Thursday 14 December 2017

Tunisie

(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...
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)
The C-Star, a ship chartered by far-right anti-immigration activists to combat migrant flows to Europe, was Monday stuck at sea off Tunisia, where a powerful union is mobilising to prevent it coming ashore. "To all staff and (security) agents we say: do not let this racist ship soil Tunisia's ports. Keep them out as our brothers in (the ports of) Zarzis and Sfax have already done," the UGTT union said in Facebook post. The UGTT, the Tunisian General Labour Union, is best known as a joint winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Any plans the C-Star had to dock at Zarzis in southeastern Tunisia on Sunday were scuppered when local fishermen warned they would block access to a refuelling...
(The Associated Press 08/08/17)
A port director in Tunisia says authorities have instructed commercial ports in the North African nation to deny access to a ship rented by European identity groups and sailing the Mediterranean Sea with an anti-migrant message. Fishermen and human rights activists in the Tunisian city of Zarzis unfurled a banner reading "No Racism" as the C Star, the flagship of operation Defend Europe, sailed in international waters off Tunisia's coast over the weekend. Zarzis port director Karim Nouira told The Associated Press the ship never asked to dock at Zarzis and sailed north toward Sfax. But Nouira says Tunisia's Transport Ministry told ports to forbid C-Star's entry. Defend Europe says it is monitoring aid groups that rescue migrants who have...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be at his best in the 800m, where a clutch of athletes are suddenly dreaming of glory in the absence of Kenya's injured champion David Rudisha. Kenya is expected to continue its dominance of the men's 3,000m steeplechase - though American...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. "I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons." Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands in 2015. The British broadcaster said the bribery was revealed by a former employee, Paul Hopkins. At the time, BAT said “we do not tolerate corruption in our business, no matter where it takes place.” The SFO investigation adds to...
(Xinhuanet 07/31/17)
Tunisia and Saudi Arabia signed eight cooperation agreements in economic and commercial fields on the sidelines of the 9th Tunisian-Saudi Joint Commission held here on Friday. The eight bilateral agreements included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in export valued at 200 million U.S. dollars. The two parties also signed a MoU on a joint work plan between the High Authority for Investment in the Saudi Arabia and the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA) of Tunisia. Besides, the two governments signed a cooperation agreement on a grant from Saudi Arabia to build a university hospital named as "King Salman Ben Abdelaziz Hospital" with a cost of 85 millions dollars, which will be built in Kairouan, a province located in the center...
(AFP (eng) 07/28/17)
Human Rights Watch on Thursday hailed a new law to fight domestic violence in Tunisia as a "landmark step" towards protecting women's rights but called for funding to fully implement it. The law, passed Wednesday and expected to enter into force next year, provides for help to victims of domestic violence and removes a controversial article that allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victim. The law also criminalises sexual harassment in public places and the employment of children as domestic workers, as well as fines employers paying women less than their male counterparts, HRW said in a statement. "Tunisia's new law provides women
(The Guardian 07/28/17)
Tour companies can send holidaymakers to north African country, government guidance says, with a warning to be vigilant. The Foreign Office has changed its Tunisia travel advice for British tourists, meaning tour companies can start sending holidaymakers to the north African country again. Tourists were warned in 2015 not to travel to Tunisia after 38 people, including 30 Britons, were killed by a gunman at Sousse, and tour companies and cruise operators suspended visits for more than two years. The country, which used to be a popular tourism destination, remains in a state of emergency after a suicide attack on a police bus in November 2015. The Foreign Office continues to warn that “terrorists are still very likely to try...
(Xinhuanet 07/28/17)
The number of forest fires decreased by 50% during the summer season in Tunisia, compared with the same period of last year, the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture said on Thursday. On average, some 107 fires are triggered annually in several Tunisian provinces, particularly in the northern, western and northwestern parts of the country known as dominant forest areas. "The current year has been very difficult, given a severe winter, a dry spring and a remarkably hot summer," said Mohamed Abid, the General Directorate of Forests under the ministry. In Tunisia, the most common cause of the fire is due to farmers and heads of agricultural projects who neglect security measures. The forest area covers only 8% of Tunisia's land area...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15 percent, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent as it shifts its focus back to Britain and the United States. The losses from the sale of unwanted assets including the Africa business showed the costs...
(AFP (eng) 07/27/17)
Tunisia's parliament on Wednesday passed a bill designed to "end all violence against women", strengthening protection and help for victims in a move welcomed by rights groups. "It's a very moving moment and we are proud in Tunisia to have been able to gather around a historical project," said women's minister Naziha Laabidi. The new law, which is expected to enter into force next year, recognises "physical, moral and sexual" violence, lawmaker Bochra Belhaj Hmida told AFP after the vote. It will provide for judicial and psychological assistance for victims of domestic violence and removes a controversial article that allows men to escape punishment for rape if they marry their victim. Tunisia is seen as a pioneer of women's rights...
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with Jean David Mihamle.
