Monday 11 December 2017

Tunisie

(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said Tuesday that the cabinet reshuffle remains imperative as three posts are vacant. While announcing a national strategy to boost employment, Chahed said an official announcement will be released after a new list of cabinet members is completed. Tunisian interim Minister of Finance Fadhel Abdelkafi, who was also acting minister of development, investment and international cooperation, resigned on Aug. 18 as he faced a court case next month over alleged illegal financial transactions. Moreover, the post of education minister has been vacant since April 30. Political factions in the country are divided on the reshuffle, with some parties preferring to fill the vacancies while the others supporting a general reshuffle. The North African country has...
(Agence Ecofin 08/23/17)
Next September 7th, shareholders of the Banque de l’Habitat (BH) of Tunisia will hold an extraordinary general meeting during which they will discuss the capital increase of the lender, raising it by 170 million dinars ($70.4 million) to 238 million dinars ($98.55 million). The capital raising will occur via an incorporation of reserves valued at 34 million dinars ($14.07 million) and a distribution of 6.8 million additional free shares on the basis of one new share for five old. Besides, capital will be raised by issuing 6.8 million shares to be subscribed, on the basis of one new share for five old. Price per share is set at 5 dinars with a 10 dinars issuance premium. Many Tunisian banks, over...
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
China is dedicated to enhancing its cooperation with Africa in human resource development through knowledge and technology transfer, a Chinese diplomat said Tuesday. Liu Tao, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, made the remarks at the Chinese Government Training Program Fellowship Reception in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. He said China, since the year 2000, has sent over 2,000 agricultural experts and over 7,000 medical personnel to Africa, and has trained more than 80,000 Africans from more than 50 countries. China has pledged that it would, in three years, train 200,000 technicians and provide 40,000 training opportunities in China, and will offer 30,000 government scholarships, he said. Stating that 1,100 Ethiopian candidates are invited this year to attend short-term...
(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...
(Xinhuanet 08/22/17)
African officials on Monday called for urgent infrastructural development and regional integration to boost the continent's economy. At the Infrastructure Africa 2017 in Johannesburg, Zambian Minister of Finance Felix Mutati encouraged Africans to speedily address infrastructural deficit. "We have to inject some sense of urgency in ourselves. If we remain captured by business as usual, we are headed for disaster," said Mutati at the opening ceremony of the two-day event. "Competitiveness in Africa is being constrained by infrastructure deficit. We need about 93 billion U.S. dollars every year to address the infrastructure gap in the continent. We need to urgently implement projects," he said. Mutati said Africa has to narrow focus to innovative financing and design, better use of existing...
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent,” said Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenWish, who was formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “Smaller towers can run...
(Reuters 08/18/17)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's interim finance minister, Fadhel Abdelkefi, told local radio on Friday that he was resigning from the government over a conflict of interests case in which he has been fined and handed a suspended prison sentence. Abdelkefi had also been serving since last year as minister for development, investment and international cooperation in Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's government.
(AFP (eng) 08/17/17)
Muslim clerics in Tunisia on Thursday voiced opposition to President Beji Caid Essebsi's plan to introduce legislation granting equal inheritance rights to women, contrary to Islamic precepts. Essebsi has announced the formation of a commission to examine "individual liberties" and "equality in all domains", including inheritance rights. As laid down in the Koran, the Muslim holy book, daughters in the Islamic world inherit half the shares of sons. Touching another raw nerve in Tunisian political and religious debate, the secular leader called for the government to scrap a 1973 circular that prevents Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. The proposals amount to "a flagrant violent of the precepts" of Islam, prayer leaders from across the North African state said in a...
(Egyptian Streets 08/17/17)
Egypt’s Al-Azhar criticized the recent calls for equality between men and women in inheritance issues and said that it doesn’t comply with Islamic teachings. Al-Azhar made the announcement in response to the calls of the Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to establish equality between men and women in terms of inheritance. While the announcement of Al-Azhar didn’t directly address Essebsi, it was made a few days after his suggestion to form a committee to study the matter. Deputy of Al-Azhar Abbas Shuman said that equal inheritance is not “fair and just” to women and goes against the Islamic teachings. In most cases, males inherit double that of females except for a few cases in Islam. Shuman continued that in some...
(Xinhuanet 08/16/17)
Tunisia's statistic agency has said it expected the Tunisian economy to grow by over 2 percent this year, despite high unemployment and inflation rates. The North African country's economy grew 1.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2017 with contributions from the agricultural and service sectors, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) said Tuesday. Foreign trade registered a year-on-year growth rate of 15.9 percent in the first seven months this year, the agency said, adding that the unemployment rate reached 15.5 percent while inflation stood at 5.6 percent by July this year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission in Tunisia said in February that Tunisia's economic growth is expected to pick up, while significant macroeconomic challenges linger. The IMF...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all, but that’s still subject to...
