Thursday 18 January 2018

Toute l'afrique

(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Coptic Orthodox Christians packed Egypt's newly built Nativity of Christ Cathedral on Saturday for a Christmas Eve mass after a bloody year for a minority repeatedly targeted by jihadists. Police had bolstered security around the country's churches for days, especially at the cathedral east of Cairo where President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to pay his respects to the ancient community. He walked in alongside Coptic Pope Tawadros II and took to the altar amid ululations and cries of "we love you". "We love you too," he responded. "You are our family, you are from us, we are one and no one will divide us." Sisi said the cathedral, in a new administrative capital Egypt is building, was a "message to...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
The Senegalese government vowed Sunday to be "relentless" in tracking down and bringing to justice those responsible for the execution of 13 people in the southern region of Casamance. Gunmen ordered a group of men and youths, out looking for wood, to lie on the ground deep in the forest before opening fire, a survivor said following the first upsurge in violence in the isolated Senegalese region in years. President Macky Sall, condemning an "armed attack of rare barbarity", summoned his national security council and ordered a ministerial delegation to the scene. "A hard and relentless hunt will be conducted to find the perpetrators of this despicable act," interior minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye told Senegalese press agency APS during a...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
One person was killed, three are missing and thousands have been displaced after tropical cyclone Ava tore through Madagascar, authorities said late Saturday. 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. "Based on the provisional toll, one person has died, three people have been reported missing, 10,465 people have been displaced and more than 12,000 affected by the storm," the National Bureau for Risk and Catastrophe Management said in a statement. The cyclone caused flash flooding in the capital Antananarivo and the port city of Toamasina. Madagascar, one of the world's poorest countries, is regularly hit...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
A student was killed in Sudan on Sunday during protests against soaring bread prices, officials and witnesses said. Protests broke out in areas of war-torn Darfur and Blue Nile states as well as the capital Khartoum with demonstrators burning tyres and blocking roads and police firing tear gas. Bread prices more than doubled this week as flour manufacturers raised prices amid dwindling wheat supplies after the government decided to stop importing grain and allowed private companies to do so. Anti-riot police fired tear gas at hundreds of students and residents who staged rallies in the towns of Geneina and Nyala in Darfur and Damazin in Blue Nile, witnesses said. "In the incidents that occurred in Geneina, one student was killed...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Sudanese security agents on Sunday seized all copies of six newspapers after they criticised the government over soaring bread prices that have almost doubled this week, editors said. Discontent has been simmering over the past few days as bread prices jumped on the back of a sharp rise in the cost of flour after a government decision to shift importing of wheat to private sector companies. Several newspapers have criticised the decision concerning wheat imports, while the country's opposition groups called for nationwide demonstrations against the price rise. On Sunday, members of the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated entire print runs of Al-Tayar, Al-Mustagilla, Al-Karar, Al-Midan, Al-Assayha and Akhbar Al-Watan newspapers. Akhbar al-Watan and Al-Midan are mouthpieces...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
Clashes erupted between Egyptian protesters and policemen on Saturday outside a Cairo police station over the death of a young man in custody, security sources said. Nine people were injured and 20 people arrested in the overnight scuffle in Cairo's working class neighbourhood of Moqattam, they said. The security sources said a young man nicknamed Afroto, who was arrested on Friday for alleged drug trafficking, died after a violent brawl with other detainees. But protesters accused the police of being responsible for his death. They set fire to tyres and cars near the police station, leading the fire brigade to intervene. Calm returned to Moqattam later in the morning after Cairo's security chief pledged a probe into the detainee's death,...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
Armed groups clashed Friday in western Libya, forcing the closure of a key border crossing with Tunisia, an official and a military commander said. The clashes took place near the Ras Jedir border post, the main crossing between western Libya and southeastern Tunisia. The crossing has been controlled by militias from the western port city of Zuwara since the fall of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed revolt. On Friday, a force set up by the country's United Nations-backed unity government to stabilise Libya's west attacked in a bid to seize the crossing, said an official from Zuwara...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
Floods and mudslides killed 44 people in shantytowns in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, the third largest metropolis in Africa, an official said Friday. "We have a final toll of 44 deaths," said provincial minister for health and social affairs, Dominique Weloli. An earlier toll put the number of dead at 37. Three-quarters of homes in Kinshasa are slums which have no access to sanitation or electricity, according to Corneille Kanene, former head of UN-Habitat. Torrential rains and landslides overnight Wednesday destroyed flimsy homes, many perched on hillsides. Kinshasa, which is home to 10 million people, is the third largest city in Africa after Cairo and Lagos. The population has surged over the years and many residents live...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
The Islamic State faction of Boko Haram on Friday said it was responsible for a late December attack on Nigerian army barracks, claiming it killed nine soldiers and took military equipment. The jihadist faction said in an online statement published by the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP) that it had orchestrated the raid on army barracks in the town of Kanamma in northeast Yobe state, according to the SITE Intelligence group, which monitors jihadist activity. Boko Haram has long been divided, but in 2016 it suffered a major split when the Islamic State group recognised Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi, the son of dead Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusuf, as leader. The jihadists carried out a bloody raid on the Kanamma...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
Eighteen people were killed and another 14 injured in the small west African state of Guinea-Bissau late Friday when a minibus collided with a truck, police and hospital sources said. One witness said the truck appeared to have been speeding when the driver lost control and collided head-on with the minibus near Bissauzinho, around 15 kilometres (15 miles) from the capital Bissau. Sources said the bus had been overloaded and that at least 10 of the injured were in a serious condition. Both drivers were killed and the minibus was totally crushed, an AFP correspondent at the scene said. Authorities issued an appeal for blood donors after the accident, which occurred around 8:00 pm (2000 GMT). Guinea-Bissau, which lies between...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
