast on the 57th...
(Bloomberg 08/16/17)
Egypt’s tourism receipts almost tripled and worker remittances rose in the last three months of its fiscal year, marking another step in the country’s economic recovery from a crippling dollar shortage. Tourism revenue rose to $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter that ended June 30, from $510 million in the same period a year ago, according to initial central bank data that it shared with Bloomberg. Full-year receipts rose 16 percent to $4.4 billion. Remittances grew 9 percent to $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter, and rose 2 percent to $17.4 billion for the year. The data is further evidence of a gradual improvement in Egypt’s external finances since November, when authorities embarked on an economic program that included floating...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/16/17)
Production at Libya's Sharara oilfield dropped to between 130,000 and 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), from about 280,000 bpd, because of recent security breaches, an engineer who works at the field said on Tuesday. Field employees had difficulty accessing some of the field's facilities after cars and mobile phones were stolen, said the engineer, who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media. It was not clear if production at Sharara had recovered since the security problems, which occurred several days ago. On Monday, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said security breaches in recent days were the result of an individual act, that the perpetrator had been punished and that the field...
(Bloomberg 08/16/17)
Nigeria has started a $41 billion railway expansion to reduce dependence on oil and diversify its struggling economy by improving transport links to allow the movement of goods around the country and to ports. “The plan we have now will go to every nook and corner,” Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, 52, said in an interview in the capital, Abuja. Africa’s biggest oil producer is going through its worst economic slump in 25 years following a plunge in the price and output of oil, which accounts for more than 90 percent of foreign income and two-thirds of government revenue. President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, presented in March, seeks to boost agriculture and manufacturing by developing the country’s transport...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
Libya’s biggest oil field has reduced crude production by more than 30 percent in recent days and the Zueitina export terminal ceased loadings over the weekend, throwing the OPEC country’s output back on a downward spiral. Output at the Sharara field was down to 200,000 barrels a day on Sunday, compared with 300,000 barrels a day about a week ago, a person familiar with the matter said Sunday, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. Workers were being kept from certain areas for their own safety after two company vehicles were stolen at gunpoint, the person said. Zueitina port ceased loading on Saturday after employees demanded better working conditions, according to Merhi Abridan, head of the worker’s...
(Xinhuanet 08/14/17)
Namibia's President Hage Geingob has said Moody's should not have based its latest rating on the forthcoming ruling Swapo Party elective congress and the national elections scheduled for 2019. Geingob said this when he addressed a closed door Swapo central committee meeting Saturday in Windhoek. Swapo will hold its elective congress in December and already some members are jostling for positions. Moody's downgraded Namibia's credit rating from Baa3- to Ba1 but maintained the negative outlook on Friday. The rating agency said it downgraded Namibia credit ratings because the country's fiscal strength has been eroded and there is a limited institutional capacity to respond to shocks as well as renewed risk of liquidity pressures. The agency also noted that the public...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/14/17)
Kenya's opposition called on people to stay away from work on Monday in protest at last week's declared election result, but response to the call was limited with many businesses re-opening after being closed during the tense election period. Many shops opened up again in the capital, Nairobi, and in the western town of Kisumu for the first time in days, and cars and buses were moving around on streets that had been deserted even before the result was announced of the Aug. 8 presidential election. In Kibera, Nairobi's biggest slum where opposition support is strong, minibuses and taxis were also plying their trade through the rubble-strewn streets, and some food stalls and phone and money outlets opened their doors...
(Financial Times 08/12/17)
Businesses hold off investment as bitter divisions rack ANC. Kutlo Marumo, the man who makes President Jacob Zuma’s trademark leather jackets, emblazoned with the black, green and gold insignia of the African National Congress, should be doing a roaring trade. South Africa’s ruling party is gearing up for a five-yearly conference where thousands of delegates will elect a new leadership and the jackets are a favourite of ANC members. But even Mr Marumo is feeling the pinch as a string of political and corruption scandals have battered confidence in Africa’s most industrialised economy, plunging it into its second recession in a decade. “If there is hype in the movement, business picks up,” he says at his shop in downtown Johannesburg,...

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(CNN 02/10/15)
(CNN)After 32 games, 23 days and one drawn lot, it's all over. A dramatic 9-8 penalty shootout alleviated a turgid scoreless draw, but after a 23-year wait Ivory Coast will not care how they secured the silverware. The unlikely hero of the evening was Boubacar Barry, Ivory Coast's hitherto reserve goalkeeper, only promoted to the team after an injury side-lined first choice Sylvain Gbohouo. After saving two penalties, he slotted the winning kick against his opposite number, sending the West African nation into raptures.