(AFP 08/11/17)
Next to a palm grove, a blackish mud flows into the sea. After years of living with industrial pollution, residents of Tunisia's Gabes are fighting back. Close to the Chott Essalem beach and in front of a rare coastal oasis, the state-owned Tunisian Chemical Group (GCT) has been processing phosphate since the 1970s. The authorities say the plant pumps 14,000 tonnes of phosphogypsum into the sea every day. On top of the toxic mud, the factory also pumps phosphoric acid into the air. "In the past, our town was clean," says Moncef Ben Ayadi, a 52-year-old carpenter who lives in Nezla, close to the plant. But "since the company arrived, Gabes has become a victim city". Residents blame it for...
(Bloomberg 08/10/17)
Tunisia is set to return to Europe’s tourism map two years after a gunman murdered 38 mainly British holidaymakers in the resort town of Sousse, according to TUI AG, the region’s biggest tour operator. Demand from the U.K. in particular is such that the North African state will probably feature in TUI’s coming vacation offerings, Chief Executive Officer Fritz Joussen said Thursday. Some 33 of the Sousse dead were clients of the Hanover, Germany-based travel group. “It is something which is demanded by British customers, and therefore it is most likely to be a part of our program,”
(Agence Ecofin 08/10/17)
From October 1, 2016 to August 7, 2017, period over which extends the date season, Tunisia exported 103,000 tons of dates valued at 530.3 million dinars ($220 million). This was disclosed by a statement from the ministry of agriculture, water resources and fishery released yesterday. Proceeds of the exports over the period reviewed is 19% more than that recorded a year before, knowingly 445.8 million dinars ($185 million). In regards to the main export destinations of the dates, Morocco is at the top of the ranking with more than a quarter of exported volumes (26,700 tons) ahead of France (7,600 tons), Italy (7,100 tons), Spain (6,000 tons), Malaysia (6,000 tons) and Germany (6,000 tons). Let it be recalled that Tunisia...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the word for "ancestor" in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed. The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) in adulthood. It had a brain...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
Two militants were killed Tuesday night in an operation led by special units of the Tunisian National Guard in the central-western province of Kasserine, local media reported. The official confirmation, however, is still not available. According to local media, Abu Awf Al-Moujahad, the brother of former Algerian jihadist leader Lokmane Abou Sakhr who was killed in 2015 in the southwest of Tunisia, is among the killed. Al-Moujahad was involved in a series of attacks in Tunisia, including an attempt to assault the home of former Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jedou.
(AFP (eng) 08/09/17)
Tunisian security forces have killed two suspected jihadists during an operation in a mountainous area near the Algerian border, the national guard said on Wednesday. A third suspect was critically wounded in the operation launched on Tuesday evening on Mount Birinou in the Kasserine region, national guard spokesman Khalifa Chibani told Shems FM radio. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens of members of the security forces and 59 foreign tourists. Jihadists claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS) or Al-Qaeda's North African affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/09/17)
Tunisian armed forces killed two Islamist militants including a senior commander in a mountain raid near the western border with Algeria late on Tuesday, security sources said. "Two terrorists were killed and weapons were seized during an ambush that National Guard units set up against a terrorist group," in Kasserine region, National Guard spokesman Colonel Major Khelifa Chibani told state news agency TAP. Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM identified the commander as Mourad Chaieb, the Algerian leader of Okba Bin Nafaa, a group that has skirmished for years with security forces in Tunisia's mountainous interior. Its members are mainly aligned with al Qaeda's north African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has a presence over the border in...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
Two militants were killed Tuesday night in an operation led by special units of the Tunisian National Guard in the central-western province of Kasserine, local media reported. The official confirmation, however, is still not available. According to local media, Abu Awf Al-Moujahad, the brother of former Algerian jihadist leader Lokmane Abou Sakhr who was killed in 2015 in the southwest of Tunisia, is among the killed. Al-Moujahad was involved in a series of attacks in Tunisia, including an attempt to assault the home of former Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jedou.
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal of establishing a true partnership for the future", Lighthizer said. "By lowering barriers and tackling other constraints that impede trade and investment, we are poised to see U.S.-Africa trade flourish", he said, underscoring that "much more work needs to be...

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(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Tunisian police fired tear gas to break up rioting by hundreds of protesters who took to the streets after a fruit seller set himself on fire when police stopped him working, local residents said. In an incident similar to the self-immolation in 2011 that sparked the uprising that toppled autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the street vendor in a small town west of the capital poured gasoline over himself and set it ablaze. A crowd of young men in Tebourba, about 35 km (22 miles) from Tunis, then threw rocks at police. "Hundreds of angry youths have clashed with police who have been firing tear gas," said Anis Mabrouki, a local resident. The vendor was being treated for his injuries...
