Saturday 27 May 2017
(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...
(Xinhuanet 02/08/17)
Algerian and Tunisian officials on Tuesday agreed on working to increase and optimize energy supply on the border areas of the two neighboring North African nations. The two nations held their bilateral energy committee in Algiers, as part of the visit of Tunisian Energy Minister Hela Cheikh Rouhou. The meeting focused on ways and means to boost energy interconnection network between the two nations, in a bid to increase electricity and supply to the border areas, said a statement of the Algerian Energy Ministry quoted by APS news agency.
(AL Jazeera 02/08/17)
The EU must espouse a transnational approach with a clear development agenda that replaces its current security policy. One year ago, 22-year-old Patrick left Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, to become a football star in Europe. A talented midfielder and an ambitious young man, Patrick felt compelled to reach Europe to help him to realise his dreams. But, as he passed through Agadez in Niger, which has become a major transit hub for migrants taking the Central Mediterranean route, reality proved to be grimmer than he had anticipated. Patrick and two of his male relatives, also travelling from Douala, were beaten, robbed and held captive by organised predatory groups. Finally, their tumultuous journey came to an end in Algeria,...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is expected to raise about $500 million for its new African investment fund, attracting less than its original goal as investor interest in the region proved weaker than anticipated, according to people familiar with the matter. The Toronto-based insurer sought to raise as much as $1 billion at $10 a share for Fairfax Africa Holdings Corp. in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a regulatory filing in December. Fairfax said it had secured as much as $416 million in commitments for the African venture from both its own funds and partners, including the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, a Canadian pension fund and CI Investments Inc., according to the...
(Xinhuanet 02/03/17)
T20 Africa Conference, the meeting for the G20 think tanks and African countries, ended on Friday in Johannesburg with a commitment to accelerate cooperation between the G20 and Africa. The three-day conference aimed to chart a course for the future cooperation between Africa and the G20. The day ended with the formulation of the communique which will be given to the current G20 chair Germany. The communique will also be the reference for further discussion between Africa and T20. T20 comprises of the G20 think tanks. Dr. Christine Hackenesch, researcher at the German Development Institute (DIE) said, "There was an agreement that there must be a continuous and sustained engagement between G20 and Africa because there is a strong dependence...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/02/17)
African leaders have backed a "strategy of collective withdrawal" from the International Criminal Court (ICC), but it came with unspecified reservations, an African Union official said on Wednesday after this week's African Union summit. The official did not give details about the strategy or the reservations, but it highlights broad antipathy towards the court among Africans who feel the ICC unfairly targets them. A document seen by Reuters before the summit proposed a co-ordinated withdrawal unless the ICC was reformed. It included a call for "regionalization" of international law, a reference to proposals for an African war crimes court. Almost a third of the ICC's 124 members are African, and a withdrawal by a large number of them would cripple...
(Xinhuanet 02/01/17)
Newly elected senior officials of the African Union (AU) Commission, including Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, were sworn in on Tuesday at the conclusion of the 28th AU summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. In addition to the two top officials, other officials took the oath for positions including, peace and security; political affairs; trade and industry; social affairs; infrastructure and energy; and rural economy and agriculture. The 28th AU summit also elected Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea, for a rotating chairmanship of the African Union. In his acceptance speech on Monday, Conde said, "It is with honor and humility that I accept to preside at the destiny of our Organization during the year...
(Xinhuanet 01/28/17)
The African Union (AU) has been endeavoring to ensure robust, resilient and long-lasting economic transformation of Africa through promotion of infrastructure and energy development on the continent, noted Elham Mahmood Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy. Speaking at a press conference Friday ahead of the 28th AU leaders' summit here, the commissioner said the pan-African bloc has scored achievements in its flagship projects and programs on the development of energy, transport as well as in the information and communication technology (ICT) areas, which she said are the biggest priorities in Africa's infrastructure sector. In cooperation and coordination with its regional, continental, and international partners, AU has been committed to development of infrastructure on the continent, which facilitates trade, economic...
(Bloomberg 01/27/17)
Barclays Africa Group Ltd. was targeted by protesters who entered one of its branches on Thursday and demanded the bank pay back money from a bailout provided to a company it bought before the end of apartheid. Demonstrators linked to the youth league of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress gathered outside the branch in Durban on South Africa’s east coast, Johannesburg-based Barclays Africa said in an e-mailed response to questions. Police ensured customers and staff were protected during the incident, it said. The protests come after the leaking of a draft report compiled by South Africa’s graft ombudsman that said Barclays Africa, which traded as Absa then, may have unduly benefited from state support when it bought Bankorp in...