(BBC News Africa 07/26/17)
The government has revised its travel advice for Tunisia where 31 Britons were killed in a terror attack at a resort in Sousse in 2015. For two years, travellers were told to stay away from the country for all but essential travel. The Foreign Office has now lifted the advice for the capital Tunis and major tourist resorts. Britons are still being warned to avoid parts of the south and interior, and the Algerian and Libyan borders. On 26 June 2015 student Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire on holidaymakers in the resort of Port El Kantaoui, killing 38 people in total. During the inquest into the death of the 31 Britons a UK judge said that the Tunisian police's response was...
(AFP (eng) 07/26/17)
Britain on Wednesday lifted its warning against "all but essential travel" to Tunisia, two years after a shooting spree by a jihadist attacker at a beach hotel in which 30 British tourists were killed. "This update reflects our latest assessment that the risk to British nationals in Tunisia has changed," Alistair Burt, junior foreign minister for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement. "This is in part due to the security improvements that the Tunisian authorities and tourist industry have made since the tragic terrorist attacks in 2015, with support from the UK and international partners." While Britain revised its travel advice for virtually all of Tunisia's Mediterranean coastline, it continues to warn against all or all...
(Xinhuanet 07/26/17)
Tunisia's trade deficit in the industrial sector widened in the first half of 2017, reaching more than 4,600 million dinars (1,886 million USD), the Agency for Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII) said on Tuesday. It increased by 26.24% compared to the same period of 2016, the agency said. The APII said that Tunisian industrial exports have grown by 10.7% in the first six months, reaching over 14,502 million dinars(5,946 million USD). Meanwhile, the imports also increased by 14.1% to about 19,103 million dinars(7,832 million USD), which deepened the trade deficit in industrial sector. Enditem
(Xinhuanet 07/25/17)
Enhanced international cooperation is needed to adopt a collective approach to fight illegal immigration, Tunisian Interior Minister Hedi Majdoub said Monday. "No country in the world can confront by itself the phenomenon of the illegal immigration and its adverse impacts," Majdoub said in a speech at the second meeting of Mediterranean Countries Contact Group over immigration. European countries are obliged to participate actively in the fight against illegal immigration by creating action plans and projects for socio-economic integration of immigrants, he added. Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed noted that illegal immigration is closely linked to the expansion of terrorism, religious extremism and organized crime. He added that Tunisia is developing a national strategy to encourage legal immigration by Tunisians. Chahed...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/21/17)
Tunisia's prime minister vowed on Thursday to push ahead with a war against corruption to restore trust in the state, adding this would exclude no-one whatever their political affiliation. Youssef Chahed's speech to lawmakers is part of a campaign that has gained him some plaudits among Tunisians even as he tries to push through unpopular austerity measures. Corruption was one of main catalysts of the 2011 revolt against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and many Tunisians complain graft is as widespread six years after their North African country emerged into democracy and free elections. During the two last months, Tunisia's government has confiscated the property and frozen bank accounts

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(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but stay within their own country. African Union Commission head of humanitarian affairs, refugees and displaced people Olabisi Dare says the situation of IDPs in Africa is very critical, dire and worsening. "...The issues that are generating internal displacement [are] multiplying...
(The East African 04/03/17)
Nairobi — The 2017 Mo Ibrahim Foundation annual Governance Weekend will be held in Marrakech - Morocco from April 7-9. A press release from the Foundation identifies the Palmeraie Resort as the venue for this year's meeting. The three-day event brings together prominent African and Africa-focused leaders, civil society representatives, multilateral and regional institutions and Africa's international partners to identify policy challenges and possible solutions. Violent extremism The conversation is normally extended to a wider audience through music, art and sport at major public events, showcasing some of Africa's brightest talent. The Foundation has released a report that sets the stage for high-level discussions in Morocco. The priority areas for the Marrakech talks, according to the report, include violent extremism...
(Xinhuanet 03/30/17)
The African Union (AU) is extremely appalled by the attacks against African students in Noida and other cities in India. The pan-African bloc has deplored the violence unleashed during the riot that started on Monday targeting Africans of various nationalities, particularly Nigerians, which resulted in loss of innocent lives and serious injuries, the AU said in a statement. The attacks have also resulted in the displacement of many Africans from their normal places of residence, thereby putting their lives in serious danger, it said. AU has expressed heartfelt condolence to the families of the deceased; and it wished speedy recovery to all those who have sustained injuries. AU has called on the Indian authorities to provide all necessary support to...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/17)
A Tunisian allegedly caught red-handed taking a bribe was among three regional officials sacked on Monday by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, who has vowed to fight graft. A government statement announced the sackings but did not say why the three were relieved of their duties. A spokesman for a provincial prosecutor said one of the officials had been arrested during a police sting allegedly pocketing money from a businessman who had complained to authorities that he had been asked to pay bribes. According to spokesman Mohamed Ali Barhoumi, the businessman told authorities
(Agence Ecofin 03/28/17)
During a field visit last Sunday with the Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, Tunisia’s State secretary to public domains and land affairs, Mabrouk Korchid, announced that some of the people living on public properties will now be granted ownership of these lands. This stands only for those who have been occupying these lands for the past 30 to 40 years. “It is the right of citizens who have been living on these lands for 30 to 40 years, after establishing their homes on them in good faith, to be awarded a land title. The regularization process concerns 979 housing units built over 11,000 hectares. It should prevent the anarchic establishment of further homes,” Korchid said. According to Business News, “a council...