The morning light showed a scene of desolation as people in Ngaliema surveyed the wreckage of shanty homes swept away by killer floods and landslips. Among the 44 people who perished overnight Wednesday in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo, were a teenager, Brunelle, her sister Gladys, and Gladys' baby. Their home of makeshift yellowish clay bricks, located at the foot of a steep slope literally dissolved after the waters struck, neighbours said. "The emergency services came, but they arrived late, around 4:00 am," said a young man, Magloire, who said that he was the one who found the bodies. The disaster was one that could have been avoided -- the rainfall was indeed torrential but not exceptional,...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - Clashes have broken out near South Sudan’s capital Juba between government troops and rebels, officials said on Friday, the latest violation of a ceasefire signed last month. The deal reached in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa between the government of President Salva Kiir and a myriad of opposition groups had aimed to end a four-year-old war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed. But several violations have since taken place, for which all sides have been blamed. On Friday, the army’s spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said several people were killed after rebel troops attempted to seize...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Liberia’s development is at risk of slowing as Nobel prize-winning president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a darling of foreign aid donors, is replaced this month by an ex-soccer star with little government experience, experts said. George Weah, who grew up in a slum in the West African country and later played for top European football clubs, was elected last week to succeed Johnson Sirleaf as her 12-year tenure draws to an end. Johnson Sirleaf, who previously worked for the World Bank and the United Nations, has been credited with putting the country back on its feet after it was ravaged by civil wars from 1989 to 2003. But the progress she made - such as building...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Angry Sudanese queued outside bakeries in Khartoum on Friday as bread prices doubled overnight, with bakers blaming a government decision to stop importing wheat. Customers had to wait nearly an hour to buy a loaf, while several bakery operators said price hikes on flour meant they would be forced to stop production entirely. "All bakeries have decided to raise the price of bread after the price of flour was raised yesterday," Mohamed al-Saeed, a member of a bakery owners' union, told AFP. Flour manufacturers had raised the price of a 50 kilo (110 pound) sack of wheat flour from 167 to 450 Sudanese pounds ($65, 54 euros), he said. That sent bread prices soaring across Sudan, threatening to bring bakeries...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Libya's oil revenues have more than tripled in 2017 despite violence and political instability, according to figures released Friday by the central bank. The backbone of the North African country's economy, Libya's oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Oil output fell from 1.6 million barrels per day to less than 500,000 bpd between 2014 and 2016 due to violence around production facilities and export terminals as rival militias fought for control. Despite revenues surging to $14 billion (12 billion euros) in 2017, up from $4.8 billion...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa made a home visit on Friday to the leader of the country's main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been battling cancer. The visit came as Zimbabwe's political parties prepare to begin campaigning for elections due later this year -- the first since former president Robert Mugabe stood down following a brief military takeover. Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, the former army chief who led November's takeover, said Tsvangirai was "recuperating very well" following his colon cancer diagnosis two years ago. An image of the meeting showed Tsvangirai looking frail as he sat on a couch next to Mnangagwa...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ruled out forming a coalition government after visiting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday. Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in 2018 in the first big test of Mnangagwa’s legitimacy after he rose to power in November last year following a de facto military coup which saw veteran leader Robert Mugabe reluctantly cede power. Mnangagwa has previously indicated polls could be held as early as March, and is under pressure from civil society, would-be investors and opposition parties to implement political reforms following Mugabe’s 37-year grip on power. “Currently there is no need,” Mnangagwa told reporters, referring to the possibility of forming a coalition with Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mnangagwa’s...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Crocodiles in Zimbabwe savaged a 90-year-old tourist to death and left another traveller critically wounded after attacking their rubber dinghy, the national parks service said Friday. The pair, who are both Zimbabwean, were part of a group participating in a New Year's Eve picnic on Sunday in the Matopos National Park, 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Bulawayo in the country's south. "John Bowman and Rosemary Mitchell were attacked while paddling in the crocodile-infested Mpopoma Dam," said Tinashe Farawo of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Bowman subsequently succumbed to his injuries. "It is unfortunate that they were using air-pumped boats, which are not permissible," added Farawo. Last year. a South African tourist, Scott Van Zyl, 44, was killed by...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Equatorial Guinea has launched a dragnet for "mercenaries" behind a bid to overthrow President Theodoro Obiang, Africa's longest-serving leader, a senior government official said on Friday. "We are carrying out intensive searches everywhere," the source, reached by phone from the Gabonese capital Libreville, told AFP. The manhunt, the official said, is focussed on "the Ebibeyin zone and other forests nearby," located near the border with Cameroon and Cameroon. It is also being carried out "in towns where they are believed to have infiltrated", in the capital Malabo, as well as Bata, Ebibeyin and Mongomo...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
A passenger train smashed into a truck at a level crossing in South Africa on Thursday, killing at least 18 people, injuring 254 and throwing several carriages off the rails. Flames ripped through the twisted wreckage and choking black smoke rose into the air as desperate passengers clambered out of the train travelling from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg to escape the inferno. Tiaan Esterhuizen, who was travelling on the train as he returned from holiday, attempted to rescue three women who were trapped in a burning passenger wagon. "I saw around 12 cars on their side and one was already burning. We heard some women screaming when we came closer‚ so a few of us climbed over the cars," he...

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(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Police in Gabon arrested dozens of people Sunday over a knife attack that wounded two Danish nationals working for National Geographic, apparently in retribution for "US attacks against Muslims," officials said. The men detained were mostly traders and sellers in the popular market in Libreville where the attack occurred Saturday -- and all are from west Africa. An official said they were taken to police headquarters, where they are due to be questioned. "Operations are ongoing," government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze told AFP. "We are not commenting at this stage." National Geographic confirmed that the targets of the attack were working for the organisation. "We are deeply saddened to confirm the reports that the two Danish nationals horrifically attacked...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/17)
The World Health Organization has declared Gabon a "polio-free country", given the lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country. According to a WHO statement obtained by AFP on Saturday, the UN health agency nonetheless recommended taking the necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease. Gabon's Health Minister Denise Mekam'ne Edzidzie also urged families on Saturday to "continue to immunise children and prevent a resurgence of this disease". Polio is a highly-infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis. There is no cure and it can only be prevented through immunisation.