(The Associated Press 05/10/17)
Serbia’s foreign ministry says the country’s ambassador to Libya, Oliver Potezica, has died after a car crash in Tunisia. It said that Potezica, 64, was rushed to a hospital after the crash some days ago near the coastal town of Sousse, but died on Wednesday. No other details were given. In November 2015, gunmen in Libya crashed into a convoy of vehicles taking Potezica to neighboring Tunisia and then kidnapped two Serbian embassy employees. He escaped unharmed along with his wife and two sons. The two Serb hostages died in a U.S. airstrike on an Islamic State camp in February 2016 in western Libya that killed dozens. Serb officials had questioned why the Americans did not appear to know that...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/05/17)
The co-founder of a Tunisian news website said Thursday he was questioned by authorities after the publication of an article about a presidential bid to promote a controversial draft law. The article published by the Nawaat site on April 21 focussed on the bill adopted by the government in July last year that would grant an amnesty to people accused of corruption. Sami Ben Gharbia, who is also editorial managing director at Nawaat, told AFP he was questioned on Wednesday by the Central Investigation Brigade of the National Guard. He said investigators pressed him to reveal the source behind the article concerning the presidency's "strategy" to promote the draft legislation. "I told them that my task was to protect the...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
A Tunisian court Wednesday sentenced two people to death and 16 others to jail terms for acts of "terrorism" in 2014 during which a security guard was killed. Judiciary spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP that nine of those sentenced were tried in absentia. The two death sentences were handed down for the murder of the guard in Kebili, southern Tunisia. The 16 others were condemned to prison terms of between four and 36 years for "belonging to a terrorist group" and over a deadly clash with security forces near Tunis. Tunisia has observed a moratorium on carrying out executions since 1991. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
The son of a Tunisian doctor killed in a jihadist bombing in Turkey was sentenced to four years in jail Wednesday for having joined the Islamic State group. In a family drama which has gripped the Tunisian public, Fathi Bayoudh, head of paediatric services at Tunis military hospital, had travelled to Turkey to bring his son home. But the father was killed in a June 2016 gun and bomb attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport that left more than 40 dead and was blamed on IS. Anwar Bayoudh and his fiancee had in autumn 2015 joined the group in Iraq and then Syria, before regretting their decision and calling for help from the family, according to his mother. He escaped from...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/02/17)
Tunisian security forces killed a senior commander in an Islamist group who detonated his suicide belt as he was shot during a raid against militants planning attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, officials said on Sunday. Tunisia's armed forces have been cracking down on militants allied to Islamic State and al Qaeda's North Africa branch, especially since the country suffered four major attacks in the last two years, including two against foreign tourists. The clashes came on Sunday when national guard special forces raided a house where the group had been under surveillance for weeks, after communications about a possible attack were intercepted, National Guard spokesman Col. Major Khelifa Chibani said.
(AFP (eng) 05/02/17)
Mohamed Talbi, a prominent Tunisian academic and specialist on Islam, died early Monday aged 95, the country's culture ministry said. Talbi, who was born in Tunis in 1921, was one of the "founders of the modern Tunisian university" and a "great intellectual" figure, the ministry said in a statement. Having studied Arabic literature, he went on to earn a doctorate degree in history from the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris and later became the first dean to head the faculty of literature at University of Tunis. Talbi penned around 30 books and 100 articles in Arabic and French in which he challenged rigid interpretations of Islam and called for a fresh view of Islamic
(AL Jazeera 05/02/17)
Two men in an ISIL and al-Qaeda-linked group killed during a security sweep in Sidi Bouzid. A senior commander in an armed group blew himself up and another was shot dead during a raid by Tunisian security forces on Sunday. The men - suspected of having links with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda's North Africa branch (AQIM) - were planning attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, according to a spokesman for Tunisia's national guard. The raid took place in Sidi Bouzid, a town 200km southwest of the capital, Tunis. Another three people were arrested and security forces were hunting for other suspects. The group had been under surveillance for weeks after communications about a possible...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating PPH. The London School...
(AFP (eng) 04/27/17)
Dimming the lights on their patrol boat, Tunisian coastguards stand in silence scanning the sea for speedboats on clandestine missions to and from Italy. Smuggling gangs are using high-performance vessels to ferry people, drugs and cigarettes across the Strait of Sicily, a distance of just 95 miles (150 kilometres). Commander Mohamed Naceur Saadani says their use of speedboats is a "new and dangerous" phenomenon. Standing on the bridge of a patrol boat capable of 40 knots (about 70 kilometres, 45 miles per hour), he monitors a bank of glowing radar screens.
(AFP (eng) 04/25/17)
Tunisia's parliament voted on Tuesday to ease the country's harsh law on drugs, in a move that could see offenders like youths caught smoking marijuana escape jail terms. The North African country has faced mounting calls from rights groups and civil society to reform the law. Tuesday's vote comes after the National Security Council headed by President Beji Caid Essebsi announced in March measures to limit the number of drug-users sent to prison. Law 52, dating back to the rule of toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, imposes a mandatory one-year jail sentence for narcotics use, ruling out any mitigating circumstances. Judges were obliged to apply the law, with offenders facing sentences of up to five years in jail...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa. The vaccine should be used alongside other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, repellants and anti-malarial drugs, the WHO...
(AFP (eng) 04/22/17)
The first public hearing into the June 2015 attack in the Tunisian resort of Sousse that killed 38 foreign tourists has been set for next week, the court said Friday. "The trial on the attack at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel will begin on April 28," court spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP. A total of 33 people are being prosecuted in the case, including six members of the security forces who are charged with "not assisting people in danger". On June 25, 2015, gunman Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 people, including 30 British tourists and three Irish citizens, in a shooting spree at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group. The killings are also...
