| Africatime
Saturday 29 April 2017
(Bloomberg 01/10/17)
Farmers in southern Africa face a growing threat amid an outbreak of armyworms, a destructive pest that’s spread to Zimbabwe while continuing to decimate fields in neighboring Zambia. The black-striped caterpillars have infested 124,000 hectares (306,400 acres) of Zambian fields out of 1.4 million planted hectares, Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya told reporters on Tuesday in the capital, Lusaka. That’s up from an estimated 90,000 hectares last week. In Zimbabwe, the fall armyworm has been reported in seven of the eight corn-growing provinces, the government and farmers’ representatives said. The fall armyworm is a “major problem for us,” Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union President Wonder Chabikwa said by phone on Tuesday from Harare, the capital. The spread of the caterpillars is linked...
(Huffingtonpost 01/10/17)
And it’s ironic given the growing consensus that Beijing is the U.S. president-elect’s enemy number one. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden are the duo behind the China Africa Project and hosts of the popular China in Africa Podcast. We’re here to answer your most pressing, puzzling, even politically incorrect questions, about all things related to the Chinese in Africa and Africans in China. The election of Donald Trump has introduced a new era of uncertainty in global politics, especially in Africa where the president-elect has said little about his foreign policy agenda for the continent. Not surprisingly, Trump’s unpredictable, provocative style is sparking widespread concern across the continent as to whether the United States plans to remain engaged in...
(AfricaNews 01/09/17)
24-year-old Second Lieutenant Thokozile Muwamba has made history in Zambia as the country’s first female fighter pilot to be accepted into the male dominated area of the military. After joining the military in 2012, Muwamba was fortunate to be part of the Zambian Air Forces programme to train female pilots who will bridge the gender gap in the field. “Men are not a competition but counterparts that one should work with, and hence women should begin to participate and realise their abilities. Because of this understanding, I am ready to undertake this task ahead of me,” she told local
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results in brackets with W denoting a win, D a draw and L a loss): FAVOURITES Egypt (WWW) Back among the elite and in good form. After winning three consecutive Cup of Nations titles, they failed to qualify for the past...
(Agence Ecofin 01/06/17)
Zambia’s foreign exchange revenues could increase in 2017 as the price of copper rose at the end of 2016. The increase occurred after U.S incoming President, Donald Trump, announced the construction of various infrastructures in his country. Another factor behind the increase is the significant surge in Chinese demand which represents about half of world’s demand. In this context, analysts’ forecasts are very optimistic. U.S investment bank Goldman Sachs said a ton of copper will go for $6,200. Molly Shut, Analyst at BMI Research, even advanced that copper’s global market will be in deficit by 2019. Operation-wise, giants of the sector also share this optimism. Andrew Cole, Chief Analyst at Metal Bulletin Research said many investors were building treasury to...
(Lusaka Times 01/06/17)
Zambia’s largest taxpayer, First Quantum Minerals (FQM), was responsible for more than a third of government income from the mining sector in 2015, accounting for K3.3 billion of revenue to the State. The company’s contribution to the nation’s coffers is expected to have risen further in 2016 with the increased copper production from its Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila. According to analysis by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) ten companies contributed approximately 88 percent of total government revenues from the extractive industries sector in 2015, with FQM’s Kansanshi Mining accounting for almost 23.60 percent of the total extractive revenues for the year from mineral royalties, income tax, pay-as-you earn (PAYE), VAT, customs duties and other taxes and fees. “These figures...
(Agence Ecofin 01/06/17)
Indian firm Aaviskaar Venture Management Services (AVMS) has announced plans to raise between $100 million and $150 million for Africa investments. “We will start the fund-raising around the middle of 2017 and we expect to close it in 2018,” said Vineet Rai, founder of Intellecap-Aavishkaar group. The new African fund will focus on investing on African low-income groups, especially in the agriculture, finance and financial technology sectors. “We will use the sow-tend-reap strategy of multiple round investing and will be an early investor,” Rai told local Indian media Regions targeted are West and East Africa, especially Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana. Investments will range from half a million to $5 million. The investment firm’s expansion strategy in Africa...
(AfricaNews 01/05/17)
The law makes reference to mothers, but applies to every working woman irrespective of whether they are mothers or not. According to Zambia’s labour laws, female workers are allowed to take a day off duty each month. The law is seen as a reprieve to women during that time of the month – when they are in their period. The law is so wide open that women are allowed to absent themselves when they want to and without any medical justification to back their absence – that seems to be the major point of contention, interestingly among men and women alike. We have been educating women about Mother's Day, telling them that on that day, they are supposed to rest...