(Xinhuanet 02/10/15)
ACCRA, Feb. (Xinhua) -- Ghana's senior national soccer team the Black Stars arrived home after winning silver at the just- ended 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Equatorial Guinea. The Black Stars lost 9-8 to Ivory Coast in a dramatic penalty shoot-out Sunday night in the Equatorial Guinea city of Bata. The team, officials and government delegation touched down at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra Monday afternoon, to a rousing welcome by hundreds of soccer fans. They were met on arrival by the Vice President Kwesi Amissah- Arthur and other state officials. On behalf of the delegation, the president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwesi Nyantakyi thanked the nation for the support it gave to the team...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/15)
The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations won by Ivory Coast in Equatorial Guinea Sunday was full of controversy with disputed penalties and rioting supporters. Pictures of a jagged broken mirror used as a missile by a rioter and players attempting to assault a referee in another knockout match involving the host nation were beamed around the world on television. The incidents did nothing to enhance the reputation of football on the continent, although African Football Confederation (CAF) president Issa Hayatou saw things differently. Taking exception to the international media coverage, he insisted the western press was "perpetuating colonisation" as similar events occurred in Europe without as much uproar. "When something bad happens in Europe, they say it's an error. When...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/09/15)
Andre Ayew wasted no time on Saturday rebuffing any talk of revenge on behalf of his father when he plays for Ghana against the Ivory Coast in Sunday’s African Nations Cup final. The storyline of French-based Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan winning the title which eluded their father Abedi Pele when the two countries last met in the final, in 1992, was probed by reporters. But the 25-year-old Andre, the elder of the brothers who plays for Olympique Marseille, scowled at the first question and attempted to quash the angle. “There is no revenge at all, we play only for our country," he said. "It’s a match for Ghana. “The history of 1992 is not the history of this team...
(BBC News Africa 02/07/15)
Equatorial Guinea have been fined US$100,000 (£65,000) for the crowd trouble during Thursday's Africa Cup of Nations semi-final loss to Ghana. They have also been warned that a repeat of events at Malabo Stadium will result in the team being forced to play a game behind closed doors. However, fans will be able to attend Equatorial Guinea's third-place play-off match against DR Congo on Saturday. Equatorial Guinea must also pay for the treatment of 36 injured fans.
(AFP (eng) 02/07/15)
Ivory Coast face what is likely to be their sternest test of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations when they tackle Ghana Sunday in what has been dubbed the 'dream' final. Two of Africa’s football powerhouses are in dire need of a continental trophy after long, frustrating waits. Ghana have won the Cup of Nations four times but their last conquest was 33 years ago, while the Ivorians only triumph was in 1992 and, ironically, it was at the expense of Ghana. Ivory Coast beat their west African neighbours 11-10 on penalties after 120 minutes of action did not produce any goals in Dakar.
(AFP (eng) 02/07/15)
In Equatorial Guinea, Andre Ayew has not only shamed his critics but also moved a step closer to matching the class of his father, the legendary Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew. In 2008, when he made his Africa Cup of Nations debut on home soil, he was criticised by the fans with some suggesting he was only in the squad because of the influence of his famous father. But a year later he made history when he led his country in Egypt to become the first African team to win the FIFA U20 World Cup and it was the core of this team that reached the 2010 Cup of Nations final in Angola. The 25-year-old Marseille forward has also featured at two...
(BBC News Africa 02/05/15)
Ivory Coast reached their third Africa Cup of Nations final in nine years after proving too strong for DR Congo. Yaya Toure put them ahead with a ferocious 20-yard shot but soon after Dieumerci Mbokani levelled with a penalty after Eric Bailly handled. Gervinho had a header cleared off the line before he made it 2-1 when he curled in to finish off a breakaway. The Ivorians made sure of victory when Wilfried Kanon kneed home after Serge Aurier's header had been saved. Gervinho, outstanding throughout, had a good chance to add further gloss to the scoreline late on, but his effort was saved by the busy Robert Kidiaba.