(AFP (eng) 04/20/17)
Thousands protested in northeastern Tunisia on Thursday to mark a general strike over unemployment and poverty, six years since a revolution ignited by similar grievances. Demonstrators gathered at the local branch of the powerful UGTT trade union in Kef, 180 kilometres (110 miles) west of Tunis, before marching down the main streets. "Work, freedom, dignity!" they shouted. "Kef has the right to development!" They denounced the government over "broken promises" to develop the region. "This demonstration and strike are important, raising a cry of anger in the face of a situation that cannot last," teacher Rached Salhi said. Government offices, private companies, shops and cafes were closed and shuttered.
(AFP (eng) 04/18/17)
Tunisia's social affairs minister said on Monday new policies were needed to keep children in school until the age of 16 as the country seeks to curb child labour. The North African nation needs to "establish adequate policies... to guarantee that children go to school until they are at least 16 years old, under Tunisian law," Mohamed Trabelsi said. "We have 100,000 children who leave school early for one reason or another, especially in the rural regions. It mainly affects girls," he said. The minister spoke at the launch of a project to fight child labour in Tunisia over the next three years, which was developed with the International Labour Organization and has received $3 million in funding from the...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that all the information people give them before they start their journey are wrong," said Nantcha. The group’s leader Sylvie Nantcha was born in Cameroon. She has lived in the German town of Freiburg for 25 years. She arrived as a...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...

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(AFP (eng) 11/28/16)
Tunisia will host 2,000 business and finance executives from 40 countries this week in hopes of drumming up investment to boost its struggling economy. Six years since the revolution that swept away dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country's fragile democratic progress has been threatened by economic stagnation that has stirred social unrest. As it tackles high unemployment, low growth and a tourism sector hammered by jihadist attacks, the government hopes to persuade attendees of the "Tunisia 2020" conference on Tuesday and Wednesday that the country is open for business.
(Agence Ecofin 11/25/16)
Tunisia aims to increase renewable share in its energy mix to 30% by 2030, from 3% currently, thus reducing its dependency on gas from which it gets most of its power at the moment. To this end, the Société Tunisienne de l’Electrcitité et du Gaz (STEG) will build many renewable power plants. The projects include a 10 MW photovoltaic power plant which will be established in Tozeur, by 2017. Meanwhile, seven potential sites are presently being studied to host 60 MW of additional solar power plants, which could expand to 300 MW, according to the project’s plans. By 2021, the company also plans to construct three wind power stations totaling a capacity 300 MW. The first is the Tagba plant...
(AFP (eng) 11/20/16)
Above the sacks of seeds and coal, three kerosene lamps gather dust in the tiny shed that Kenyan chicken farmer Bernard calls home. He prefers to use solar energy to light up his evenings, listen to the radio or watch television, after abandoning a diesel generator he said was expensive to maintain and burned fuel too quickly. "Solar panels are a good, cheap solution," he told AFP. Across the continent, consumers are opting for their own off-grid solar solutions to power homes and small businesses, even as African governments unveil massive new solar projects seemingly every month to expand their grids. According to International Energy Agency projections, almost one billion people in sub-Saharan Africa will gain access to the grid...
(The Guardian 11/19/16)
At COP22, the African Development Bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, tells of strategies to improve energy supplies and fight the impact of climate change “We lose 5% of our potential GDP every year, and African industries cannot be competitive without access to electricity,” says Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank. “I believe that’s why we can’t break away from reliance on exporting our raw materials – new industries will only go to where there’s power.” He is speaking on the sidelines of the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, which ends on Friday. Adesina and colleagues from the bank have been using the conference to highlight its new initiatives on energy, including the New Deal on Energy for Africa,...
(Forbes 11/14/16)
Africa will have 1-billion mobile subscriptions by the fourth quarter of 2016, while data use will drive the next phase of growth in Africa’s telecoms market, according to researchers Ovum. Mobile subs will reach 1.02-billion by the end of 2016 and will reach 1.33-billion by 2021, says Matthew Reed, Ovum’s practice leader, for the Middle East and Africa. “The take-up of mobile broadband will rise strongly, as operators continue to roll out 3G and 4G LTE networks and as smartphones become increasingly affordable,” says Reed. “There will be 1-billion mobile broadband connections in Africa in 2021, including 157.4-million 4G LTE connections. “Additionally, the number of smartphone connections on the continent will reach 929.9-million at the end of 2021. And non-SMS...
