Friday 23 February 2018

Tunisie

(AFP (eng) 09/22/17)
CS Sfaxien and Club Africain of Tunisia and Zesco United of Zambia boast perfect CAF Confederation Cup home records this season ahead of weekend quarter-finals. Record three-time title-holders Sfaxien host FUS Rabat of Morocco trailing 1-0 after the first leg last weekend in the second-tier African club competition. Club Africain are in an identical position to Sfaxien having conceding an early goal to fall 1-0 away to Mouloudia Alger of Algeria in another all-north Africa affair. Zesco are better placed than both Tunisian outfits as they forced a 0-0 draw at SuperSport United of South Africa in a dour duel of few scoring chances. Title-holders TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo are the only second-leg hosts not to...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year. Global health experts hope the deal will help address two looming problems in the HIV epidemic - the rising threat of resistance developing to standard AIDS drugs, and the need for more investment in manufacturing capacity. Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, a so-called integrase inhibitor that avoids the drug resistance that often develops with older treatments. In return the drugmakers, India-based Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma, will agree the maximum...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/20/17)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia plans cut its budget deficit to 4.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2018, down from about 6 percent expected in 2017, as fiscal reforms take effect, the economic reforms’ minister said on Wednesday. The North African country is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund and its partners to speed up reforms to create jobs and cut its deficit after its vital tourism sector was hit by deadly militant attacks in 2015. “Next year’s budget would be a budget of major reforms that were delayed a lot, including fiscal reforms aimed at raising state resources, as well as reforms in the public sector,” Taoufik Rajhi, the minister of economic reforms, told Reuters in an interview...
(AFP (eng) 09/19/17)
Tunisia's electoral commission on Monday indefinitely postponed the first municipal elections since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in a blow to the fledgling democracy. The commission announced the postponement after a meeting between party heads and representatives of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, President Beji Caid. "The majority of participants in the meeting were in favour of postponing the municipal elections," said interim commission head Anouar Ben Hassen. The parties would meet again within 10 days in another bid to set a date, he said.
(Xinhuanet 09/19/17)
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi received Libya's self-proclaimed National Army chief, General Khalifa Haftar, here on Monday to discuss settlement of the Libyan conflict. Libya's U.N.-backed Government of National Accord operates in the country's west and is headquartered in Tripoli, struggling for more extensive influence across Libya. The rival government, backed by Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, is based in the city of Tobruk. The Libya's National Army controls most of the country's east and south and desires for international recognition. "This visit is part of Tunisia's efforts to contribute to the resolution of the Libyan conflict through consensus among the different parties of the conflict," the Tunisian president said. During the meeting, Beji Caid Essebsi called on Libyans "to...
(Xinhuanet 09/19/17)
Tunisia's debt rate has reached 66.9 percent of GDP by the end of July this year, a six percent increase compared with the rate of 60.9 percent in June last year, Tunisian Ministry of Finance said on Monday. According to the latest figures, Tunisia's external debt represents more than two thirds of the total public debt of the country. The external debt reached 43.8 billion dinars (18 billion U.S. dollars) in July this year, representing an increase from the 34.4 billion dinars (14.1 billion U.S. dollars) the year before. Forty-seven percent of the external debt is multilateral debt, while 15 percent is in the form of bilateral debt, leaving 38 percent in the global financial market. Tunisian public debt until...
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar visited neighbouring Tunisia on Monday for talks with President Beji Caid Essebsi, who offered to act as a mediator between rival Libyan factions. Libya, which plunged into chaos after the ouster and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups battling to control its oil wealth. "The stability of Libya is a necessary condition for the stability of Tunisia," Essebsi said, calling on Libyans to "overcome their differences" and "to work to build a state". In a statement, he said Tunisia did not want to "interfere in Libya's internal affairs" but rather to "facilitate dialogue between the different
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
The head of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party on Sunday said the country's first post-revolution municipal polls due in December would be postponed, probably until March next year. Rached Ghannouchi told private Shems FM radio: "We were not favourable to a postponement of the municipal elections but there are objective reasons for a delay." He said that the electoral commission was expected to announce a new date on Monday and the polls would "probably" be held in March 2018. There was no official confirmation of Ghannouchi's remarks. The electoral commission had said Tunisia's first municipal polls since the 2011 revolution would be held on December 17. The date had been agreed in consultation with the government, political parties and civil society...