(Voice of America 03/28/17)
The World Health Organization and U.N. children's fund are spearheading a massive immunization campaign across Africa to rid the continent of the last vestiges of polio. Tens of thousands of health workers will fan out across 13 central and western African countries to vaccinate more than 116 million children under age five against the crippling disease. The U.N. agencies report more than 190,000 volunteers, traveling on foot or bicycle, will go house to house across all cities, towns, and villages in 13 countries to vaccinate every child under age five against polio. The synchronized vaccination campaign, one of the largest ever conducted in Africa, will run from March 25-28. Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization Michel Zaffran...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/17)
An alliance of Tunisian human rights groups on Monday called on authorities to scrap a 1973 decree that bans Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. The alliance of some 60 groups signed a statement calling for the decree to be revoked, saying it undermines "a fundamental human right: which is the right to choose a spouse". Sana Ben Achour, president of the Beity association, told a news conference "it is inadmissible today for a simple decree, which has almost no judicial value... to command the lives of thousands". The decree issued in 1973 by the justice ministry stipulates that a non-Muslim man who wishes to marry a Tunisia woman must convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as...
(Xinhuanet 03/27/17)
There is need for China and its African allies to kick start a new dialogue aimed at revitalizing wildlife and ecological conservation in the world's second largest continent, a conservationist has told Xinhua in an interview. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), told Xinhua that Beijing is an indispensable partner in efforts to protect Africa's iconic wildlife species that are grappling with human and climatic induced threats to their survival. "China is playing a big role in Africa's economic development and would like to see it direct more support towards protection of wildlife and vital ecosystems in the continent," Sebunya said. Sebunya noted that China's growing economic and diplomat clout place it at a vantage position to help...
(Xinhuanet 03/24/17)
A group of non-government organizations (NGOs) on Friday called on African leaders to find practical solutions to protect and assist Somali refugees and asylum seekers facing ongoing conflict and a humanitarian crisis in Somalia. In a joint statement issued on the eve of the regional summit on refugees, members of the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS), Somalia NGO Consortium and the Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) expressed hope that the leaders will take practical steps towards the development and implementation of a comprehensive regional approach. "It is hoped that such an approach, developed in the spirit of the New York Declaration, will support countries and communities that host Somali refugees in improving asylum space, integrated access to services, inclusive economic opportunities...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Under a cloudless sky in South Africa's northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. The gelatin found in the animals' skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade. Animal rights groups say the docile beasts of burden are often cruelly bludgeoned to death before being skinned in backyards and clandestine slaughterhouses. Around Mogosani village, in South Africa's North West province, residents say syndicates catch the animals in grazing fields and pens. Soon after, skinned carcasses with hooves chopped off are...
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
One of the enduring legacies of the Barack Obama presidency will be the relationship built between the United States and young Africans. As part of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), each year 1,000 young people from sub-Saharan Africa travel to the United States to spend six weeks at a U.S. college or university. The program will continue this summer. But building enduring relationships is a two-way street, and many in Africa want to see Americans coming to their continent as well. That’s what 26 Americans selected to participate in a Reciprocal Exchange program, a new component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, are now planning to do. The U.S. Department of State partnered with IREX, a...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
Tunisians convicted of cannabis consumption will be able to avoid prison if it is their first offence, under new regulations issued Wednesday. The north African country has faced mounting calls from rights groups to reform a law that jails youths for a year for smoking a joint. 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. But the National Security Council headed by President Beji Caid Essebsi on Wednesday announced measures to limit the number of users sent to prison. For a first conviction, judges will be able to issue a pardon as soon as the judgment is pronounced. The...
(Xinhuanet 03/16/17)
China's aid to the education sector in Africa is helping boost teacher training, a key component in skilling the population to fast track development, a UN official has said. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office for Eastern Africa, in an interview recognized China's contribution to Africa's education sector over the years. "We value the initiative in teacher training in Uganda and other countries in Africa. This will revitalize the teaching profession," she said. China through UNESCO donated equipment to three teacher training institutions in Uganda on March 3. Figures from the Chinese embassy here show that 137 tutors were trained and 272 pieces of Information Communication and Technology and studio equipment...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/17)
Tunisia's coastguard on Monday announced the seizure of 31 kilos of pure cocaine with a value of more than $6 million (six million euros) off its Mediterranean coast facing Italy. The bust came after "suspicious movements" were sighted on a boat off Cape Bon, a peninsula on the strait of Sicily, Mohamed Walid Ben Ali, who heads the coastguard in La Goulette near Tunis, told AFP. Two men fled with the boat after hurling "a large red sack" into the sea that was recovered by coastguards and found to contain 30 blocks of pure cocaine. It was the "first time" that Tunisian authorities have netted such a large haul of the drug, said Lieutenant Colonel Ben Ali, who added that...