(The Telegraph 11/07/16)
Just a few months after being elected Conservative Party leader, David Cameron flew to Rwanda. It was a high-profile trip so he could see first-hand the development of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and launch his party’s review on globalisation and global poverty. On his first day, he visited a textile factory in Kigali, the country’s capital. Above the hum of the silk reels, he chatted to some of the workers and admired the quality of the patterned fabrics. Before he left, the factory owner, Raj Rejendran, asked for a word. Growing the business, he explained, required expanding into overseas markets. He knew there was demand in the UK for his silk fabrics, but he faced heavy import duties. Might...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/16)
Income from Tunisia's tourism sector, hard-hit by jihadist attacks, fell eight percent in the first nine months of 2016 compared with the same period last year, according to official figures. From January 1 to September 31, tourism firms took 1.8 billion dinars ($811 million, 730 million euros), against 1.97 billion the previous year, a fall of 8.4 percent, according to data published on the tourism ministry's website. That is a drop of 34 percent on the first nine months of 2014, before two jihadist attacks that spelled disaster for the sector. In March 2015, jihadist gunmen killed 21 tourists and a policeman at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis. The following month, 30 Britons were among 38 foreign holidaymakers killed...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/16)
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday called for more investment to revive the economy of Tunisia, home country of the Arab Spring, calling it a "strategic priority". "Today, I want to convey a very strong and very clear message to all Europeans -- Tunisia is truly a privileged and special partner," she said on a visit to Tunis. "Investing in Tunisia, in its present and its future and especially in its young people, is a strategic priority" for the European Union, she said after meeting Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui. Mogherini recalled that EU financial support for the North African country would be 300 million euros in 2017. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's government hopes that an investor conference scheduled...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/16)
Although Tunisia's tourism industry seems to be going through an unending chill, Mohamed Ben Sheikh is convinced there are good days ahead thanks to the nation's vineyards. Standing on a hillside on his land, he says, "Our country is rich in local produce." Among these assets, the ancient culture of winemaking is undergoing something of a revival in this overwhelmingly Muslim-majority country which has a reputation of being one of the most liberal in the Arab world. For decades, Tunisia has relied heavily on tourism but almost exclusively targeting beachgoers and sun worshippers. But the instability that followed its 2011 Arab Spring uprising has sparked a major crisis, forcing the north African country to rethink its strategy. And one of...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/16)
For years, trains ferried millions of dollars in phosphate past Nouredine Ezzidine's Tunisian town, where young men like him idle their days in cafes over cigarettes and coffee, desperate for work. After seven years with no job, the mechanics graduate had had enough. He joined protesters who saw one option to make demands on the government: No jobs for us, no phosphate for you. With a tree trunk and a make-shift tent, Ezzidine's group blocked the small-gauge railway from Redayef mine. Ten months later, the blockade is still in place and mountains of washed, sandy, phosphate rock -- used in fertilizers and industry -- are now piled up waiting for export. Tunisia was the sole political success story of the...
(Cnbc Africa 10/28/16)
The World Bank recently released the Doing Business 2016/17 report. The survey tracks a set of regulatory indicators related to business start-up, operation, trade, payment of taxes and closure, by measuring the time and cost associated with various government requirements. However, the index does not track variables such as macroeconomic policy, currency volatility (an extremely important factor in many emerging market countries) or crime rates, which are also important in investment decisions. According to the most recent rankings, New Zealand has the most accommodative business environment globally, having overtaken Singapore since the previous report. From an African perspective, Mauritius has maintained its title as the most accommodative business environment on the continent followed by Rwanda, Morocco, Botswana and South Africa...
(This Day Live 10/24/16)
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has provided $26.1 billion for African companies in the last 10 years, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema has said. Onyema disclosed this while speaking at the third “London & Lagos Capital Markets in Partnership’ conference held at the LSE at the weekend. According to him, eight Nigerian companies were among those that benefitted from the international capital raising on the LSE, noting that more African companies (112) are listed in London than any other international exchange. The 112 companies, he said, have a combined market capitalisation in excess of $200 billion, the largest concentration of African quoted companies outside of Johannesburg. Out of these companies, eight companies...
(Bloomberg 10/19/16)
Fifteen years ago, a South African media company invested $34 million in an obscure Chinese Internet developer. Today that stake is worth $88 billion. All Naspers Ltd., now Africa’s most valuable company, has to do is figure out how to make money from its other properties: The whole company is worth only $72 billion, less than its stake in Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. Investors aren’t impressed with Naspers’s operations in pay-TV, newspapers and e-commerce in such countries as South Africa, Russia and India. To win them over, Chief Executive Officer Bob Van Dijk has launched an aggressive push to sell some assets, invest in others and expand operations such as classified advertising into new markets. If it pays off, comparisons...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/16)
Tunisia said Tuesday it exported a record 110,000 tonnes of dates in 2015-16, a 10 percent increase on the previous year and a rare boost for the struggling economy. Between October 2015 and September 2016, Tunisia exported 473.7 million dinars (191 million euros, $210 million) worth of dates, agriculture ministry spokesman Anis Ben Rayana told AFP. "These are record, unprecedented figures," he added. Total date production during the period was 242,000 tonnes, down slightly from 2014-2015, and most dates exported went to Morocco, France, Spain and Italy, the ministry said. Tunisia's economy has been impacted by social unrest since the 2011 Arab Spring and by a string of jihadist-claimed attacks, including on its vital tourism sector. Last year, strong exports...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/18/16)
Dubai - Emirates airline could reduce the frequency of its flights to African cities or cut routes completely if current economic and financial challenges on the continent continue, President Tim Clark told reporters. Foreign airlines flying to Nigeria have started to refuel abroad because jet fuel supplies there have become more expensive and scarce as the country battles a hard currency shortage. Emirates has started a detour to Accra, Ghana to refuel its daily Abuja-bound flight, a spokesperson said last month; the airline had already cut its twice-daily flights to Lagos and Abuja to just one. “In certain African countries, the currencies have really gone down, so we're reflecting on a number of these to look at where it's just...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/16)
Africa will come together to battle piracy and illegal fishing for the first time at an African Union maritime security summit that kicks off in Togo on October 15. The continent urgently needs to fight "extremely high stakes" piracy and illegal fishing in its waters by joining forces over policy and working to raise necessary funds, Togo's Foreign Minister Robert Dussey told AFP ahead of the meeting. - Why is this meeting being held? - "These are very high stakes for Africa. At least 92 percent of imported goods arrive on the continent across the seas and oceans. Of the 54 countries in the African Union, 33 have a coastline," said Dussey. "During the summit, several issues will be tackled...