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
More than 1,000 people protested Saturday in Tunis against a controversial amnesty law adopted by parliament for officials accused of corruption under toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The law passed on Wednesday evening after a rowdy parliamentary debate following a cabinet reshuffle that saw Ben Ali-era officials join the cabinet as ministers of finance and education. The reshuffle was seen as strengthening President Beji Caid Essebsi's grip on power, months ahead of Tunisia's first post-revolution municipal polls. "We do not forgive!" and "We refuse to launder the corrupt!", protesters shouted at the demonstration which was organised by the opposition and the "I will not forgive" collective. They also branded Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's Nidaa Tounes party and the...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/18/17)
Hundreds of Tunisians protested on Saturday in the streets of the capital against a widely contested new law that grants officials from the former regime involved in corruption amnesty from prosecution. Tunisia’s parliament on Wednesday approved a law protecting officials accused of graft during the rule of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, triggering angry protests by the opposition and activists. Waving flags and banners saying “No to forgiveness”, “Resisting against mafia rule”, around 1,500 people marched through the capital’s central Avenue Habib Bourguiba in the company of opposition leaders. After months of protests, the law was amended from an original draft which would have also granted amnesty to corrupt businessmen. Now they will be liable to prosecution for crimes committed...
(The Guardian 09/18/17)
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation. Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop is undoubtedly the cause of this problem. But cocoa farming could also provide the solution. Recently, I was in Ivory Coast for the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. It united many different parties – governments, the UN’s Food...
(AFP (eng) 09/15/17)
Opposition groups on Thursday raised the alarm over Tunisia's transition to democracy after parliament passed an amnesty law for officials accused of corruption under toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The law passed Wednesday evening after a rowdy debate in parliament, coming in the wake of a cabinet reshuffle that saw Ben Ali-era officials join the cabinet as ministers of finance and education. The reshuffle was seen as strengthening President Beji Caid Essebsi's grip on power months ahead of Tunisia's first post-revolution municipal polls. Tunisia has been seen as a model of democratic transition since Ben Ali was overthrown in a 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. But Monica Marks, an expert on Tunisian politics, said the...
(The Associated Press 09/15/17)
Tunisia's Parliament has adopted a hotly disputed law giving amnesty to thousands of people linked to corruption under its former authoritarian regime. Hundreds of demonstrators protested outside the legislature saying they fear a return to Tunisia's pre-Arab Spring past. After an unusually angry debate and opposition walkout over the measure, it passed by 117 votes to nine in a Wednesday night vote. The full amnesty only concerns those who followed orders from corrupt leaders but did not make personal gains. Those who made money off corrupt dealings can pay back embezzled sums, along with a penalty, in exchange for freedom from prosecution. President Beji Caid Essebsi
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
Societe Generale SA, challenged on its home turf by Orange SA’s push into banking, is fighting back with a new mobile lender in Africa. The French lender started YUP, a new app for smartphones, in Senegal and Ivory Coast and plans to begin operating in four other sub-Saharan countries this year and next, the company said on Thursday. The bank aims to double its client base to 2 million in the region within three years. “Telcos have opened the way and they’ve gotten ahead,” Alexandre Maymat, who oversees Societe Generale’s operations in French-speaking Africa, said at a press briefing. “We’re catching up” by redefining the retail strategy and providing a broader offering than telephone companies. Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea...