(AFP (eng) 02/04/15)
CAF banned Mauritian referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn for six months and slapped a $50,000 (43,000 euro) fine on Tunisia Tuesday after a controversial Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final in Equatorial Guinea. The host nation equalised off a dubiously awarded stoppage-time penalty and went on to a shock 2-1 win over Tunisia last Saturday in Bata. When the final whistle sounded, riot police had to protect the match officials from furious Tunisian players.
(BBC News Africa 02/02/15)
Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard said the tournament's best team are out after his Ivory Coast side beat Algeria to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals. New Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony scored twice as the Elephants won 3-1 to earn a tie against DR Congo. "I think we have beaten the best team in the tournament," said Renard. "We needed to be very well-organised and try to counter a team who are very strong individually," Renard led Zambia to the Africa Cup of Nations title in 2012 and added: "When I was with Zambia, the Ivory Coast were better than us but we won on penalties in the 2012 final. "You need to be realistic in football and...
(AFP (eng) 02/01/15)
Christian Atsu scored twice as Ghana beat Guinea 3-0 in Malabo on Sunday to ease into their fifth successive Africa Cup of Nations semi-final. Atsu set the Black Stars on their way to a comfortable quarter-final victory when he opened the scoring in the fourth minute in Equatorial Guinea's capital, before Kwesi Appiah increased their advantage a minute before the interval. And Atsu, the winger on loan at Everton from their English Premier League rivals Chelsea, then saw his cross-cum-shot find the net on 61 minutes to take Ghana through to a last-four showdown with the hosts on Thursday. While Avram Grant's side keep alive their hopes of a first continental crown since 1982, Guinea's Cup of Nations adventure ends...
(BBC News Africa 01/31/15)
Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Lille full-back Pape Souare. The 24-year-old played for Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations. Eagles chairman Steve Parish announced the deal on his Twitter feed, saying: "Delighted that Pape Souare has just this minute signed for Crystal Palace. A warm welcome from all of us." Souare becomes manager Alan Pardew's third signing of the week after the arrivals of Jordon Mutch and Shola Amoebi.
(CNN 01/30/15)
(CNN)There was nothing to separate Guinea and Mali after the group stage at the African Cup of Nations so lots had to be drawn to decide which team would progress to the quarterfinals. On this occasion, luck favored Guinea, one of the nations in west Africa ravaged by the Ebola virus. It was a rare -- the last time lots were drawn at the continental tournament was in 1988 -- and unfair way to settle second place in Group D according to both managers but ultimately it's Guinea boss Michel Dussuyer and his team that will face Ghana on Sunday in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Two balls, numbered '2' for second place and '3' for third place, were placed in a...
(BBC News Africa 01/28/15)
Andre Ayew scored a late goal to put Ghana into the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals as Group C winners. Ayew bravely headed home Baba Rahman's left-wing cross after his side had earlier looked like being eliminated. Mandla Masango had given South Africa the lead with possibly the goal of the tournament when he scored a spectacular volley from 25 yards. Ghana piled on the pressure after the break and substitute John Boye drove home an equaliser before Ayew struck. With 17 minutes remaining, Ghana were on the way home as they trailed 1-0 but Boye's equaliser gave them hope and then Ayew's strike confirmed they would finish ahead of Algeria, who qualified with them after beating Senegal 2-0, on...
(CNN 01/27/15)
(CNN)Players from Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo embraced each other in celebration as both sides played out a 1-1 draw to book their passage into the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations. In a tense finale to Group B, all four teams still had the chance to qualify for the last eight until the final whistle went in a goalless draw between Cape Verde and Zambia in torrid conditions. It sparked contrasting celebrations, the coaches and players in Bata celebrating in unison while there were tears in Ebebiyin as 2012 champions Zambia bowed out in the group stages for a second successive tournament.
(BBC News Africa 01/24/15)
Ghana coach Avram Grant says Asamoah Gyan is "one of the greatest players" he has ever worked with. Grant watched as Gyan kick-started Ghana's Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a last-gasp winner against Algeria on Friday. Gyan's goal lit up what had been a dire contest on a bobbly surface in Mongomo. "I have coached some of the great players - and he's one of the greatest," said the former Chelsea boss. The former Israel, Portsmouth and West Ham boss managed Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba, former Germany midfielder Michael Ballack and England's Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.