(AFP (eng) 10/08/16)
World economic leaders gathered in Washington this week to defend globalization, delivering a single message in unison: Protectionism will not save you. But this glosses over the plight of Africa, which is sinking further into poverty despite years of free trade. According to the International Monetary Fund, which held its annual meetings this week with the World Bank, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is in free-fall this year, with a growth rate of 1.4 percent, down from 3.4 percent in 2015, its lowest in a quarter century. The regional economy will therefore grow more slowly than the population, at the risk of deepening poverty in a region already home to more than half of the 766 million people on earth who...
(AFP (eng) 10/07/16)
Investment into Africa may buck the global downward trend and stage a rebound this year despite low prices hitting the oil and gas sector, a UN agency said Thursday. While foreign direct investment, a key driver of trade and economic growth, is set to drop by 10 to 15 percent this year globally, in Africa it may increase by 6 percent to $55 to 60 billion, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Developments (UNCTAD) said in a report. "This bounce-back is already becoming visible in announced greenfield projects in Africa. In the first quarter of 2016, their value was $29 billion, 25 percent higher than the same period in 2015," said the agency. While north African countries such as...
(AFP (eng) 10/06/16)
A celebratory band played Thursday as a cruise liner docked in the port of Tunis for the first time since a March 2015 jihadist attack killed 21 tourists in the capital. The German-operated MS Europa motored into La Goulette with 350 passengers on board for a one-day stopover. The tourists, cameras at the ready, were greeted by a band of soldiers playing trumpets and drums, as well as camels and North African dancing, while the local tourist shops garlanded them with jasmine necklaces as they disembarked. Tunisian authorities, who have ordered high security for the visit, are hoping to lure back the big cruise operators who have abandoned the country for the past year and a half since the gun...
(Xinhuanet 10/06/16)
Zhou Ping had not seen his father for five years when in primary school. Despite the biting solitude, Zhou always displayed his pride for his father -- he was from a glorious "foreign aid family," and his father was building the Tazara Railway in Africa. Standing on the windy East African plateau, Zhou picked up this childhood sentiment. More than 40 years have passed, and 53-year-old Zhou is now a construction worker for another historic railway connecting the African countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti. The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, which officially opened service on Wednesday, is another Chinese-built trans-national rail in Africa following Tazara, which links Tanzania's Dar es Salaam with Zambia's Kapiri Mposhi. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang hailed it as...

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(Voice of America 05/13/16)
The United States gave jeeps, small aircraft and communications equipment to Tunisia on Thursday to help protect its southeastern border from Islamic extremists crossing over from Libya. U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Amanda Dory told officials in Tunis that she is "very pleased that the United States is able to provide Tunisia with surveillance aircraft that will improve Tunisia's ability to locate terrorists who attempt to infiltrate your borders." Dory said the planes are designed to give Tunisian ground forces advance warning of any dangerous activity near the border. Tunisia was the first North African country to overthrow a dictator in the so-called Arab Spring of 2011. But extremism and terrorism still shake its fragile democracy, despite backing from the West...
(Bloomberg 05/13/16)
Cape Town - The year after President Barack Obama extended African nations’ preferential access to US markets by a decade, his administration is re-evaluating its trade relations with the world’s poorest continent. “It’s time to start looking at what comes next,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in an interview in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, where the World Economic Forum is holding its annual Africa summit. “Part of what motivates us is that we are hearing from Africans that they want to move towards a more permanent, reciprocal kind of relationship.” Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, which was first adopted in 2000, the US eliminated import levies on more than 7 000 products from Africa, ranging from...