(AFP (eng) 09/14/17)
Tunisia has abolished a decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, the presidency said Thursday. "Congratulations to the women of Tunisia for the enshrinement of the right to the freedom to choose one's spouse," presidency spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook. The announcement comes a month after President Beji Caid Essebsi called for the government to scrap the ban dating back to 1973. Until now a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof. Human rights groups in the North African country had campaigned for the ban's abolition...
(AFP (eng) 09/13/17)
Tunisia's presidency on Tuesday expressed its regret over the expulsion of Morocco's Prince Moulay Hicham, first cousin of King Mohammed VI, but did not explain why he had been deported. The prince was expelled from Tunisia Friday after arriving to attend an academic conference organised by Stanford University on the political transition in Tunisia after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. "The president of the republic is exasperated by what happened to researcher (Prince Moulay) Hicham Al-Aloui and his expulsion from Tunisian territory," presidency spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook. Garrach said the prince was deported "according to automatic administrative procedures without being referred to officials...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/13/17)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s parliament on Wednesday began debating a contested bill granting amnesty to officials accused of corruption during the rule of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, triggering angry protests from the opposition and activists outside. Opposition lawmakers sang the national anthem and shouted slogans before the session was temporarily suspended. Outside, dozens of demonstrators protested, chanting “This law will not pass” and “Whitewash corruption”. After months of protests, the bill was amended from an original draft which would have also granted amnesty to corrupt businessmen. As it stands, they will be liable to prosecution for crimes committed during Ben Ali’s 24-year rule. Critics of the so-called “Economic Reconciliation” bill say it is a step back from the spirit...
(Xinhuanet 09/13/17)
In an effort to promote economic development and solve complex conservation challenges facing world heritage sites, the African World Heritage Fund Patron and former President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba will host a business leader's breakfast event in Namibian Capital, Windhoek on Thursday. The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of the African Union and UNESCO, launched in 2006. Webber Ndoro, executive director of the African World Heritage Fund, at a media briefing on Tuesday in Windhoek said that the aim of the event is to promote a holistic private sector engagement, raise a sense of ownership and accountability for heritage protection as well as transmission of World Heritage sites in Namibia and Africa. "To...
(AFP (eng) 09/12/17)
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi strengthened his grip on power late Monday when parliament approved a cabinet reshuffle ahead of key elections. Observers say the new cabinet, which places Essebsi allies in key positions, consolidates the 90-year-old president's hold on the executive, months ahead of Tunisia's first post-revolution municipal polls. "It is the president who pulls the strings," French language daily Le Quotidien said. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed easily won a confidence vote for his new line-up, backed by lawmakers from his own Nidaa Tounes party and its Islamist ally in government, Ennahdha, which together dominate parliament. He announced the new line-up last week after talks with Essebsi, who founded secular Nidaa Tunes and later became prime minister before being...

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(Xinhuanet 05/23/17)
The Tunisian authorities said on Monday that a protester was killed accidentally in Tataouine Province of southeast Tunisia. Yaser Mosbah, spokesman for the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior, said the victim was accidentally hit by a security apparatus while leaving the venue of the demonstration. Meanwhile, nineteen security agents were wounded during the confrontations with protesters who participated in the sit-in in Tataouine province, confirmed Mosbah. One of the security agents was attacked by a number of protesters before being beaten, added Mosbah. "The peaceful social movement has also been accompanied by acts of vandalism," Mosbah said. According to him, the security units fired tear ga
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Tunisian security forces fired tear gas on Monday to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to take over a gas pumping station, as weeks of unrest over jobs and funding in the country's southern provinces escalated into violence. Protesters briefly forced the closure of the Vana pumping station, one of several oil and gas stations impacted over the weekend, after the army allowed an engineer to shut it to avoid a confrontation. The defense ministry warned on Sunday it would use force to protect and retake southern oil and gas facilities, and ...