(Agence Ecofin 03/14/17)
The Land Policy Initiative (LPI), a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched a pilot project to track progress in implementing in the AU Declaration on land issues in Africa. This was revealed by the ECA in a press statement dated March 7. In collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the project will assess progress made in implementing the key decisions and commitments of the AU Declaration on Land adopted in July 2009 by the General Assembly of the pan-African institution. “We are to a large extent in unchartered waters given many of our Member...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Sunday that a Tunisian man wanted in his homeland for his possible involvement in a deadly attack on a Tunis museum in 2015 can be deported. The man was arrested last month on suspicion of planning an Islamist attack in Germany. In 2015 Islamists stormed the Bardo museum and killed 21 foreign tourists. "I can confirm that the talks between us and the Tunisian side have been successful. The terrorist is sitting in custody and I expect that he will soon be deported," de Maiziere told broadcaster ARD for the Bericht aus Berlin program. The Tunisian, identified by German media as Haikel S., was arrested last month and is believed to have...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
Islamist militants attacked a checkpoint in a town in southwest Tunisia early on Sunday, killing a policeman and wounding three others, security officials said. Two militants were also killed in an exchange of fire during the attack in Kebili, which lies on the edge of Tunisia's southern desert region, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. The attackers opened fire on a police patrol that had set up a checkpoint at a roundabout in the town, one security official said. Security forces were combing the area to search for militants who may have escaped following the attack, a second official said. Tunisia has been trying to tackle a jihadist threat after suffering major attacks by Islamist militants in 2015...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity," said Dlamini-Zuma, who will next week hand power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates...
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that investments in training for community health workers will have multiplier impact on Africa's socioeconomic development. "We require highly skilled and motivated cadre of community health workforce to deal with a high diseases burden in disadvantaged settings in this continent. These...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...

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(AFP (eng) 10/04/16)
The global conference that governs wildlife trade voted Monday against strengthening the ban on ivory sales, exposing bitter divisions among African countries and experts over elephant conservation. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected a proposal to include all African elephants in its highest category of protection, which bans trade in species facing extinction. A coalition of 29 African countries -- led by Kenya and Benin -- had pressed for African elephants to be put in the CITES "Appendix I" category. But South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe rejected the proposal, saying they should continue to be excluded from Appendix I as they have stable or growing elephant populations. "This is a tragedy for elephants," said Kelvin Alie,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/03/16)
Governance across Africa has improved very little over the past decade as deteriorating safety and rule of law have held back progress made in other areas such as human rights or economic opportunities, a survey said on Monday. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) - the most comprehensive survey of its kind on the continent - rates 54 African nations against criteria such as security, human rights, economic stability, just laws, free elections, corruption, infrastructure, poverty, health and education. Mauritius held onto its top spot, followed by Botswana, Cape Verde, the Seychelles and Namibia while South Africa - the continent's most industrialised country - was in sixth place. While overall the index has improved by just one point over...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/30/16)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to slip to 1.6 percent this year, its lowest level in two decades, due to continuing woes in the continent's largest economies of South Africa and Nigeria, a World Bank report said Thursday. Africa has been one of the world's fastest-growing region's over the past decade, but a commodities slump has hit its oil and mineral exporters hard, bringing growth down to 3 percent in 2015. However, other countries — including Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania — have continued to record GDP growth above 6 percent, according to "Africa's Pulse," the Bank's twice-yearly analysis of economic trends. The report, which was unveiled in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan, also singled out Ivory Coast and...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/16)
In a bustling market in Abidjan, women browse through a bewildering array of intricately patterned wax-print fabrics, each of which has a unique and sometimes quirky name. "Eye of my rival" is one which has an eye-like motif, while another is known as "capable husband". Another bale of this brightly coloured fabric is labelled "jealousy". Each print has a name and comes in different colours, so you could have a "capable husband" in red, green or a white and the same for “Eye of my rival". Others have longer, more conversational names: "If you leave, so will I" or "If you divorce, I won't eat sand". Known as a "pagne", this strip of printed cotton cloth can be worn in...
(AFP (eng) 09/28/16)
When farmer Isaac Tondo fell on lean times in Liberia's long rainy season, his brother in the capital sent 8,000 Liberian dollars (US$87) to his Lonestar mobile money account, ensuring his children's school fees would still be paid. Across Africa more and more people -- from urban start-ups to hard-up villagers -- are now spending, saving and planning for the future through banking services offered by mobile phone companies. And experts believe growth and poverty reduction will follow, if certain key risks are managed. Tondo's brother used to entrust cash with contacts passing through their home village in Grand Gedeh county, but the roads are so bad they can no longer access it. "The only means of receiving money from...