(AFP (eng) 12/16/17)
Two Sierra Leonean health workers on Friday sued their government in a West African court, alleging its misuse of donor funds during the Ebola crisis had contributed to the deaths of thousands. The Ebola virus surfaced in Guinea in late 2013 and spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone the following year, killing 11,300 people and infecting 28,000 victims overall until the disease was fully contained in 2016. Allegations of abuse of the millions of dollars donated to relief organisations and channelled through government agencies have surfaced in all three countries, though this is believed to be the first case lodged at the supranational Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court in Abuja. The two unnamed plaintiffs caught Ebola...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/17)
A Nigerian soldier was killed on Friday when a military convoy transporting suspected Boko Haram jihadists struck a mine in the northeast of the country, security sources told AFP. The convoy was travelling to the town of Konduga in Borno state when the lead vehicle drove over the buried mine. "The vehicle hit an IED planted by Boko Haram terrorists, which damaged the vehicle and killed a soldier," a Nigerian army officer said on condition of anonymity. Three other soldiers were wounded in the blast, the officer added, and none of the prisoners escaped. Boko Haram has carried out a string of suicide attacks and kidnappings in northeastern Nigeria in recent years, leaving at least 20,000 people dead and displacing...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
International war crimes judges on Friday awarded $10 million in landmark reparations to "hundreds or thousands" of former child soldiers left brutalised and stigmatised after being conscripted into a ruthless Congolese militia. Warlord Thomas Lubanga, 56, was jailed for 14 years after being convicted in 2012 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of abducting boys and girls and press-ganging them into his Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) in the eastern Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The judges said Friday that Lubanga, who is serving his sentence in a Congolese prison, was also liable for compensation to 425 victims, identified by the court. At the time of the crimes in 2002-2003, all were under 15. They stressed, though,...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
A Nigerian military court on Friday sentenced a soldier to death for killing five civilians rescued from Boko Haram. The soldier, Lance Corporal John Godwin, was convicted by the General Court Martial in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State for killing the civilians in Yamteke town. "The civilians were earlier rescued by troops of the soldier's battalion and were taken for investigation at the time the soldier shot and killed five of them," army spokesman Kinsley Mfon Samuel said in a statement. He said other soldiers were also handed jail sentences for offences ranging from manslaughter to illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. "Sergeant Innocent Ototo was sentenced to life imprisonment for manslaughter after torturing and killing a 13-year-old boy who...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
The African National Congress was lauded for its moral authority in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, but many veterans of that era are deeply disillusioned by the party's actions today. As delegates prepare to elect a new leader to succeed Jacob Zuma, the ANC faces falling public support, a reputation for corruption and the threat of a damaging split between rival factions. The celebrated activists who stood alongside ANC leader Nelson Mandela in the struggle against white-minority rule say the party bears little semblance to its storied glory days, given its current reputation for putting personal interests above national needs. "I am not proud of being an ANC member that is led by this lot. I am proud...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
For migrants who escape torture and starvation at the hands of people traffickers, a "Safe House" in an oasis town offers a rare commodity in Libya: shelter and medical care. Bani Walid, on the edge of the desert 170 kilometres (110 miles) southeast of the capital Tripoli, is a transit point on the way to the coast and perilous boat journeys across the Mediterranean to Europe. With the old green flags of Moamer Kadhafi's regime fluttering in the wind, time appears to have stood still in what was one of its last bastions before he was toppled and slain in the 2011 revolution. The basic housing consists of rooms made of concrete bricks built around a central courtyard in the...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram were on Thursday put on high alert after four military vehicles went missing during a raid on a army post in the restive northeast. A message sent to all military bases across the region called for "all units and troops to remain at alert and not be taken by surprise". Two armoured cars and two all-terrain pick-up trucks were taken after the jihadists tried to take over a military base at the village of Mainok in Borno state on Wednesday. Troops managed to repel the attack with reinforcements from the nearby town of Benisheik. The attack was the latest against "hard" military targets in recent weeks. At least nine Boko Haram fighters were killed in...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the main police academy in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Thursday with several people feared dead, police said. Witnesses said the police were gathering for their early morning parade, and were crowded in an open square when the bomber attacked. "A man wearing an explosive vest entered the camp disguised as a policeman, and blew himself up," police officer Mohamed Abdulle said. "There are casualties, and many injuries." Abdulle did not immediately have a toll for the number killed but said he feared there could be several dead. "Medical rescuers are still working on evacuating the casualties," Abdulle said. The police camp is Somalia's biggest police academy. "Some of the police were already in...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Boko Haram fighters battled Nigerian soldiers for about an hour on Wednesday as they tried to take over a military base, in the latest attack against troops in the restive northeast. A former local government official, a civilian militia member and a motorist who witnessed the shooting said the Islamist militants tried to storm the outpost in the village of Mainok in Borno state. Troops managed to repel the attack with the help of reinforcements but it comes after a series of similar raids targeting soldiers that is likely to stoke fears of a resurgence. Lawan Bukar Wasaram, a former chairman of the Kaga district where Mainok is located, said "large numbers" of Boko Haram militants tried to take over...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
US forces in Somalia conducted an air strike Tuesday against a bomb-laden vehicle outside Mogadishu that was deemed an "imminent threat" to the capital, officials said. The strike occurred about 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Mogadishu and comes after as many as 512 people were killed in a massive truck bombing in October. "In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US forces conducted an air strike against an al-Shabaab vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in the early morning hours of December 12," the US military's Africa Command said in a statement. "This strike supports our partner forces by removing an imminent threat to the people of Mogadishu." AFRICOM added that it had assessed that no civilians were killed in...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
When Bright stepped off the plane from Libya and heard that his home state in southern Nigeria had begun a rehabilitation programme for returned migrants, he thought it was another scam. "So many people cheated us in the past few months," he told AFP on the tarmac at Lagos airport, where he arrived earlier this month with nearly 300 other Nigerians. After months of fear, torture and prayers in detention centres in Tripoli or Benghazi, the returnees registered their name, their former address and the telephone number of a loved one. Bright, who is in his 40s, barely reacted as the Nigerian foreign ministry official, fresh off the plane from Abuja, distributed jollof rice before television cameras. He didn't even...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Seated in his Khartoum office overlooking the Blue Nile, Sudanese journalist Adil al-Baz no longer fears a crackdown by security agents over his articles since he launched an online newspaper. "We are free to publish what we want on our online newspaper," Baz, a former print newspaper editor, told AFP at the office of Al-Ahdath, the website he launched this year. In a country of increasing media censorship, Baz is among several independent journalists who have left newspaper jobs and launched online papers or websites. About a dozen internet papers have been launched in the past year alone as agents of the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) continue to confiscate entire print-runs of newspapers over articles opposed to...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Four people were killed in a blast at a camp for people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict in northeast Nigeria, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Tuesday. A Nigerian military source confirmed the incident and put the death toll at five. The explosion happened at about 12:30 pm (1130 GMT) on Monday in the border town of Pulka, in the Gwoza area of Borno state, where a Spanish team from the medical charity is providing healthcare. It was initially thought the blast was caused by a suicide bomber. But a military source in the town said later that examination of the blast scene indicated it may have been caused by a mortar shell. Ivan Munoz, an MSF spokesman in...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Former Paralympic champion and convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius has been injured in a prison brawl over the use of a public phone, a South African official said on Tuesday. The double amputee -- who is serving a 13-year jail term for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp -- was left with a bruise after "an altercation with another inmate over the use of a public phone" on December 6, according to the department of Correctional Services. "Oscar Pistorius sustained a bruise following an alleged incident with another inmate over the use of a public phone in the special care unit where both offenders are detained at Attridgeville Correctional Centre," spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo said. Pistorius was in November 2016 moved...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Two people were killed on Monday when a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in far northern Cameroon, a region that has been shaken by attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram jihadists, sources said. "A suicide bomber blew himself up this morning in a mosque in Kerawa," on the border with Nigeria, a regional security official reached by AFP said. "Two civilians and the bomber were killed," the source said, confirming an account by an eyewitness, who said the event took place shortly after morning prayers, when the mosque was relatively empty.