(AFP (eng) 05/21/17)
Protesters in Tunisia on Saturday closed an oil and gas installation in the south of the North African country amid growing social tensions, an official radio station said. Earlier, soldiers twice fired warning shots into the air on Saturday to stop demonstrators from storming the El Kamour gas and oil pumping station, official media reported. Radio Tataouine said the station's closure came "after an agreement between the protesters and the forces of the national army". There was no immediate reaction from the defence ministry. The closure followed a 48-hour ultimatum by the protesters to the government to meet their demands. It comes more than a week after President Beji Caid Essebsi said the army will protect key installations from being...
(AFP (eng) 05/20/17)
Imed Trabelsi, a nephew of toppled Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, apologised to the Tunisian people on national television Friday for the endemic corruption during the regime. In his testimony to the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD), a tribunal established after the 2011 revolution, Trabelsi recounted how he got rich thanks to a well-oiled system involving the complicity of customs officers, high officials and ministers. "We practically had a monopoly on the banana trade," Trabelsi said, adding that there were also monopolies on real estate and alcohol sales. If another businessman tried to compete "we blocked his load," he added. "The customs officers who worked with us were dedicated to our boat... they blocked the interests of many...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
Tunisian troops have fired shots in the air to disperse protesters who tried to close down a gas pumping in southern Tatatouine province as part of demands for jobs, a witness and two local radio stations said on Saturday. There were no immediate reports of any injuries around the gas pumping station near Vana. Mosaique FM radio and a local state radio both reported troops had shot in the air to break up a group of protesters. For weeks unemployed youth have threatened to blockade roads and shut gas production in southern Tunisia, where Italy's ENI and Austria's OMV operate. The government has sent in the army to protect installations, but negotiations have so far failed. (Reporting by Tarek Amara;...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(AFP (eng) 05/19/17)
A Tunisian tribunal charged with healing the wounds of six decades of dictatorship in the North African country accused the state on Thursday of not cooperating with its work. The Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) was set up after the 2011 revolution that toppled the regime of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to investigate human rights violations, hold perpetrators to account and rehabilitate their victims. But IVD member Khaled Krichi said Thursday that the interior ministry had "rejected all requests for arbitration and conciliation sent to it by victims of human rights violations", including for torture and imprisonment. "The main difficulty in the commission's work is the state's non-cooperation in matters relating to conciliation," he said at a press...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
Tunisian protesters threatening to blockade gas production in the south of the country on Thursday rejected a government offer of jobs and investment and moved their protest closer to a pipeline and pumping station. The protests in southern Tatatouine are testing Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's government and have already forced two foreign energy companies to halt production or remove staff as a precaution because of threats of disruption. Six years after Tunisia's revolution ended Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali's autocratic rule, the North African state is still struggling to deliver economic opportunities to unemployed youth in marginalised regions like Tatatouine. Around 1,000 protesters have been camped out for weeks in the Sahara near a gas pipeline in a region where Italy's...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
A Tunis court has sentenced Ridha Grira, the last defence minister under ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to six years in jail for corruption, the judiciary said Friday. Spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP that the verdict against the 61-year-old "fugitive" was issued late Thursday by a court which also ordered him to pay a fine of 402,000 dinars ($164,000/150,000 euros). Grira was jailed in September 2011 over corruption cases linked to the Ben Ali regime which was overthrown in a popular uprising that year. But in March 2014 a court ordered his release, as he was suffering from cancer. The Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights group had called for his release because of his poor...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/11/17)
A Tunisian court has sentenced a man to two months in prison for wearing a T-shirt deemed insulting to police, a judicial official said Wednesday. She said it had handed the same sentence to the printer of the T-shirt, which according to local media read "If a woman is corrupted, she becomes a whore, and if a man is corrupted, he becomes a policeman." Police in the eastern city of Sousse on Friday stopped a young man in a cafe and later detained the owner of the print shop, local media reported. Assistant prosecutor Zahia Sayadi said the man who wore the T-shirt was charged with publicly insulting an official and the printer with participating in the insult. "Wearing the...
(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...

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(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...
(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...

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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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