(AFP (eng) 09/23/16)
Tunisia announced Friday that British energy firm Petrofac is to resume operations at a gas plant in the country after a labour dispute was resolved that had halted work for months. "We have signed an accord with Petrofac... following negotiations that lasted until three in the morning," Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi told AFP. "The problem is over, and the company will decide, based on technical factors, when it will resume its activities," he said. The government had announced on Wednesday that Petrofac was halting work at the Cherqui plant off the Kerkennah islands in southeast Tunisia because of protests by local workers.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/16)
More than $1 billion in debt and financing commitments from U.S. agencies and private investors is set to be announced on Wednesday for U.S. President Barack Obama's signature Africa energy initiative, Power Africa, a top USAID official said. The latest deals were finalized around a U.S.-Africa business forum on the sidelines of annual U.N. meetings in New York this week, USAID chief Gayle Smith said in an interview with Reuters. Obama launched the initiative in 2013 with an initial investment of $7 billion, which aims to install 10,000 megawatts of new generation capacity, connect 20 million new customers, and improve electric reliability across the Sub-Saharan Africa. The program hoped to attract private capital into energy projects in a region where...
(Xinhuanet 09/17/16)
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has reiterated its commitment to continue supporting African countries to boost the number of tourist arrivals so as to spur economic growth and job creation on the continent. Elcia Grandcourt, UNWTO Programme Director for Africa, told Xinhua Friday at an ongoing three-day workshop in Addis Ababa that UNWTO is also committed to helping African countries address the challenges in tourism sector. "Today and yesterday, we talked about the issues of travel facilitation, for example, accessibility, visa facilitation, the right and appropriate infrastructure, the right policy framework-- these are all the challenges that are there," she said. "We work with our members to try and see how progressively we can have to address these issues."...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/16/16)
Major private equity firms have seen a number of top management departures in Africa, individuals familiar with the matter said, as the funds grapple with investments hurt by a weak economy. U.S. firm Carlyle (CG.O), Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and emerging market-focused Actis have all seen a change of top executives at their Africa funds, according to these six individuals. Once seen as a beacon of growth, private equity firms expanded their business in the region just before the financial crash. A weak economy and falling currencies have now taken the gloss off a decade of 'Africa rising' optimism. Some investments by these companies have struggled in the downturn. The changes at these groups, which pool the money of pension funds...
(BBC News Africa 09/15/16)
Swiss firms have been criticised in a report for their links to the African trade in diesel with toxin levels that are illegal in Europe. Campaign group Public Eye says retailers are exploiting weak regulatory standards. Vitol, Trafigura, Addax & Oryx and Lynx Energy have been named because they are shareholders of the fuel retailers. Trafigura and Vitol say the report is misconceived and retailers work within legal limits enforced in the countries. Three of the distribution companies mentioned in the report have responded by saying that they meet the regulatory requirements of the market and have no vested interest in keeping sulphur levels higher than they need to be. Although this is within the limits set by national governments,...
(APA 09/13/16)
The Tunisian national airline (Tunisair) announced on Tuesday the opening of a new line to Douala, in Cameroon before the end of 2016. This is the second announcement of the new itinerary after that of 2014, when Tunisair planned to serve the Central African Republic from Douala International Airport. In addition to serving Douala, the airlines announced a stopover in Ndjamena whose flights are dependent on the operating plan from Douala. The delay noted so far in the commissioning of these new routes could arise from difficulties facing the company. Last week, the national carrier announced the layoff of 1,000 employees on the grounds of necessity to reduce costs and improve competitiveness.
(Voice of America 09/09/16)
The organizers of this week's Africa Green Revolution Forum in Kenya say the continent is well on its way to an agricultural renaissance. The forum is wrapping up with a significant boost toward that goal: a pledge of $30 billion during the next 10 years to support smallholder farmers and local African agribusinesses. The donors include African governments, businesses and development partners, many of whom have been present for the Nairobi forum. But significant challenges remain for the continent, and experts have many theories about what it will take to make Africa’s green revolution a reality. Country manager James Craske of Yara, a leading fertilizer manufacturing company in Africa, said quality seeds and fertilizer would make a difference. “I think...
(AFP (eng) 08/27/16)
Japan will pour $30 billion (27 billion euros) in investment in Africa by 2018, including $10 billion in infrastructure development, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday at a summit in Nairobi. "When combined with the investment from the private sector I expect the total real amount to be $30 billion," Abe said at the opening of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). "This is an investment that has faith in Africa's future," he said. Abe will use the conference to meet dozens of leaders from across Africa, among them Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa's Jacob Zuma. It is the first time that the TICAD conference is being held in Africa, with all five previous events...