(Xinhuanet 01/26/17)
Adopting African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) has been named a major task for the African Union (AU) this year as the 30th session of its Executive Council opened on Wednesday. In her remarks at the opening of the meeting, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, called for member countries' commitment to meeting the first target in Agenda 2063 of commencing the CFTA by end of 2017. She underlines the need "to do what needs to be done on the free movement of persons, so that we unlock opportunities for intra-African trade, studies, business and tourism." In her remarks at the opening of the 33rd session of the AU Permanent Representatives Committee on Sunday, Dlamini-Zuma said the AU's major...
(Bloomberg 01/25/17)
Taiwan’s last two African allies have no plans to switch allegiances and break ties with Taipei as Beijing tries to woo the self-ruled island’s diplomatic partners. Burkina Faso won’t cut relations with Taiwan despite people and companies with links to China offering funding in return for recognition of the One-China principle, according to Foreign Minister Alpha Barry. Swaziland said its relationship with Taiwan is based on mutual interests, not on money. “We get outrageous proposals telling us, ‘if you sign with Beijing we’ll offer you $50 billion or even more,’’’ Barry said in an interview in the capital, Ouagadougou, this month. “Taiwan is our friend and our partner. We’re happy and we see no reason to reconsider the relationship.” Competition...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/17)
Tunisia trounced Zimbabwe 4-2 in Gabon Monday to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals as star-stacked Algeria were eliminated after the first round. Naim Sliti, Youssef Msakni, Taha Yassine Khenessi and Wahbi Khazri scored in Libreville as the Tunisian Carthage became the first side at the 2017 finals to score four goals in a match. Algeria drew 2-2 with a virtual Senegal 'B' side in Franceville at the same time with star striker Islam Slimani finally finding form to bag a brace. This was the second 2-2 draw for the Algerian Desert Foxes after a similar result against Zimbabwe, and a 2-1 loss to neighbours Tunisia in between proved costly. Many pundits had placed Algeria among the title favourites...
(Cnbc Africa 01/24/17)
While Brexit and the U.S. election dominated headlines in 2016, the African continent witnessed major changes of its own. Its two largest economies were destabilized, with Nigeria being driven into recession and the South African political elite grappling for power. Conflict continued to make news, with the continuation of people trafficking across the Mediterranean and violence in South Sudan bubbling over. Macroeconomic concerns Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa fell to 1.5 percent in 2016 according to the World Bank, which deemed this "the weakest pace in over two decades." The slowdown was chiefly blamed on low commodity prices. But, the organization forecasts growth of 2.9 percent in the region for 2017. Africa's two biggest economies have a lot to account for...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Tunisia's Nobel Peace Prize-winning UGTT labour union opened a key annual congress on Sunday to debate strategy and elect a new leader. The powerful Tunisian General Labour Union played a key role in the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. It has also been at the heart of the country's post-revolution transition, seen as a rare success story after the Arab Spring revolutions. The congress, attended by some 500 delegates, is set to elect a new leader to replace Houcine Abassi, who took office in 2011 just months after Ben Ali's fall. With more than half a million members, the UGTT was among four civil society groups that played an important part in a 2013...
(AFP (eng) 01/20/17)
Italy's foreign minister pledged Thursday to strengthen cooperation with Tunisia to combat illegal migration and "terrorism", a month after a Tunisian failed asylum seeker allegedly killed 12 people in Berlin. Angelino Alfano, on a one-day visit to Tunis, met with his counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui and President Beji Caid Essebsi and promised closer relations between the two Mediterranean nations. "We plan to reinforce our ties," Alfano said following his meeting with Essebsi. "We share the same concerns on important issues such as terrorism and immigration." Tunisian Anis Amri, 24, is believed to have hijacked a truck and used it to mow down revellers at a Berlin
(Voice of America 01/20/17)
By most measures, Africa is safer today than it has been in the modern era: Diseases are less deadly and wars are less frequent. But recent years have also been marked by a rise in radical extremism on the continent, and the terror threat could derail some of the world's fastest-growing economies. Dealing with the spread of radicalization has been a central focus of U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy during his time in office. Few areas have been spared over the past eight years, with much of the continent living in the shadow of a violent extremist group: al-Shabab in Somalia and East Africa, Islamic State (IS) in Libya, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, the Lord's...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/17)
Tunisia scored twice in the second half to beat Algeria 2-1 in Franceville Thursday and haul themselves back into contention for an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals place. An Aissa Mandi own-goal broke the deadlock and Naim Sliti converted a penalty as the Tunisians atoned for a 2-0 defeat by Senegal in their opening Group B game. Substitute Sofiane Hanni scored a consolation goal for the Algerian Desert Foxes a minute into stoppage time. Among the pre-tournament favourites, Algeria have only one point from two matches and must defeat top-ranked African team Senegal next Monday to have a chance of survival. Senegal will become the first qualifiers for the quarter-finals if they defeat Zimbabwe later Thursday in the second part...

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