(Voice of America 05/12/16)
Police raids on suspected terrorist hideouts in Tunisia left four officers and at least two suspects dead Wednesday. Police stormed a terror cell north of Tunis where a number of militants from across the country had gathered to plan what the police called "synchronized attacks." Two militants were killed and 16 were arrested. Security forces gave little detail on the raid or the terror plot but said they had captured a number of rifles, grenades and other weapons. Forces carried out a separate raid in Tataouine in southern Tunisia. Four policemen were killed when one of the militants set off an explosives belt. Tunisia was the first North African country to overthrow a dictator in the so-called Arab Spring of...
(Voice of America 05/11/16)
U.S. lawmakers examining the threat that terrorism poses in Africa expressed concern Tuesday that the United States may be overlooking human rights and governance abuses by leaders in the region who provide assistance on counterterrorism issues. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a panel of the senators at a hearing convened by the Foreign Relations Committee that countries in the region have critical vulnerabilities and capacities’ gap that must be addressed. Thomas-Greenfield said that terror groups are recruiting foot soldiers simply by offering money. To counter that, she said that governments must "use every available resource to offer educational and vocational opportunities" to counteract the groups. Counterterrorism and human rights The United States is focused on...
(Cnbc Africa 05/10/16)
The fast-growing economies of Africa face headwinds from the pull-back of international banks from the continent, Barclays' erstwhile-chief executive told CNBC, as the bank moves to sell down its business in Africa. Countries like Nigeria, the continent's biggest economy, received a flurry of international trade finance in the build-up to the global financial crisis of 2007-08. Since then, inflows have slowed, increasing the economic challenge for the continent where many people still struggle to access energy supplies or basic education. "There are headwinds from commodities and international banks pulling out," Bob Diamond told CNBC Africa on Saturday at the London Business School's Africa Business Summit. However, Diamond was optimistic about the medium to long-term prospects for Africa If you look...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/09/16)
Member states of the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are not meeting until September, but some African countries have already drawn their battle lines on divisive issues such as the ivory trade. Proposals for the meeting in Johannesburg were made public this week, pitting bids by Namibia and Zimbabwe to open up the trade in elephant ivory, against initiatives led by Kenya for a complete global ban on the coveted commodity. Those seeking to open up the trade of wild animal products argue it will raise badly-needed funds for conservation, but others say it would provide cover to poachers and make products that can endanger species socially acceptable to consumers. "In all of these issues we...
(Voice of America 05/06/16)
Angola is battling a yellow fever outbreak amid a global shortage of the vaccine. Cases have also been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda and China. Health experts worry about further spread. There is no treatment. Mass immunization is the only way to stop yellow fever, but producing more of the vaccine is not easy. Making of a vaccine The Institut Pasteur de Dakar is one of four places in the world that make the yellow fever vaccine. Recording is prohibited inside the institute, but there is nothing to hear. The halls are quiet. Two walls of windows separate us from the sterile labs where technicians work in head-to-toe protective gear. Each week, a carton of special,...
(Bloomberg 05/04/16)
The prices private equity firms pay for stakes in African companies are the highest in six years, driven by record fundraising and competition for the continent’s expanding middle class. The median price for buyouts in 2015 increased to more than seven times the ratio of a company’s value to its earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortization, compared with 5.4 times in 2012, Cape Town-based RisCura Solutions (Pty) Ltd. said in a report on the industry released Wednesday. “Industries serving consumer staples and discretionary spending fetch the highest prices because of favorable demographics in the growing middle class,” Rory Ord, head valuations at RisCura, said by phone. “High growth expectations, fierce competition and decreased risk perception contribute to higher sale...
(Voice of America 04/30/16)
More than 200 people, including three African presidents, attended the opening of a three-day summit Friday near Mount Kenya, where activists and officials have gathered to discuss the future of Africa’s elephants and their habitats. Poaching has escalated to alarming heights in recent years, as 100,000 African elephants were killed between 2010 and 2012 alone. Tens of thousands continue to be poached every year across the continent. The goal of the event is to find ways to stop the slaughter of Africa’s elephants, protecting at least 50 percent of these animals and their landscapes by 2020. And to do so, conservationists say that government leaders must flex their political muscle in support of the cause. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta gave...
(BBC News Africa 04/28/16)
The call for better management of sport is heard across Africa - often as a lament, more regularly as an outburst of barely contained frustration. In football, former Ajax and Juventus defender Sunday Oliseh recently quit as Nigeria's national football coach, citing contractual violations and lack of support from his local federation. Months earlier, Zimbabwe were disqualified from the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament after its football association failed to pay a former national coach. In athletics, Kenya only recently averted the threat of disqualification from the 2016 Olympic Games because of its previously long-standing failure to implement robust drugs-testing procedures - nearly 40 athletes have failed tests in the last four years. And yet Kenya would surely be far...
(Voice of America 04/25/16)
Foreign policy almost always takes a back seat to domestic concerns during the U.S. presidential campaign season. Candidates rarely win over any voters in diners in New Hampshire or town hall events in Iowa touting their plans for economic investment and security frameworks in Africa. In 1999, then-candidate George W. Bush went so far as to declare Africa “irrelevant” to U.S. foreign policy during his first presidential run.