(The Wall Street Journal 08/09/16)
Deal would mark South African furniture retailer’s entry into U.S. market. Steinhoff International Holdings NV, Africa’s retailing giant but little-known outside the continent, has made its first foray into the U.S., agreeing to pay $2.4 billion for Sleepy’s owner Mattress Firm Holding Corp. Steinhoff, a family-owned furniture seller based outside Cape Town, South Africa, is called “Africa’s IKEA” for its home furnishing retail chains. Until recently, it had trained its sights on expansion in Europe, from Germany and Switzerland to Poland and Bulgaria, and Australasia. Last month, it agreed to pay £597 million ($793.77 million) for British retailer Poundland Group PLC, which sells most of its goods for a pound, or about $1.31 at today’s rates. The company said on...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/05/16)
In an expanse of sand 60 miles (100 km) north of Senegal's capital, two men set to work digging up tree stumps to clear space for what could soon be the biggest solar plant in West Africa. In less than a year, says developer Senergy PV SA, this shrubby lot will be covered with 96,000 gleaming solar panels from China, injecting up to 30 megawatts into the grid. It is an attractive prospect for a nation with a dire power deficit, and which currently meets most of its needs by burning imported oil in hugely inefficient diesel generators. "The context is favorable," Karim Ndiaye, investment director at French private equity firm Meridiam, which bought out the original Senergy company in...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/03/16)
Barclays is expected to sell more of its stake in its African subsidiary in the coming weeks to take its holding in the business to less than 50% and strengthen the UK parent bank's capital. A lock-up period following a previous share sale expires on Tuesday, and Barclays is expected to sell more stock in Barclays Africa as part of its plan to deconsolidate the business. Barclays CEO Jes Staley, who took over a year ago, decided in March to sell down the stake in its African operations because the bank's 62% ownership meant it had to fully allocate capital to the business, but got less than two-thirds of its profits. The bank sold a 12.2% stake on May 4,...
(Cnbc Africa 07/29/16)
"One cannot get to the top by being average,” says Noletu Moti, Koeberg Nuclear Plant’s first female chief inspector. Moti who is in her mid-30s, hailing from the outskirts of East London, is taking others with her to the top by assisting young Africans who want to be where she is through Bhongoletu Youth Foundation, which she started in 2012 with the slogan ‘Live The South African Dream’. ‘’Youth development has always been a dream. If I was not doing science, I would be in youth development full time, travelling Africa helping young children in literacy & numeracy. A nation without education suffers immensely,” says Moti The highly fashionable inspector is responsible for the establishment and coordination of Koeberg Nuclear...
(Xinhuanet 07/26/16)
Despite Africa's slowdown, property developers and private equity funds continue to pour investment into the continent, but with more focused strategies, organizers of the upcoming Africa Property Investment (API) Summit said on Monday. "Over 1.2 billion U.S. dollars has been raised and allocated to real estate investment in Africa over the past year and we expect this trend to continue," said Kfir Rusin, General Manager of APIS. This year's summit, scheduled for August 18-19 in Johannesburg, will feature various discussions on innovative strategies and collaboration, as well as showcasing new real estate opportunities and projects across Africa. Commenting on the global capital flows making their mark on African real estate, Peter Welborn, Chairman of Knight Franks' Africa business, said the...
(Xinhuanet 07/25/16)
Sub-Saharan Africa remains a fast-growing region in the world despite a relative slow down, multinational professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY) said on Monday. This is reflected in the foreign direct investment (FDI) levels in 2015, where FDI project numbers increased by seven percent, EY said in its 2016 Africa Attractiveness Program, issued in Johannesburg. Although the capital value of projects was down year-on-year, from 88.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 to 71.3 billion in 2015, this was still higher than the 2010-2014 average of 68 billion U.S. dollars, the report said. Similarly, jobs created were down year-on-year, but still ahead of the average for 2010-2014, the report showed. "Over the past year, global markets have experienced unprecedented volatility...
(Voice of America 07/23/16)
The 14th U.N. Conference on Trade and Development ended Friday in Nairobi with delegates adopting a measure giving the organization a central role in meeting U.N. sustainable development goals. UNCTAD said the quadrennial gathering also produced the beginning of an e-trade initiative, the launch of a multiple-donor trust fund on trade and productive capacity, and an agreement involving more than 90 nations on a road map for fisheries subsidies. A report released earlier in the week by UNCTAD, "Economic Development in Africa 2016," noted that African governments should take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis. The report also said the annual average foreign debt stock of Africa from 2011 to 2013 amounted to $443 billion, a...

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(BBC News Africa 03/14/16)
Libya's UN-backed Presidential Council, based in Tunis, has called on the international community to stop dealing with any rival powers within Libya. The council nominated a unity government last month, but recognition of the cabinet has been delayed. Libya has had two competing governments since 2014, following the downfall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The eastern House of Representatives (HOR), based in Tobruk, has failed to vote to approve the unity government. The council said in a statement on Saturday that a document signed by a majority of the HOR's members backing the new government, as well as the endorsement by the Political Dialogue Team, represented a "green light to start work". However, on Thursday, a statement by Libya's...
(The Associated Press 03/09/16)
Prime Minister Habib Essid praised Tunisia's military and security forces on Tuesday for their response to the deadly assault by extremist attackers near the Libyan border. The death toll from Monday's clashes in the city of Ben Guerdane rose to 55, including 36 attackers, Essid said Tuesday. Seven civilians and 12 members of Tunisia's security forces also died, and 17 others were injured. “The attack that happened yesterday showed that our military and security forces were ready,” he told a press conference.