(BBC News Africa 01/20/15)
Algeria escaped a "catastrophic" start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign, says coach Christian Gourcuff after Monday's win over South Africa. Despite being one of the tournament favourites, they trailed after Thuso Phala's 51st minute goal. Bournemouth's Tokelo Rantie then missed a penalty for Bafana Bafana before Algeria scored three goals in the final 23 minutes. "The penalty was a turning point," said Gourcuff. He added: " At 2-0 the game was not over but we would have been in a difficult situation." Having impressed on their way to reaching the knockout stages in the World Cup in Brazil last summer, Algeria are tipped by many to go all the way in Equatorial Guinea. But, after a disappointing first...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/15)
Disgraced Kenyan drugs cheat Rita Jeptoo, once considered the world's top female distance runner, arrived in Nairobi Thursday for a hearing to find out how long she will be banned from the sport. Jeptoo was busted for using the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO during an out-of-competition drugs test last year and faces a suspension of at least two years plus the loss of a string of recent titles. She kept her eyes to the ground and made no comment to reporters as she entered the Athletics Kenya headquarters in the Kenyan capital, where she will be under pressure from national officials to come clean and spill the beans on how she acquired and was administered the drug. Athletics Kenya has...
(BBC News Africa 01/15/15)
Manchester City have completed the signing of Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony in a deal that could be worth up to £28m. Bony has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal at Etihad Stadium through to 2019 and will wear the number 14 shirt. "It's a great feeling for me, it's a big honour to be here and it's a great challenge," the 26-year-old said. He joined Swansea for £12m from Vitesse Arnhem in 2013 and was Premier League top scorer in 2014 with 20 goals. The two clubs agreed the terms of the transfer at the weekend, with £25m cash up front and a further £3m in performance-related add-ons. The deal makes Bony one of the most expensive African footballers in history...
(Pana 01/13/15)
Banjul, Gambia - Gambia’s Football Federation (GFF) has on Sunday hailed the choice of local referee Bakary Papa Gassama by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as 2014 Referee of the Year. “The award… is an uplifting and heartwarming milestone at a time when Gambian football is having a new and better beginning,” said GFF president Lamin Kaba Bajo. CAF named Gassama for the award in Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday. “Gassama’s hard work and abiding interest to excel on the global stage, to serve as a viable referee and a clear-headed Ambassador of The Gambia to the world, has indeed transformed the history of Gambian football and brightened its prospect,' said Bajo. FIFA, the world football governing body, recently increased...

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(Bloomberg 07/17/17)
The Nigerian armed forces dismissed speculation that there’s a plot to topple the country’s elected government and reaffirmed its subordination to the civilian authorities. The military has no intention of “truncating democracy” and “will continue to carry out its constitutional roles as directed by the Commander-in-Chief,” according to a statement published Friday on the Defence Headquarters website. A report by an online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, of a plot by some military officers “should be disregarded as unfounded and absolute disinformation,” the military said in the statement. Army Chief of Staff Tukur Buratai said in May that some individuals were approaching soldiers to discuss a plot and warned that they should desist. Such rumors have surfaced with President Muhammadu Buhari’s illness...
(Bloomberg 07/17/17)
Ghana’s cocoa regulator is warning farmers that the smuggling of beans from neighboring Ivory Coast may jeopardize efforts to keep producer payments unchanged despite a slump in prices. The regulator in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer, expects that as much as 70,000 metric tons of the country’s crop will be smuggled across its borders by the time the season ends in September, a person familiar with the matter said July 5. Ivory Coast cut farmers’ pay by 36 percent to the equivalent of about 700,000 CFA francs ($1,211) per ton in April to cope with prices that have fallen by more than a third in a year on forecasts of an oversupply. Ghana, the second-biggest grower, kept farmer payments...
(Voice of America 07/15/17)
Zimbabwe’s Environment Management Agency has ordered the food industry to stop using containers made of expanded polystyrene and replace them with recyclable or biodegradable ones. The agency recommends restaurants use paper packaging or encourage patrons to partake of their food on site. The ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) went into effect immediately, upsetting business owners left with unused stocks. “I think this is quite unfair,” said Denford Mutashu, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers.
(Voice of America 07/14/17)
Kenya is less than a month from nationwide voting, and the electoral commission remains under pressure. The commission is appealing a High Court order that would allow the reopening of bidding for printing presidential ballots a week before the general election was set to start, even as the opposition prepares to take the commission to court on another issue. Meanwhile, the voter registry continues to spark debate and confusion. When Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission opened a short message platform two weeks ago so the public could check voter details, many like Florence, a businesswoman, used it and found her details were correct, but she noticed those of her sibling were not. She said her sister checked her details...