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Amnesty International on Tuesday accused European governments of "complicity" in the detention under horrific conditions of migrants in Libya, especially through their assistance to the Libyan coastguard implicated in people trafficking. "European governments are knowingly complicit in the torture and abuse of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities in appalling conditions in Libya," the rights group said in a report. It accused European governments of "actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation of refugees and migrants by the Libyan coastguard, detention authorities and smugglers in order to prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean".
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
A big roadside poster announces a "Pest Control Campaign" in Sao Tome and Principe, with a man in a white face mask wielding an insecticide spray fuelled by a tank on his back. The island nation in the Gulf of Guinea is at war against malaria, as it has been twice a year since 2003, with such success that the disease no longer routinely claims lives. In mainland central Africa, the incidence of malaria spread by infected female mosquitos is among the highest rates in the world. Malaria killed some 445,000 people around the planet in 2016, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), out of 216 million estimated cases that year. "Our last death was in 2016. It was...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
A Somali television journalist was killed by a car bomb in front of his children, relatives said, the fifth murder of a journalist in the war-torn country this year. Mohamed Ibrahim Gabow, a journalist working for Kalsan TV, had taken a break from work to spend time with his children. He had just left his home on Monday afternoon when a bomb planted beneath the driver's seat ripped through the car. He later died of his wounds in hospital. "He was a professional journalist dedicated to working for the public," grieving relative Mohamed Abdirahman said late Monday. "We don't know why they killed him in front of his children." No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but journalists have...

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(Bloomberg 08/11/17)
South Africa could escape a further slide to junk status on Friday in the same way the nation’s leader, Jacob Zuma, defeated a parliamentary rebellion and clung onto power -- comfortably but not without some sweating. Moody’s Investors Service is scheduled to release a ratings review two months after it cut the local- and foreign-currency assessments to one level above junk, citing risks to growth and fiscal strength due to the political outlook. That was after it put South Africa on review for a downgrade following a cabinet reshuffle in which Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, prompting S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. to cut the nation to sub-investment grade. Policy uncertainty and political turmoil increased in...
(Bloomberg 08/10/17)
Zambia’s central bank cut its benchmark lending rate for a third time this year as inflation remained below the government’s target. The Bank of Zambia lowered the rate to 11 percent from 12.5 percent, Governor Denny Kalyalya told reporters Thursday in Lusaka, the capital. That’s the lowest level since February 2014. The southern African nation’s consumer inflation rate is near the lowest since 2013, with this year’s record harvest of corn, which is used to make a local porridge, leading to lower food prices. A reduction in fuel costs this month could also ease inflationary pressure in the continent’s second-biggest copper producer, which has been struggling with ballooning budget deficits as metal prices fell and state spending rose. Inflation will...
(Bloomberg 08/09/17)
Egypt tightened access to a costly rations program on which the majority of the population relies, the latest in a series of painful and politically-sensitive measures seeking to repair public finances and restore investor confidence. The decree unveiled Tuesday restricts access to new ration cards to people earning 1,500 pounds ($84.50) a month or less for applicants in the public or private sector, the Supply Ministry said in a statement. Lower caps apply to other segments of the population, including pensioners, and the total number of family members covered under the same card was set at four -- with no option to add additional names after the card is issued. It’s the latest effort by the government to cut spending...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama met over the weekend for the first time since 2015, raising hopes of an end to violence following a disputed election three years ago. Fighters from the ruling Frelimo and Dhlakama's Renamo parties have clashed sporadically since Renamo challenged the results of the 2014 vote, though the fighting takes place mostly in the remote interior, making it difficult to gauge its scale and casualties. Nyusi and Dhlakama met at the Gorongosa mountain district, where Dhlakama has been in hiding with hundreds of fighters since 2015.
(Bloomberg 08/08/17)
In five decades of importing steel wires, Zahar Benmoussa’s company never worried about currency risks -- until Morocco announced plans to float the dirham. “For the first time in our history, we started to hedge” in the currency market, said Benmoussa, managing director at Casablanca-based Grillages Marocains. Across Morocco, fears of a weaker dirham triggered a rush for dollars and euros, causing a $3 billion drop in its reserves in just three months this year. Then in June, the government put its plans on hold again. It was at least the second time it stalled on a move supported by the International Monetary Fund and a centerpiece of Morocco’s ambitions to become North Africa’s dominant financial hub. By delaying, it...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Production from Libya's largest oil field was returning to normal after being briefly disrupted by armed protesters who broke into a control room in the coastal city of Zawiya, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Monday. A pipeline supplying jet fuel and gasoline from Zawiya to Tripoli that the protesters had also closed has reopened, the NOC added. Libya's Sharara field has been producing about 270,000 barrels a day (bpd), accounting for about a quarter of the country's output. It has been key to a revival in Libya's oil production, which climbed to more than 1 million bpd in late June from just over 200,000 bpd a year ago. Libya has been exempted from an OPEC-led push to cut...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Nigeria has been told by a court it can permanently seize a $37.5 million apartment block owned by a former oil minister who is wanted for money laundering. The property belongs to former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was in office between 2011 and 2015. It had previously been seized temporarily. Alison-Madueke's whereabouts are unclear, but she was last known to be in Britain. In April, she was charged in absentia with money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). A judge at the federal high court in the commercial capital Lagos on Monday ordered the forfeiture of the 15-storey apartment block, comprising of 18 flats and six penthouses. It is located in Banana Island, a gated community...