(Voice of America 03/09/16)
Climate change is threatening some of Africa's most important crops, including corn, beans and bananas, and scientists warn that the agriculture system there needs some adjustments, and fast. The problem is, as climate change has a greater impact on the continent's crops, some areas currently growing staple crops won't be able to support them. The study was done by the University of Leeds and was released in Nature Climate Change. Staple crops at risk The numbers are startling. A full 30 percent of African farmland currently growing corn and bananas won't support those crops by by the end of the century. And an even more troubling 60 percent of land being used to grow beans won't be able to support...
(BBC News Africa 03/07/16)
Tunisian security forces have killed 10 militants after they launched a cross-border raid from Libya, an army spokesman says. Fighting followed an attack on an army base and a police station in the eastern town of Ben Guerdane. Three civilians and two soldiers were also killed in the clashes, AFP news agency reports. There is concern in Tunisia about the threat from Islamist fighters based in Libya being able to cross the border. All entrances to the town have been shut, including the Ras Jdeir border crossing with Libya, the BBC's Rana Jawad reports from the capital, Tunis. Last week, Tunisian forces killed five militants in the same area after they had entered Tunisia with the aim of carrying out...
(Voice of America 03/07/16)
Tunisia's Interior Ministry said Monday troops killed 10 militants who attacked a police station and military facility near the Libyan border. Officials said at least three civilians and one soldier were also killed in the clashes in the southeastern town of Ben Guerdane. Authorities urged residents there to stay inside after the shooting began. Western militaries are helping advise Tunisian forces as concerns grow about militants in Libya, including those from the Islamic State group, crossing the border to carry out attacks. Last week, Britain announced it was sending a training team of about 20 soldiers to help secure the border.
(Voice of America 03/01/16)
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Monday he is sending a training team of about 20 soldiers to Tunisia to help prevent people from crossing into the country illegally from neighboring Libya. Islamic State fighters have expanded their presence in Libya as two rival governments failed in efforts to unite and form a strong central authority to take back territory from militants. That has raised concerns about Islamic State launching attacks from Libya and exploiting the border to enter Tunisia, which has already experienced several deadly gun and bomb attacks targeting tourists and government officials.
(Voice of America 02/11/16)
Resource-poor countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia are experiencing growth, while resource-rich countries like Nigeria and Angola are battling. The former finance minister of Zimbabwe, Tendai Biti, told the Investing in African Mining Indaba annual conference Tuesday that diversification is key, but African leaders in resource rich countries don’t learn. However, he said the silver lining to the current slump is for policy makers to see this as an opportunity, a sentiment also expressed in the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria outlook report. The focus for Investing in African Indaba was on mining, rather than crude oil, whether a particular mineral, diamonds, iron or gas. The issue is global commodities are in a slump, and during the boom, leaders...
(Foreign Policy 02/10/16)
In a nod to the growing threat Islamist militant groups pose in Africa, the Pentagon is planning to spend about $200 million on operations targeting the Islamic State in North Africa — thousands of miles from the group’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria — while also making a new push against al Qaeda-linked forces elsewhere on the continent. The money is included in the Defense Department’s new $582 billion budget, which includes $58 billion to fund the wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
(Middle East Monitor 02/09/16)
A former Brigadier-General in the Tunisian Armed Forces and Head of the Tunisian Centre for Comprehensive Security Studies Mokhtar Ben Nasr has said that military intervention in Libya is a matter of time and Tunisia must prepare for all possibilities. In remarks published by Tunis Afrique Presse, Ben Nasr said that the Tunisian army and security units are fully prepared and have increased joint patrols and coordination between the various units, which will make Tunisia safer in the event of military action in Libya. He added that mock operations conducted in hospitals in the south of Tunisia are part of preparations ahead of possible military action in Libya. Ben Nasr also warned that the deterioration of the situation in Libya...
(BBC News Africa 01/25/16)
Tunisia's president says he understands frustration that has led to protests over unemployment, but instability could be exploited by extremists. A curfew began on Friday evening after "attacks against public and private property", the interior ministry said. Protests over youth unemployment have spread from the northern region of Kasserine to towns and cities. In a televised speech, President Beji Caid Essebsi said the country would "get out of this ordeal".
(Voice of America 01/25/16)
HARARE— Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo say Africa wants to see reforms enacted at the U.N. Security Council and they want the continent to be given at least one spot as a permanent member. The call came at the end of a visit to Zimbabwe by Nguema and ahead of an African Union General Assembly later this month. Mugabe — who is handing over the rotating AU chairmanship — said his Equatorial Guinea counterpart ,Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, was in Zimbabwe because of the upcoming African summit in Ethiopia. "On the event of the meeting of the African Union, he [Nguema] saw it meet to discuss what our position is regarding various matters...