(Bloomberg 07/14/17)
South Africa is considering a merger of state-owned technology companies Broadband Infraco and Sentech to help accelerate the roll out of high-speed internet to the population within three years, according to two people familiar with the matter. The combined entity will be expected to extend broadband to rural communities that don’t yet have internet access, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the plans haven’t been publicly announced. Broadband Infraco is the country’s second largest fixed-line operator after Telkom SA SOC Ltd., while Sentech has wireless broadband assets and operates signals for South Africa’s broadcasting companies. The government is “pursuing the rationalization of state broadband assets to reduce the duplication of infrastructure and mandates of state-owned companies,”...
(Bloomberg 07/14/17)
Nigeria plans to license drones used for both commercial and private purposes under new regulations governing unmanned aircraft, the head of the civil aviation agency said. “We have proposed regulations already,” Dele Sasegbon, director of general aviation at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters Thursday in the capital, Abuja. “For the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system, we have to do it seamlessly.” Steps have been taken by the National Airspace Management Agency to bring drones into the country’s airspace system, he said. Individuals and companies in Africa’s most populous country of more than 180 million people have expressed interest in the use of drones in agriculture, for monitoring pipelines and storage tanks in its oil...
(Bloomberg 07/13/17)
A surge in Ghana’s oil output this year may do little to ease the West African nation’s fiscal strains as crude prices are lower than what it budgeted, eroding the gains from extra production. This year’s average Brent crude price of $52 a barrel is below the $56 forecast in the budget, which could complicate the state’s plans to narrow the fiscal deficit. Output is set to climb by more than a third in 2017 from a year earlier after Eni SpA started up the Sankofa field in May, and as production rises at Tullow Plc’s second project in the country. The world’s second-biggest cocoa producer plans to cut its fiscal deficit to 6.5 percent of gross domestic product this...
(Bloomberg 07/11/17)
Gabon, Africa’s second-biggest manganese producer, wants to partner with private companies to process most its minerals locally before exporting them, Mining Minister Christian Magnagna said. Local processing will boost the mining industry’s contribution to gross domestic product from the current 2.1 percent to at least 4 percent as the central African nation seeks to make its economy less dependent on oil, Magnagna said in an interview in the capital, Libreville. The country’s main manganese mine in Moanda in the southeast processes about 6 percent of its total output, which stood at 3.8 million metric tons last year.
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
African and Arab election experts are in Kenya this week meeting with Somalia's electoral commission to help the country prepare to move to “one person, one vote” elections in 2020. The year 2004 marked the beginning of the end to more than two decades of civil war and anarchy in Somalia. Members of Somalia's interim parliament gathered in Nairobi to vote for a new president. They met in Kenya because Mogadishu was still too dangerous. Somalia has since held three polls. But regular Somalis are yet to cast any ballots. The country has relied on a clan-based formula in which the lawmakers were selected
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
Severe food crises are growing in Kenya and Somalia, as the Horn of Africa continues to receive below-normal rainfall, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. The hunger-tracking group says 2.9 million people in Kenya and 3.2 million in Somalia are experiencing Phase 3 or higher on the network's five-tier warning scale, with Phase 3 being the crisis stage and Phase 5 being a full-fledged famine. The numbers represent a jump of 800,000 in Kenya and 300,000 in Somalia since FEWS NET's last estimates, released in June. The need is urgent Peter Thomas, FEWS NET decision support advisor, says Phase 3 indicates that households are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. “This means that households are unable to meet...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
French diplomats criticised Belgium and the US for their behaviour in Congo after it won its independence in 1960 but one called for the "elimination" of prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, some months before his murder in the rebel province of Katanga. On the 57th anniversary of Congolese independence, RFI reveals the contents of French diplomatic cables sent at the time. France's ambassador in Léopoldville maintained a certain bemused distance when Belgian King Baudouin handed over power to Lumumba at a solemn ceremony on 30 June 1960. Baudouin's speech was "the polar opposite of self-criticism", ambassador Pierre-Albert Charpentier commented in a cable to the French foreign affairs ministry. The king lauded the "genius of King Léopold II", whose rule of the...