(AFP (eng) 08/06/17)
Months have passed since the Niger Delta Avengers have launched an attack on Nigeria's oil pipelines, yet leaders in the region are warning trouble is brewing in the southern swamplands. A charm offensive led by Nigeria's acting president Yemi Osinbajo has kept the uprising at bay, with renewed amnesty payments buying calm in the creeks, helping boost production to around 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from a low of 1.4 million bpd in August last year. But now those in the Niger delta say the fragile peace is under strain as the Nigerian government takes time to carry out reforms ranging from the construction of a maritime university to cleaning up oil spills. "The boys are impatient and they...
(Bloomberg 08/04/17)
Ghana has recorded its biggest cocoa harvest in six years, according to two people familiar with the matter, after favorable weather conditions boosted output in the world’s second-biggest grower. Graded and sealed deliveries since the beginning of the season in October reached 909,493 metric tons by July 27, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. That is the biggest since the 1,012,839 ton harvest for the whole of the 2010-11 season and compares with 778,043 tons produced in the 2015-16 crop, when severe desert winds damaged crops and affected rainfall. Certified purchases for the first seven weeks of the so-called light crop, the smaller of the two annual harvests which started June 8,...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/03/17)
South Africa's Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Thursday that no decision had been taken to implement a moratorium suspending the issuance of new mining and prospecting rights that was announced last month. "No decision has been taken by the Minister of Mineral Resources to implement the moratorium," he said in a statement. On July 20, Zwane said he intended to suspend the granting of applications for prospecting and mining rights pending a court case to review a new charter that increased the required level of ownership of mining firms by black people. South Africa's Chamber of Mines has lodged separate court applications to prevent the new charter and the moratorium.
(Bloomberg 08/03/17)
Nigeria took a step to unify its multiple exchange rates by allowing banks to use a currency window for investors when quoting the naira rather than the official rate. The naira weakened on the interbank market. FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, the Lagos-based platform that oversees interbank trading, asked lenders this week to publish quotes reflecting trades in the Investors’ & Exporters’ FX Window, according to Ecobank Transnational Inc. and Access Bank Plc. The window was opened in late April in a bid to attract inflows to the dollar-starved nation. The interbank rate weakened 14 percent to 366.04 per dollar as of 5:42 p.m. in Lagos, close to 367.08 for the so-called Nafex rate, the daily fixing published by FMDQ for...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/02/17)
Ivory Coast's prime minister has decided to sack the head of the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) Massandje Toure Litse, owing to a crisis over cocoa contract defaults and other management issues, sources said on Tuesday. Former presidential advisor Yves Kone will be the new CCC managing director, one of the most powerful government positions in the world's leading cocoa producer, a source from the finance ministry and a CCC source confirmed to Reuters. Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly took the decision on Tuesday and will officially announce it during Wednesday's cabinet meeting, the sources said.
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Plans by Ghanaian companies to raise capital are stalling as the West African nation’s securities regulator continues to operate without an appointed board more than six months after the previous committee’s term ended. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Ghana is unable to permit at least two corporate bond sales and process an “uncountable” number of broker-dealer and fund manager applications as approvals may only be granted by a fully constituted board, Jacob Aidoo, head of issuers at the regulator, said in an interview in the capital, Accra. The previous SEC board dissolved in January following the swearing in of President Nana Akufo-Addo. HFC Bank Ghana Ltd. will wait until September before it asks shareholders to vote on a 50-million...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
Hamisu Haruna and his men are bent over, turning the earth under a relentless sun. The work is hard in this impoverished part of northern Nigeria but the harvest will be good. "In the last two years my yield has jumped to 35 bags of rice against the 20 I was getting in previous years," Haruna, who is in his 40s with craggy features and a wooden hoe over his shoulder. "Rice farming has greatly improved. I have had better yield and better price in the market," he told AFP at his farm at Dawakin Tofa, on the outskirts of Kano. Rising rice production is one of the few positives of Nigeria's recession, which is the west African country's worst...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
A raft of emails leaked to South African media about how the Gupta family have won billions of rands of contracts from state-owned companies and influenced government decisions through their closeness to President Jacob Zuma isn’t authentic, family member Atul Gupta said. “There’s no authenticity of Gupta Leaks at all,” Gupta told the British Broadcasting Corp. in an interview. There is every-day “perception-mongering to drive their own agenda,” he said. Companies controlled by the Gupta family, who are friends with Zuma and in business with his son, were dropped by their South African bankers, brokers and auditors, and the nation’s graft ombudsman implied that the president allowed the family to influence cabinet appointments and the issuing of state contracts. Zuma...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Egypt may exceed its $10 billion target for foreign direct investment this year as the weaker pound reduces the cost of doing business in North Africa’s largest economy and a new investment law comes into force, the investment minister said. Sahar Nasr told Bloomberg she had been approached by investors from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China and the United Arab Emirates -- including Emaar Properties PJSC Chairman Mohamed Alabbar and Al Ghurair Group -- about potential investments. The pipeline for the fiscal year that began July 1 includes oil and gas, real estate, tourism and logistics investments
(Reuters (Eng) 08/02/17)
Zimbabwe has filed a court application to enforce a previous notice to seize more than half of platinum producer Zimplats' mining land, the company said on Wednesday. Zimplats, which is majority controlled by Impala Platinum in January said President Robert Mugabe's government had made a new attempt to compulsorily acquire 27,948 hectares of its mining ground, which the company opposed. The platinum miner said that following its official objection to the government's action, Harare authorities went ahead to file a court application on June 26 seeking confirmation of the previous acquisition order. "The operating subsidiary responded to the court application and the parties are currently engaged in discussions to find an amicable resolution of the matter," Zimplats said in a...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
Egypt's rising interest rates and soaring inflation have hit second-quarter profits at some of the country's food and drinks companies, providing evidence that consumers' purchasing power is being squeezed. Second-quarter net profits at Edita Food Industries , one of Egypt's largest snack food producers, fell 88 percent to 5.73 million Egyptian pounds ($319,888.27) from 47.42 million in the same period last year, even though sales rose 11.2 percent. Juhayna Food Industries, Egypt's biggest listed producer of packaged juice and dairy products, has reported an 8.6 percent drop in second quarter net profits despite an 18.27 percent rise in sales. Analysts said Edita's and Juhayna's results, published last week, showed that sales growth resulted from product price increases rather than actual...