(BBC News Africa 01/22/16)
Protests over youth unemployment have spread to several towns and cities in Tunisia, leading to the death of a policeman in clashes on Thursday. Demonstrations began in the northern Kasserine region after a man was electrocuted while protesting at being rejected for a government job. In the town of Feriana, a policeman died after his car was overturned. Unemployment has worsened since the 2011 revolution, when President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted.
(Voice of America 01/22/16)
Tunisian police firing tear gas clashed on Thursday with hundreds of protesters who set fire to a police post and tried to storm local government buildings in several towns during a third day of rioting over jobs, residents said. At least one policeman has been killed in some of the worst protests in Tunisia since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. That triggered a series of "Arab Spring" revolts in the region that swept long-serving leaders from power. Several thousand youths demonstrated on Thursday outside the local government office in Kasserine, an impoverished central town where protests began this week after a young man killed himself after apparently being refused a public sector job. Police fired...
(CNN 01/22/16)
(CNN)This week, the African Union is meeting to discuss human rights, and particularly how the continent can realize the full potential of its women. Naturally, the power of information and communication technologies are on the agenda for discussion. But haven't we been here before? We are more than half way through the "African Women's Decade" launched in 2010. What has happened in the intervening six years? Since 2010, much has been made about Africa's mobile and digital revolution and its ability to propel development. But are women advancing triumphantly into Africa's digital future too? In short, the answer is no. For our recent Women's Right Online study, we interviewed 7,500 women from poor urban areas in 10 cities across the...
(CNN 01/22/16)
(CNN)Fancy a drink of Sparletta Stoney Tangawizi? Or maybe a glass of Krest Bitter Lemon? Those are two of over 100 drinks that Coca-Cola produces in Africa, many tailored to local taste. The approach in each city may differ, but the company's strategy is the same everywhere: a Coke product should always be within reach. "It is very important that as a business we really ensure that we continue to be relevant to consumers and customers," Nathan Kalumbu, President Coca-Cola Eurasia & Africa Group, told CNN. Across the continent, Coke has about 3,000 small distribution centers. "These micro distribution centers are normally run by individuals who live in the community, they employ local people and they distribute to local retailers...
(BBC News Africa 01/19/16)
Attacks by the Islamic State group have led to a dramatic fall in tourism in parts of North Africa, where millions rely on the trade to make a living. New figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that visits to North Africa fell by 8% in 2015, bucking a global upward trend. International tourism grew by 4.4% overall, to reach a total of 1.18bn arrivals, according to the UNWTO. But countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco have been hit hard.
(BBC News Africa 01/19/16)
The German government says North African countries cannot expect German development aid if they are unwilling to take back failed asylum seekers. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said he was sending that message to North African leaders. Migrants from North Africa were blamed for many attacks on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve. Germany may soon list Algeria and Morocco as "safe countries of origin". Police detained 40 North African men in Duesseldorf on Saturday. Police in the city, about 50km (30 miles) from Cologne, targeted North African gangs suspected of pickpocketing, mugging and drugs offences. Nearly 300 people had their documents checked during the six-hour police operation, focused on the "Maghreb" quarter near the main railway station. Police stressed...
(The Wall Street Journal 01/19/16)
Barclays PLC was one the few western banks to blaze a trail into sub-Saharan Africa. Now it is preparing to stage a gradual retreat. Barclays executives have concluded that being the majority owner of a sprawling African business no longer fits with the bank’s strategy, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank is drawing up plans to sell some of its 62% stake in Barclays Africa Group Ltd. , the publicly traded entity that houses most of its African business, these people said. The decision is part of a plan by Barclays’ new chief executive, Jes Staley, to refocus the bank on a narrower range of profitable activities. It comes as lenders world-wide dial back their ambitions, and...
(CNN 01/16/16)
London (CNN)With over 1,000 restaurants in the continent, KFC is the leading fast food chain in Africa. But its dominance is limited to South Africa, home to about 80 percent of them. Despite its success, the company faces many challenges as they try to establish the brand in other regions, for example by making sure its food is relevant and recognizable to Africans. Serving jollof rice, a spicy dish native to West Africa, is one way in which KFC is improvising to win over palates in Africa's largest economy, Nigeria. Doug Smart, Managing Director, KFC Africa, says: "Every Nigerian will tell you that their mother or wife makes the best jollof rice -- and KFC is now making it." From...
(BBC News Africa 01/14/16)
African exports to China fell by almost 40% in 2015, China's customs office says. China is Africa's biggest single trading partner and its demand for African commodities has fuelled the continent's recent economic growth. The decline in exports reflects the recent slowdown in China's economy. This has, in turn, put African economies under pressure and in part accounts for the falling value of many African currencies. Is China a brake on Africa's progress? Presenting China's trade figures for last year, customs spokesman Huang Songping told journalists that African exports to China totalled $67bn (£46.3bn), which was 38% down on the figure for 2014. BBC Africa Business Report editor Matthew Davies says that as China's economy heads for what many analysts...

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