(RFI(EN) 06/30/17)
Guinea-Bissau's President Jose Mario Vaz was scheduled to meet political parties on Thursday to try to put an end to the country's political crisis. He's been given three months by the West African Economic Community (Ecowas) to find a solution. Jose Mario Vaz was to meet representatives of Guinea Bissau's main political parties: the historic independence movement the African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), the main opposition Party for Social Renovation (PSR) and the Union for Political Change (UPC).
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
Egyptian warplanes struck a convoy of 12 vehicles about to be driven across the border from Libya carrying weapons and ammunition, the military said on Tuesday. The military said in a statement that it had acted on "intelligence indicating a number of criminal elements had gathered to cross the border into Egypt using a number of four-wheel-drive vehicles". An official in the armed forces told AFP the vehicles had been on the move from Libya. Air force units...
(The Associated Press 06/27/17)
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) -- Authorities say 10 more mass graves have been uncovered in the restive region of central Congo where the Catholic church has estimated more than 3,300 people have died. Maj. Gen. Joseph Ponde told journalists that armed forces were alerted to the graves by Red Cross officials and villagers in the area. He said seven of the 10 new mass graves were located in Diboko. A U.N. team is due to arrive on the scene Wednesday. Human rights officials say 42 mass graves already had been documented in the Kasai provinces, where violence erupted last August after a traditional chief was killed in a military operation. Among the victims were two foreign U.N. experts - American Michael...
(Voice of America 06/20/17)
YAOUNDE — Cameroon has detained 30 of its soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the northern part of the country. The Defense Ministry says the soldiers abandoned their positions in a protest over pay and working conditions. Military officials in Cameroon say the incident happened earlier this month. Several dozen Cameroonian soldiers erected barricades near the country's border with Nigeria and asked to be immediately replaced. The soldiers were part of the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram since 2015. Colonel Didier Badjeck, spokesperson of Cameroon's military, said the protest was "unacceptable." He said so far 30 of the soldiers who took part have been arrested. He said the minister of defense gave instructions that the protesters should be arrested...
(Voice of America 06/20/17)
GENEVA — Congo's justice minister says investigations into killings in the central Kasai regions have "progressed well'' and four people have been arrested over the grisly slayings of two U.N. experts. Alexis Thambwe Mwamba expressed opposition to European Union resolution at the Human Rights Council that seeks an international, independent mission to investigate rights violations and allegations of mass graves in the wake of hundreds of killings in the Kasai provinces. Speaking to reporters Monday on the sidelines of the council session, Mwamba said Congo's government has already agreed to allow investigators, but said they should work with Congolese authorities — not independently. Read more at: https://www.voanews.com/a/congo-justice-minister-says-four-arrested-over...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
War crimes judges will rule next month on whether South Africa flouted international law when it failed to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2015, wanted on charges of genocide in Darfur. The International Criminal Court "convenes a public hearing on 6 July... for the delivery of its decision," the court said in a statement Friday. The tribunal based in The Hague "invites representatives of South Africa and the prosecutor to attend," it added. Pretoria, at an unprecedented hearing in April, disputed accusations by ICC prosecutors that...
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
It was almost sunset as fishermen guided their boats back onto the beach at Joal, Senegal, after a long day at sea. At first glance, it looks as though they'd collected a good day's haul, but their nets were full of small sardinella, known locally as yaabooy. Fisherman Mamdou Lamine had caught just one bucket of mackerel. He held one up next to a yaabooy to show how much bigger it was — and there are many more yaabooy than mackerel these days, he said. Furthermore, A local favorite, grouper, called thiof in Senegal, is getting harder to find. The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization says more than half of West Africa's fisheries are dangerously depleted. Local officials in Senegal...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
Kenya’s elections may prompt violence that evokes the unrest that killed at least 1,100 people following a disputed vote a decade ago if the electoral authorities fail to ensure this year’s process is credible, opposition leader Raila Odinga said. Any outbreak of clashes would be difficult to control, even though Kenyans “don’t want to go back to 2008,” Odinga said in an interview Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi. The 72-year-old former prime minister is seeking to stop President Uhuru Kenyatta from securing a second term in the Aug. 8 election. Kenyan elections are a source of nervousness for investors in East Africa’s biggest economy.
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
A U.S. congressional delegation returned from central Africa last week with one overriding question: what can be done to stop South Sudan's war and help the refugees streaming into Uganda, suffering from a lack of food? Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, says the answer lies with the parties in South Sudan's conflict, especially the government and military, which have been accused of blocking food aid to needy populations, using rape as a weapon of war and engaging in ethnic cleansing.

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