(APA 08/01/17)
Mozambique's economy is likely to grow by 4.6 percent this year on the back of the expected recovering of coal, aluminium and gas prices and improved farm output, the World Bank said on Tuesday. In a report on the Mozambican economy, the bank said strengthening prices for coal, aluminium and gas, a post El Niño recovery in agriculture and progress in the country’s peace talks “could steer growth to 4.6 percent in 2017 and towards 7 percent by the end of the decade". The Mozambican government said the southern African nation's gross domestic product expanded by 3.3 percent in 2016. The World Bank report, that sees Mozambique becoming increasingly “a two-speed economy” as extractives and mega projects drove growth while...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
OPEC oil output has risen this month by 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a 2017 high, a Reuters survey found, led by a further recovery in supply from Libya, one of the countries exempt from a production-cutting deal. A dip in supply from Saudi Arabia and lower Angolan exports helped to boost OPEC's adherence to its supply curbs to 84 percent. While this is up from a revised 77 percent in June, compliance in both months has fallen from levels above 90 percent earlier in the year. The extra oil from Libya means supply by the 13 OPEC members originally part of the deal has risen far above their implied production target. Libya and Nigeria were exempt from the...

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(AFP (eng) 01/12/15)
The Africa Cup of Nations begins in Equatorial Guinea on Saturday, with organisers crossing their fingers for a successful tournament after a build-up dominated by Morocco's refusal to act as hosts amid fears over Ebola. The small, oil-rich central African state stepped in to save the day for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in mid-November when they agreed to host the competition, despite having barely two months to prepare. Morocco had initially asked the CAF to postpone the event to avoid any risk of a spread of the Ebola virus, which has so far killed more than 8,000 people in the worst-hit countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. However, that request was dismissed, and Morocco were thrown out...
(BBC News Africa 01/09/15)
Toure, 31, was nominated after playing a pivotal role in winning the Premier League and League Cup. He also helped Ivory Coast qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Toure beat off the challenge of Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Midfielder Toure scored 20 goals in City's title-winning campaign and also netted the equaliser in the 3-1 Capital One Cup final victory over Sunderland at Wembley last March. He has nine goals in 26 appearances for City in all competitions so far this season, including six goals in his last nine outings. Toure also made the Fifa shortlist for the 2014 Ballon D'Or prize in October. However, he has also had to contend with the...
(KBC 01/09/15)
Senegal officials hope to prevent injured Diafra Sakho playing for West Ham during the three-week-long Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Forward Sakho, 25, is out with a back injury, with a senior Senegal official accusing the Premier League side of a “lack of respect” over his withdrawal. The 2002 runners-up wanted to assess the player’s injury themselves. “We’re going to Fifa and the English FA,” Senegal Football Federation president Augustin Senghor. Speaking to the Senegal Press Agency, Senghor added: “Obviously, West Ham have shown a lack of respect in waiting until the last minute before alerting us to Sakho’s unavailability for six weeks and even his inability to travel by plane to come and join the squad.” Sakho had been...
(Daily Trust 12/22/14)
Football without superstars is like tea without sugar, like bread without butter, or beans without dodo (fried plantain). We are in the season of celebrating the super stars, the players whose light has shone brightest in the football constellation. Next January, the Confederation of African Football, CAF, will elect its winner of the prestigious African Footballer of the Year Award for 2014. The event has become very significant for the players because it shoots their status and profile sky high, onto a new pedestal of respect and prospect of additional fortune! In the final list of five players for the 2014 African award there are a few surprise inclusions.
(The Guardian 12/19/14)
A new autopsy has claimed that the Cameroonian footballer Albert Ebossé was stabbed and brutally beaten to death in the changing rooms after a match in Algeria and not an object thrown by rioting fans as had been initially claimed. A Cameroonian pathologist believes that the 24-year-old, who played for the Algerian Ligue 1 side JS Kabylie, was killed as the result of “brutal aggression” amid “signs of a struggle” in the changing room after the game in August. The official report had stated Ebossé had “succumbed to a head injury after being hit in the head at the end of the meeting with USM Alger”, which the home side lost 2-1. The incident led to JS Kabylie club being...
(BBC News Africa 12/16/14)
Two Kenyan runners, Viola Chelangat Kimetto and Joyce Jemutai Kiplimo, have failed drug tests and been banned for two years, Athletics Kenya has said. Both women tested positive for norandrosterone, a metabolite of nandrolone. Kimetto failed her test at the Macau marathon in December 2013; Kiplimo failed a test taken after the Yangzhou half-marathon in April. Neither runner has commented on the test results. Athletics Kenya said it was also investigating five other athletes. It said they had been told to report to its office by Thursday over "particular issues revolving around doping cases" raised by the organisation's anti-doping unit. Kimetto and Kiplimo are the latest in about 40 Kenyan athletes to fail doping tests in the past two years...
(BBC News Africa 11/14/14)
It will be almost impossible to stage the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations on time, says the man who organised the 2008 tournament in Ghana. Morocco was due to stage the 2015 Cup but was removed as host after expressing fears over the Ebola virus. The Confederation of African Football (Caf) insists the tournament will go ahead on time, starting on 17 January. But Dr Kofi Amoah told the BBC: "It could be a sham. I don't think there is enough time for anyone to do it." Caf said earlier this week that several countries had applied to stage the relocated event, and that a decision would be made in a matter of days . Who will step in as...