(Voice of America 04/21/16)
A Tunisian woman who pushed past a culture of low expectations in her hometown and a Gaza man who uses social media to help Palestinians tell their stories to the world are among this year's recipients of the Emerging Young Leaders Awards. The awards, presented April 20 by the U.S. State Department, recognize young people from around the globe for their initiatives to improve conditions in their communities. Among the 10 recipients is Ahlem Nasraoui, a Tunisian woman who has started a program to confront terrorism and extremism, and who has launched several initiatives designed to train women. She made these strides against great odds. "In my hometown, where I come from, nobody is expecting that you are a leader...
(The Wall Street Journal 04/12/16)
Fortune seekers across Africa are clambering down gold shafts closed by some of the world’s biggest miners, fueling dystopian conflicts between companies waiting out a commodity rout and poor villagers with little to lose. The result is a chaotic and often deadly tableau playing out deep underground across the mineral-rich continent. Dozens of miners have been killed in subterranean gunfights over turf ceded by mining companies, many of whom fear the collateral damage to shaft walls and winches could make it impossible to open them again. In Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s No. 3 gold producer, closed shafts at its Obuasi mine in late 2014, as the mine hemorrhaged cash amid sinking metals prices. Early this year, hundreds of...
(BBC News Africa 04/11/16)
Mfon Udoh scored a hat-trick as Nigeria's Enyimba beat visitors Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia 3-0 in the first leg of their last 16 African Champions League tie on Sunday. Earlier on Sunday DR Congo's AS Vita Club beat visiting Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa 1-0. The overall winners of the tie will progress to the group stages. While the losers will get a second chance in the Confederation Cup. Udoh scored his first goal after nine minutes and then added a second for Enyimba after the break and completed his hat-trick with a powerful shot just before the end of the match. It means Udoh is now the top scorer in the tournament with 7 goals so far. Etoile...
(BBC News Africa 04/09/16)
A mobile insurance scheme to help small-scale farmers in Kenya ensure their agricultural produce against drought and other natural disasters is spreading to other parts of Africa, as Neil Ford explains. A greater proportion of sub-Saharan Africans work in agriculture than anywhere else on the planet but only 6% of the population of Africa and the Middle East have any form of agricultural insurance. "The insurance man" was a feature of many Western countries in past decades. Local agents collected tiny sums on a weekly basis to provide cover against long-term illness, funeral costs and unemployment. Kenya has now adopted this model for the 21st Century via mobile handsets. Farmers with as little as one acre of land can insure...
(Voice of America 04/01/16)
A peaceful transition to democracy in Tunisia proved to be a rare success story of the Arab Spring, yet as one official says, "many challenges" remain for the country. Tunisia was fortunate to have pragmatic politicians who favored compromise over confrontation. The Islamist political party Ennahda, which won the first elections after the 2011 revolution, voluntarily handed over power to a technocrat government. A strong civil society in Tunisia also helped with the move away from autocracy. However, Faycal Gouia, Tunisia's ambassador to the United States, says his country still faces serious problems going forward.
(Forbes 04/01/16)
Africa seems to be the only continent today that is regularly referred to as a country. It bristles me every time I hear it said. It’s reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s chatter with the press aboard Air Force One in late 1982 on his way back to the US from a Presidential visit to Latin America: “I learned a lot down there…You’d be surprised, because, you know, they’re all individual countries.” As a relatively freshly minted PhD in international business economics at the time, I thought a statement like that coming from the President of the United States was more than odd. Just as such an utterance was, of course, grossly naïve, if not insulting, to Latin Americans, so too is...
(Bloomberg 03/22/16)
The corn that is a food staple for much of southern Africa is now so expensive it has become a luxury many can’t afford, after the worst drought in three decades damaged crops from Ethiopia to South Africa. In Malawi, one of a dozen nations affected by the dry spell, Meleniya Mateyu says she has to forage for wild water-lily roots called nyika from streams and swamps to feed her two orphaned grandchildren. The small amount of grain she gets from an aid agency is barely enough for them to eat during one meal a day. “We are surviving on nyika,” Mateyu said in an interview at her village in the southern district of Chikwawa, about 50 kilometers (31 miles)...
(CNN 03/21/16)
What makes a country happy? Is it wealth, freedom or a trustworthy government? According to the latest World Happiness Report, compiled by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations, all these factors are key, and measuring happiness is fast becoming a good measure of social progress. Six key factors were measured to establish a global ranking of the happiest countries; GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption. Only five African countries rank among the top 100, and eight of the last ten overall are in Sub-Saharan Africa, having ranked very low on some of the key factors that lead to happiness. Here are the first ten African...
(The New Times 03/15/16)
In pursuit of socio-economic transformation, African countries have often tried to either follow into the Western or Asian development footprints, often too, oblivious to the fact that their systems may not be compatible back home. During the first day of the inaugural African Transformation Forum (ATF) in Kigali, yesterday, several economists said Africa does not need to follow anyone’s development model but rather chart its own path to unlock rapid and sustained growth. The two-day meeting is co-hosted by African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), one of Africa’s leading think-tanks, and the Government of Rwanda.

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