| Africatime
Monday 27 March 2017
(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...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
An African road movie about four women wowed its audience Sunday as it kicked off the Panafrican cinema and television festival (Fespaco), a showcase for the continent's burgeoning film industry. "Borders" ("Frontieres") directed by Apolline Traore, a Fespaco laureate in 2013, sweeps across Africa as its protagonists journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin on their way to Nigeria. Along the way the women -- Ivorian, Senegalese, Burkinabe and Nigerian actresses -- are spared nothing as they are beset by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(Xinhuanet 02/24/17)
The Tunisian army has scheduled a series of joint military exercises in 2017, with the collaboration of some European countries and the United States, Belhassen Oueslati, spokesman of Tunisian Defense Ministry, said on Thursday. The spokesman confirmed that these military exercises will cover separate periods in 2017 and different regions of the country, while some of them will be held abroad. Among the countries participating in these military exercises are France, the U.S. and Germany, in addition to the presence of international observers from Spain and the Netherlands. According to Oueslati, these exercises will include joint land and air operations between the Tunisian army and different participating units.
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/17)
Cases of torture in Tunisia are falling but abuses persist in prisons and detention centres, a rights group said Wednesday. The Tunisian Organisation Against Torture (OCTT) reported 153 torture cases in the North African country from January to November. There were 250 cases in the previous year. In a report, it accused authorities of abuses including arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment and threats or attempts at rape. The police were responsible for more than 60 percent of the abuses, followed by prison wardens and the National Guard, it said. "Until now, there has been no real, concrete reform within the security and penitentiary institutions," it said. OCTT president Radhia Nasraoui called for new laws to prevent torture. "Political parties, whether in power...
(Agence Ecofin 02/22/17)
In a circular signed by Samir Taieb and Mabrouk Korchid, respectively Tunisian minister of agriculture and State secretary in charge of public domains and land affairs, it was revealed that 11,000 ha of lands will be given to small farmers in Tunisia’s remote areas. Commenting on the initiative on the sidelines of the Social economy and Solidarity Days, last Feb.20, Taieb said the areas concerned “will be given to young graduates from agriculture schools and small farmers”. However, to benefit from the programme, applicants “must, for example, not already own a land or have a stable source of income”, reads the circular. Souha Touré
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
Algerian, Egyptian and Tunisian foreign ministers met on Sunday in Tunis, Tunisia to discuss ways of ending the Libyan crisis. The initiative proposed by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi is meant to tackle the results of consultations the three countries will have with the Libyan rival factions to reach a convergence of views between them and lay the foundations for a consensual political solution to the crisis. Libya is currently divided between two rival administrations: the Government of National Unity of Fayez al Sarraj that is recognised by the international community and the government controlling the eastern part of the country which supports army chief Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Tunisia, Libya and Algeria are concerned about insecurity at their borders with...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(Xinhuanet 02/18/17)
Two extremist jihadists have been killed by a military patrol in Semmama mountain located in midwestern Kasserine province, the Tunisian Defense Ministry said on Friday. After clashes with a group of armed jihadists in Semama mountain, a unit of the Tunisian army killed two jihadists. According to the Ministry of Defense, a suspect related to this jihadist group was arrested near Semmama mountain. Admitting the continuation of a large-scale sweep operation in the area surrounding Semmama mountain, the Ministry of Defense announced the seizure of a good quantity of weapons of various calibres and ammunition.
(Xinhuanet 02/17/17)
Tunisian officials said Thursday that the visa exemption for Chinese would boost the tourism industry badly hit by terrorist attacks during last two years in this North African country. "From today, the tourists of Chinese nationality will not need a visa to enter Tunisian territory, in the conditions of having a round-trip flight ticket and a valid hotel reservation voucher within 90 days," said Chafik Hajji, general director of consular affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "This is good news for Tunisian tourism, which has succeeded in attracting the Chinese market," said Nabil Hedhiri, head of division and general coordinator of the Tunisian National Tourist Office (ONTT). In an interview with Xinhua, Hedhiri said that the new policy remains...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/17)
Tunisia has extended for another three months a state of emergency in place since a 2015 jihadist attack, the president's office announced Thursday. President Beji Caid Essebsi has decided "to extend the state of emergency for three months from 16 February", his office told AFP. The state of emergency has been in place since a November 2015 jihadist bombing in Tunis that killed 12 presidential guards on a bus. The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed the attack as well as bombings earlier in 2015 at the Bardo National Museum and at a beach resort that killed 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard. They were part of an ongoing jihadist insurgency since a 2011 revolution toppled long-time dictator Zine...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
Tunisia's prime minister on Tuesday rejected German claims that his country has been blocking the return of rejected asylum seekers including the key suspect in the Berlin attack, hours ahead of talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German leader plans to press Youssef Chahed to speed up the repatriations of Tunisians, with the issue taking on greater urgency since the deadly assault on a Berlin Christmas market in December. The jihadist attack which claimed 12 lives has been blamed on Anis Amri, a Tunisian whose asylum application had been rejected half a year earlier, but could not be expelled because of Tunisian bureaucratic delays. Chahed however threw out any criticism. "One thing that I must say very clearly: the Tunisian...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to press Tunisia's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed to speed up the return of rejected asylum seekers when he visits Berlin Tuesday. The issue has become more urgent for Germany since the deadly jihadist attack on a Berlin Christmas market last December, blamed on Anis Amri, a Tunisian who should have been sent back months before. After the attack which claimed 12 lives, it emerged that Amri's asylum application had been rejected half a year earlier, but that he could not be expelled because of Tunisian bureaucratic delays. Merkel plans to discuss with Chahed how to "work more quickly on this, especially in cases involving dangerous militants", she said in her weekly podcast message, adding...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready to make a new deal to help Nigeria "in terms of military weapons." The statement said Trump also commended Buhari for the strides Nigeria is making against Islamist radical group Boko Haram, and invited Buhari to come to Washington at...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Tunisian ex-president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife, already convicted in absentia several times, have been issued new 10-year prison sentences for corruption, authorities said Thursday. They were found guilty Tuesday by a court in Tunis in a case involving "administrative and financial corruption", said prosecution spokesman Sofiene Sliti. Ben Ali, who ruled Tunisia with an iron fist for 23 years, has been living in exile with his wife in Saudi Arabia since fleeing during the 2011 revolution. The case also saw two other officials convicted, including a former minister for the environment who was jailed for five years and another ministry official was sentenced to three. A relative of the exiled president's wife, Leila Trabelsi, was also...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first choice for regular Champions League entrants Coton Sport from northern Cameroon cotton town Garoua. Coton qualified for the 2008 final, losing to Al Ahly of Egypt, but have fared poorly recently with first round exits in the past two seasons...
(Standard Digital 02/09/17)
Hundreds of business and political personalities yesterday attended a German-African economic summit in Nairobi, where German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Mueller talked about his “Marshall Plan” for Africa. The plan is “with Africa, not for Africa,” Mueller (pictured) said, stressing that it would be based on cooperation between equals rather than the principles of traditional development aid. The plan, which Mueller presented to the German parliament’s development committee on Wednesday, is based on fair trade conditions, investment and increasing aid for educational projects. One of the goals of the plan, which the German opposition received with scepticism, is to curb migratory flows from Africa to Europe. Mueller called on German companies to focus on Africa, which he...

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