(BBC News Africa 11/12/14)
The new hosts for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations will be named in "two or three days", says the Confederation of African Football (Caf). Caf president Issa Hayatou revealed the timeframe in a live interview with TV channel France 24 on Tuesday. Hayatou added that the tournament dates remained 17 January to 8 February. It was announced earlier on Tuesday that original choice Morocco would not host because of its fears over the Ebola outbreak on the continent. Morocco had asked to postpone the competition until 2016 but Caf refused and expelled them from the finals.
(BBC News Africa 11/10/14)
The five-man shortlist for the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2014 has been revealed. Title holder Yaya Toure has been nominated for the sixth consecutive year, along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Yacine Brahimi, Vincent Enyeama and Gervinho. The winner will be decided by fans of African football, who have until 18:00 GMT on Monday, 24 November to vote for their choice. Or to vote for BBC African Footballer of the Year 2014 by SMS, text the number of the player you wish to vote for to +447786202008. Standard international text rates apply. Please check with your service provider. SMS votes are limited to one vote per mobile phone number. Terms and conditions apply. The winner will be announced on Monday,...

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(Voice of America 06/08/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has been hurt by a new wave of corruption allegations targeting President Jacob Zuma, with the top party brass saying Wednesday that the end may be nearing for the increasingly unpopular leader. “We’ve got a brand to protect as a current leadership as the next leadership will have the same responsibility," party spokesman Zizi Kodwa told journalists. "The more the allegation of corruption is repeated, about any member of the ANC, it damages the ANC ... We’re dealing with difficulties, it’s not like people who gave them a mandate, that ‘go and do corruption.’ There’s not such a policy in the ANC. It’s people who are independent in their own area of work. They...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
Kenya’s electoral body fired its head of procurement after it failed to obtain ballot papers less than two months before the country’s presidential elections, heightening concern over the credibility of the vote. The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission dismissed Lawy Aura because of “incompetence that has made operations untenable as we fast approach the general election,” the Nairobi-based body said on its website on Tuesday. The development could result in the election date being pushed back in a “worst case scenario,” though a more likely outcome is that the tender will be awarded directly, said Ahmed Salim, an analyst with Dubai-based Teneo Strategy.
(Financial Times 06/07/17)
South Africa plunged into its second recession in eight years in the first three months of the year, even before a political crisis in the ruling African National Congress triggered rating cuts to junk status. On an annualised basis Africa's most industrialised economy contracted 0.7 per cent in the first quarter after a 0.3 per cent drop at the end of 2016, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday. The announcement confounded most economists' expectations for growth of about 1 per cent. The two consecutive quarters of decline mean that South Africa had already begun its first recession since 2009 when President Jacob Zuma sacked Pravin Gordhan, his finance minister, shaking fragile investor confidence and threatening to splinter the ANC. The...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
Zambia’s copper output will climb by about 4 percent to a record this year as operators near a resolution with government over power prices, according to the Chamber of Mines in Africa’s second-biggest producer of the metal. Production will increase to about 800,000 metric tons, said Nathan Chishimba, president of the lobby group. That would be higher than the 770,600 tons mined last year, and exceed a previous record of about 790,000 tons in 2013. The forecast is less optimistic than a projection by Christopher Yaluma, the mining minister, who sees output jumping to 850,000 tons. Negotiations over a proposed power-tariff increase for the industry that accounts for more than half of Zambia’s electricity consumption are “progressing well,” Chishimba said...
(Bloomberg 06/06/17)
South Africa’s economy fell into a recession for the first time since 2009 after it contracted for a second straight quarter in the first three months of the year. Gross domestic product shrank an annualized 0.7 percent in the first quarter from a contraction of 0.3 percent in the previous three months, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. The median of 19 economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for 1 percent expansion. One economist forecast the contraction. While rains are helping Africa’s most-industrialized economy recover from a 2015 drought that was the worst since
(Bloomberg 06/06/17)
Lesotho’s main opposition party took a commanding lead as the constituency vote count from June 3 elections in the tiny southern African mountain kingdom passed the two-thirds mark. With results tallied from 57 of the 80 constituencies, Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention, or ABC, had won 45 parliamentary seats, the ruling Democratic Congress, or DC, led by Pakalitha Mosisili, had secured eight and four smaller parties one each, the nation’s Independent Electoral Commission announced in the capital, Maseru. Results from the southern part of the country, a ruling-party stronghold, haven’t been announced. Under Lesotho’s electoral rules
(Bloomberg 06/02/17)
A coalition formed by Zimbabwe’s main opposition parties to contest next year’s elections against President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is at risk of unraveling as its leaders scrap over who will lead it. Cracks in an accord signed on April 20 by Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru, head of the National People’s Party, emerged when Mujuru told a conference in Ghana that she was preparing a bid for the presidency. Tsvangirai supporters then threatened to exit the coalition, which includes a breakaway arm of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube. The opposition pact didn’t address the alliance’s leadership structure. Mujuru, 62, claims her experience as
(RFI 06/02/17)
Senegal's growing oil sector received a 25-million-euro boost from the World Bank on Wednesday to help it negotiate complex oil and gas contracts. But the oil boom has sparked concerns the country may not keep its commitment to the Paris climate deal. Producers say Dakar could be sitting on upwards of one billion barrels of petrol with production slated to begin in 2021. While the world waited Thursday for President Donald Trump to decide whether the US would stay committed to the Paris climate deal, the World Bank deal raised concerns that Senegal may not live up to its own commitment to the fight against climate change. Dakar is experiencing a huge oil rush and has been since Edinburgh-based Cairn...
