| Africatime
Sunday 26 March 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
The United Arab Emirates, one of the Middle East's largest economies, wants to expand trade ties with faster growing nations in Asia and Africa, a senior official said on Sunday. Rich Gulf Arab states are looking at ways to diversify their economies, including who they trade with, after more than two years of depressed oil prices forced a rethink of government spending. The pace of economic growth in Asian and sub-Saharan African economies has made them ideal partners, Abdullah al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade and industry at the UAE ministry of the economy, told Reuters in an interview in Dubai. Asia's two largest economies China and India are expected to grow by 6.5 percent and 7.2 percent this year whilst...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 03/09/17)
Tunisair suspended all of its flights for several hours on Thursday because of a row between pilots and maintenance workers, but later announced a gradual resumption after talks with unions. Tunisia's national airline apologised to passengers, saying the halt was aimed at "preserving the safety of the fleet" following an "altercation" at Tunis-Carthage International Airport. Tunisian media reported that a fight had broken out between aircrew and maintenance workers, following tensions in recent weeks over uniforms. Mechanics also reportedly held a recent sit-in in front of a union headquarters to denounce their treatment by pilots. Police reinforcements were sent to the airport and a crisis cell including the transport minister was set up to tackle the situation. The carrier later...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/17)
The battle against jihadists in Ben Guerdane a year ago was a "turning point" for Tunisia, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said on Tuesday during a visit to commemorate the anniversary. Jihadist groups mounted a coordinated assault on security installations in the town on the border with Libya last March 7, aiming to win over residents and establish an "emirate" of the Islamic State jihadist group, according to Tunisia's authorities. At least 55 assailants were killed, along with 13 members of the security forces and seven civilians. Tunisia, which was the target of several IS attacks in 2015 in which 72 people were killed -- 59 of them foreign tourists -- has since been spared any major jihadist violence. "March 7...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/17)
Tunisian authorities are to restore a Christian cemetery which has been abandoned since the 2011 revolution and become a target of tomb-raiders, officials said on Monday. The governorate of Greater Tunis said it had been alerted last week of the state of decline of Carthage Byrsa cemetery in a northern suburb of the capital. Omar Mansour, the governor, had visited and seen that around 20 tombs had been opened and a part of the cemetery wall destroyed. He has ordered measures to protect the cemetery, for the ransacked tombs to be repaired and for a new guard to be recruited, local official Houcem Ben Sghaier told AFP. "The last burial was in 1999. Since the 2011 revolution, it has been...
(Xinhuanet 03/06/17)
Tunisia is making preparations to join Africa's largest trading bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the bloc said on Monday. Tunisia is preparing to sign the COMESA Treaty during the next summit scheduled for October this year, which will herald its admission into the regional bloc as the 20th member, according to a statement released by the secretariat based in Lusaka, the Zambian capital. According to the statement, Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed told a COMESA delegation that his country was ready to conclude the negotiations early in readiness for the accession to the COMESA Treaty. The Tunisian government expressed its readiness and commitment to contribute to the realization of COMESA's objectives once the country was...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Tunisia and Germany announced a new agreement on tackling illegal migration, during a visit on Friday by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The accord follows frictions between the two countries over the case of a Tunisian rejected asylum seeker blamed for a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people. This agreement "will satisfy Tunisia and will satisfy Germany," Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said at a joint press conference. Merkel, on a two-day trip which also included a stop in Egypt, said Germany and Tunisia agreed on speedier repatriations for rejected asylum
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A Tunisian businessman resigned from the government Thursday after his appointment as public services and governance minister last week prompted an outcry from the powerful UGTT trade union. Khalil Ghariani was named on Saturday, replacing UGTT official Abid Briki, in what the union condemned as a "provocation". Ghariani is on the board of the employers' federation UTICA, which shared a 2015 Nobel Prize with the UGTT for their work during Tunisia's transition towards democracy after its 2011 revolution. Despite their shared award, the two groups have long been at odds over private sector salary
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
Tunisia welcomed Wednesday a move by Belgium to partially lift travel restrictions on its nationals put in place following a deadly attack on a Tunisian beach resort in 2015. "I welcome... Belgium’s decision to lift part of the restrictions on travel to Tunisia," Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui told reporters after meeting with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders in Tunis. "It think this is an important decision as it recognises Tunisian efforts concerning security." Reynders said the decision was not just a "gesture" but that it reflected "changes on the security front" in Tunisia. "The changes we have made to our travel advice clearly comes from progress made on the ground," he added. Belgium placed restrictions on travel to Tunisia following...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel starts a two-day trip to Egypt and Tunisia on Thursday, part of her push to limit migrant flows to Europe through North Africa, especially chaos-torn Libya. Since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has lacked a national government, which has made it the main gateway for African migrants heading for the 28-member EU on dangerous Mediterranean crossings. Merkel, who faces elections in September, has been under intense pressure to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to Germany, which has taken in over one million migrants since 2015. Her government has urged the Maghreb states and Egypt to step up border controls and speed up repatriations of migrants whose asylum applications
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A group of visitors at a Tunisia zoo has stoned a crocodile to death, authorities in the capital said Wednesday, denouncing the "savage" act. The municipality of Tunis posted gory pictures on Facebook of the dead animal's head next to what appeared to be a bloodied paving slab and another large rock. "A group of visitors to the zoo threw stones at the head of a crocodile, causing internal haemorrhage that killed it," it said. The municipality said the act at the Belvedere Zoo in central Tunis was "savage behaviour". The animal died after being hit on the head by two large rocks late Tuesday afternoon, Amor Ennaifer, a vet at the zoo, told AFP. "It's terrible. You cannot imagine...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/17)
Tunisia is to prosecute six policemen over their response to a 2015 gun and grenade attack on a beach resort that killed 38 foreign holidaymakers, a judiciary spokesman said Wednesday. The announcement comes a day after an inquest into the deaths of the 30 Britons among them found that the response of Tunisian police was "at best shambolic, at worst cowardly". The six policemen, who will remain at liberty pending trial, have been charged with "failing to come to the assistance of a person in danger," said Sofiene Sliti, spokesman for the judiciary's counter-terrorism section. No trial date has yet been set. Sliti said that the six officers were among a total of 33 people who are being prosecuted in...
(Xinhuanet 03/01/17)
Tunisia, a North African country rich in tourism resources, has become an attractive destination after it decided to exempt entry visas for Chinese citizens since mid-February. While the Chinese market is a potential and a strong growth, Tunisia is preparing in equipment and in service to host the Chinese clients better since they are considered as a market of hope. On Feb. 16, Tunisia announced the visa exemption for Chinese citizens in condition that they purchase a round-trip plane ticket and a valid hotel voucher for a period not exceeding 90 days. Wu Wenzhao, who arrived to Tunis from Beijing for a business trip, is among the first beneficiaries of this policy. "I left the Chinese border easily after taking...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Tunisian police response to the 2015 Sousse beach resort massacre was "at best shambolic, at worst cowardly", the judge investigating the deaths of 30 Britons in the attack said Tuesday. "Their response could and should have been more effective," judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said in his conclusions after a series of hearings that began in January. "The response by the police was at best shambolic, at worst cowardly," he said, adding that the hotel guards were not armed and had no walkie-talkies. But he said there was no "neglect" by the tour operator TUI because the victims were "not in a dependent position" and said there was "nothing that the hotel might have done before the attack". Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...

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