(Bloomberg 01/04/17)
Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board cut fuel prices after President Edgar Lungu said this weekend he expected it to do so even as Brent crude climbed 13 percent last month. Gasoline prices will fall by 8.8 percent to 13.7 kwacha ($1.26) per liter, while diesel will drop 6 percent to 10.72 kwacha per liter, the regulator told reporters Tuesday in Lusaka, the capital. The changes are effective midnight. The government increased fuel prices by more than 30 percent in October in a bid to remove the subsidies that the International Monetary Fund had criticized, as it prepares to start talks for an aid package with the Washington-based lender in February. The energy regulator said the price cut was calculated following an...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/04/17)
Zambian workers have downed tools at a mine and copper processing plant belonging to Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a unit of Vedanta Resources, in a dispute over the pace of wage talks, a union official said on Wednesday. "The day shift workers have not entered the plant, they are protesting the slow pace of salary negotiations," National Union of Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW) trustee Jonathan Musukwa told Reuters. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Susan Fenton)
(AFP (eng) 01/04/17)
Italy vowed Wednesday to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests have been rejected, after a riot in a reception centre sparked by the death of a young woman. The country, which has been on the frontline of migrants arriving across the Mediterranean from North Africa, is pushing for an agreement with Niger and a renewed deal with Tunisia to facilitate returns. "We have saved many lives but we cannot accept rule-breaking. We need to speed up deportations," Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the country's former interior minister, said in an interview with La Stampa daily. He was "working to tie up agreements which will reduce arrivals and prevent departures" from the coast of North Africa, he said after a record...
(Bloomberg 01/03/17)
Zambia must intensify its fight against an outbreak of armyworms that’s wiping out fields of the staple corn crop, posing a threat to the southern African nation’s food security, Vice President Inonge Wina said. “They are posing a big threat to food security in the country,” she said in remarks broadcast Monday on Hot FM radio in Lusaka, the capital. “They have come with such a force of mass destruction that has to be faced head on. We need to put more effort into eradicating the worms.” The black-striped caterpillars can appear between December and May, as armies of the pest spanning miles and as dense as 1,100 per square meter (10.8 square feet) march through fields, destroying entire crops...
(Agence Ecofin 01/03/17)
Zambia tax administration declared last Wednesday that the government will not return $243 million (2.4 billion kwacha) out of 5 billion kwacha of taxes it owes mining firms operating in the country. Kingsley Chanda, head of the Zambia Revenue Authority, told Reuters that the decision is due to the fact that the concerned companies did not provide documentation they were asked. Zambia’s government started last June, paying up to 800 million kwacha per month as reimbursement of the VAT tax it owes mining companies. The payback comes as an attempt to end an old conflict in which the miners ask for about $700 million of VAT to be returned by the State. Zambia, Africa’s second largest copper producer, hosts mining...
(BBC News Africa 01/03/17)
An electricity grid for the whole village Problem: A total of 1.3 billion people worldwide currently don't have electricity, according to Yale Environment 360. Getting people in rural areas on to the national grid is proving too difficult and traditional solar panels generate meagre amounts of energy. Solution: Steamaco makes solar and battery micro-grids which can work for a whole village. They are small electricity generation and distribution systems that operate independently of larger grids. How it works: Micro-grids are nothing new. The new part is that Steamaco's technology automates the regulation of electricity. So, if the system detects there will be a surge in demand for electricity, for example on a Saturday night when people want to start playing...
(Voice of America 12/30/16)
2016 was predicted to be a tough year for African economies, and it delivered. Traditional economic leaders faltered this year amid a storm of falling commodity prices, unpredictable and destructive weather like droughts and floods across large swaths of the the continent. Slow economic growth in China, a major investor and trading partner, only added to their challenges. “This year, you’ve seen the two Africas: the commodity exporters going through tough times, while the non-commodity exporters being more resilient,” Nigerian economist Nonso Obikili, who researches Nigerian and sub-Saharan economic trends for Economic Research Southern Africa, told VOA. He says 2016 has been hard on African commodity giants as oil prices fell to lows not seen since the global financial crisis...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
Zambia has ordered the national air force into action to fight a plague of pests that has invaded maize crops and threatened vital food supplies. The air force is transporting pesticides across the country so that fields can be sprayed in an attempt to combat infestations of "army worms", a type of larvae moth that can decimate crops. "The Zambia Air Force has since begun to airlift chemicals," President Edward Lungu's spokesman said in statement. "The president has directed that the chemicals that were purchased under
(Reuters (Eng) 12/29/16)
Zambia's President Edgar Lungu ordered the air force on Wednesday to join other government agencies in an emergency operation to contain the spread of pests that have invaded maize fields in many parts of the country. The armyworms, which feast on young maize plants and are capable of wiping out entire fields, have been spotted in about six of Zambia's 10 provinces, Agriculture Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa said. On Wednesday the Zambia Air Force began airlifting pesticides to the four worst affected provinces and will team up with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in responding to the crisis, presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said in a statement. The air force will not carry out...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...

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