(Financial Times 06/02/17)
South Africa’s government has avoided a second damaging credit rating cut from Fitch, but the ratings agency warned that the recent political upheaval is likely to further weaken the economy. Fitch cut South Africa’s foreign- and local-currency credit ratings to junk status in an unscheduled update in April after the ousting of finance minister Pravin Gordhan. In its regular ratings decision announced today, the agency confirmed the government’s BB+ rating with a stable outlook, suggesting further downgrades are unlikely in the short-term. Fitch said “South Africa’s ratings are weighed down by low trend GDP growth, sizeable contingent liabilities and deteriorating governance”, and said the cabinet reshuffle “is likely to undermine governance
(Voice of America 06/02/17)
The United Nations warns a new spiral of escalating violence in the Central African Republic is threatening to wipe out progress made since 2013 toward peace and reconciliation. Renewed fighting between Christian anti-Balaka militia and the ex-Seleka Muslim rebels in mid-May continues to take a heavy toll. The United Nations reports more than 100,000 people have fled their homes, more than 100 have been killed and hundreds of others wounded. The U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator for C.A.R., Najat Rochdi, says the peace dividend people were beginning to enjoy has all but disappeared. She warns worse lies ahead if the humanitarian and protection needs of the people
(Voice of America 06/02/17)
The voters of the Democratic Republic of Congo should have gone to the polls last November to choose their new head of state. Instead, presidential and parliamentary elections were not organized, and shortly afterward, on December 19, President Joseph Kabila's second and, according to the constitution, final term expired. Deal struck Under a political deal struck on New Year's Eve between Kabila's ruling coalition and the opposition, the delayed polls are supposed to take place in late 2017. In the meantime, the president has remained in office. On Sunday
(Bloomberg 06/01/17)
Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, sees two buying opportunities in Egypt this year after a commodity rout depressed prices in the region. The Washington, D.C.-based investor’s $700 million Sub-Saharan Africa Fund will spend between $30 million and $100 million on each, making the fund about 80 percent invested, managing director Eric Kump said in an interview. He declined to name industries or be more specific. “We are being more active in North Africa, specifically Egypt,” Kump said by phone from London. “They’ve gone through a painful dislocation and done the right things on the macro level, and it’s a very populous country with a lot of well-managed businesses.” Private equity investors are seeking opportunities...
(Voice of America 05/31/17)
Last year, Uganda's Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development worked with Parliament to enact and implement the Children Amendment Act, which prohibits corporal punishment in schools. Of 93 recommendations made by the Uganda Human Rights Commission, this is the only one that government departments have fully complied with in the past five years. "If there is no compliance and we keep on making the same recommendations and piling new ones and nothing is being done, that means the violations that we have assessed and recommendations we have made to address those violations are not implemented," said Katebalirwe Amooti
(Bloomberg 05/31/17)
Mauritian banks are becoming beacons of growth and stability in sub-Saharan Africa. Unscathed by the vagaries of the oil price and unhindered by the political battles that have roiled some of their continental peers, the Indian Ocean island’s lenders have been bolstered by an economy growing faster than many of the mainland countries. The central bank expects the Mauritian economy to expand as much as 4 percent this year, compared with International Monetary Fund projections for an average 2.6 percent for the continent. “Mauritius benefits from favorable business policies, which significantly enhance the appeal of the economy from a trade and investment perspective,” said Craig Metherell, an analyst at Avior Capital Markets in Cape Town. “The stability the country offers...
(Bloomberg 05/30/17)
A series of mutinies by soldiers in Ivory Coast demanding payments for supporting President Alassane Ouattara humiliated the West African nation, according to National Assembly Speaker Guillaume Soro, who once commanded the troops as a former rebel leader. “I can only note that we are despised,” Soro, 45, said in an interview Sunday at his residence in Abidjan, the commercial capital. “It’s a humiliation for us -- the state, the president, myself and the institutions.” The mutinies were led by 8,400 ex-rebels who helped bring Ouattara to power in 2011 after a decade-long political crisis. The soldiers, who’ve since been integrated into the national army, paralyzed several cities in the world’s biggest cocoa-producing country, demanding bonuses that they said were...
(Bloomberg 05/29/17)
Ghana has recorded its biggest cocoa harvest in three years, according to two people familiar with the matter, after better weather conditions boosted output in the world’s second-biggest grower. Graded and sealed deliveries from the so-called main crop, the larger of two annual harvests, reached 812,153 metric tons by May 25, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. That compares with a combined 778,043 tons for the whole of the 2015-16 season, when severe desert winds damaged crops and affected rainfall. Cocoa output in Ghana and neighboring Ivory Coast, the top producer, has benefited this year from early rains and a mild Harmattan -- winds from the Sahara that bring dry weather and...
(Bloomberg 05/29/17)
The Egyptian government approved a social spending plan to support lower and middle income families after inflation surged to the highest levels in decades following the flotation of the pound. The government plans to spend 45 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.48 billion) on income tax discounts, bonuses for public employees, and increased pension payments and cash subsidies during the fiscal year beginning July 1, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy told reporters in Cairo. The package, excluding the cash subsidy raise, requires parliament approval. The plan is part of the government’s effort to ward off any unrest over economic reform measures taken in a nation where nearly half the population lives near or below the poverty line. Inflation has surged to more than...
(AL Jazeera 05/29/17)
Access to prominent financial newspaper, Al-Boursa, denied days after 21 other sites were blocked by authorities. Egypt has blocked the website of one of its most prominent financial newspapers, the paper's owner said on Sunday, expanding a media blackout initiated last week to curb what authorities called support for "terrorism" and fake news. The censorship of Al-Boursa, a widely read financial newspaper that generally avoids politics and reflects the views of a largely pro-state business community, suggests a more expansive attempt to control private media coverage. The website of Al-Boursa's sister publication, the English-language Daily News Egypt
(Financial Times 05/26/17)
Senate passes first of five bills aimed at unlocking billions of dollars in investment. Nigeria’s senate has passed the first of a series of laws aimed at overhauling the troubled oil sector in what lawmakers say is an initial step towards unlocking billions of dollars in investment. This bill’s passage comes after 12 years of attempts by the legislature to agree a new legal framework for the industry, on which Nigeria depends for 70 per cent of its revenues and nearly all of its export earnings. “This bill is not only for Nigerians but for our investors,” Bukola Saraki, senate president, was quoted as saying on Twitter. “We are proud of what has been done.” The law passed on Tuesday...
(Bloomberg 05/26/17)
South Africa forecast a record corn harvest this year as improved rainfall boosts yields and helps farmers recover from the worst drought since records began. The country will probably reap 15.63 million metric tons of corn this year, Lusani Ndou, a senior statistician at the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee, said by phone on Friday. That would top 1981’s 14.66 million tons, according to data from the South African Grain Information Service. The committee raised its estimate by 7.5 percent from the previous 14.54 million tons in April due to increased expectations for yields in the Free State and North West provinces, Ndou said. South Africa’s corn harvest is rebounding sharply from last season’s nine-year low. Grain SA, a local producers’...

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