Friday 24 November 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday, the government said, as the battle between Mnangagwa and Mugabe's wife Grace to succeed the veteran leader intensified. "(President) Mugabe has exercised his powers to relieve honourable vice president E.D. Mnangagwa of his position as vice president," Information Minister Simon Khaya Moyo told a press briefing in Harare, accusing him of "disloyalty". Mugabe's dramatic move came after a weekend of high drama between Mnangagwa and Grace after which Mugabe appeared to finally back his wife in the succession race.
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has fired Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president after he showed “traits of disloyalty”, his information minister said on Monday, removing a favourite to succeed the 93-year-old leader. Mnangagwa’s removal provides a boost for Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who has been a vocal critic of the vice president and is also seen as a potential successor to her husband. “The vice president has consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability,” minister Simon Khaya Moyo told reporters. “It had become evident that his conduct in his discharge of his duties had become inconsistent with his official responsibilities.” Neither Mnangagwa nor his aides could immediately be reached for comment. Grace, 52, called Mnangagwa...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
President Robert Mugabe's wife on Sunday said she is ready to succeed her husband as tensions rise in Zimbabwe's ruling party over who will take over from the country's ageing leader. "I say to Mr Mugabe you should ... leave me to take over your post," she said in an address to thousands of indigenous church followers at a stadium in Harare. "Have no fear. If you want to give me the job give it to me freely," Grace Mugabe said. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been touted as a possible successor to the 93-year-old Mugabe, has recently fallen out with him. On Saturday the president threatened to fire Mnangagwa, accusing him of fanning factionalism to garner support ahead...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe openly pilloried his deputy and possible successor Saturday, saying he might sack him, in a combative speech at a rally where his wife Grace was booed by some in the crowd. The 93-year-old leader's remarks exposed tensions in the ruling ZANU-PF party over who stands to take power after him, an event only expected when Mugabe dies but a generational change likely to prompt bitter battles. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, nicknamed "the Crocodile", is one of the top candidates. But Grace Mugabe -- 41 years younger than her husband -- has become increasingly active in public life in what many say is a political grooming process to help her eventually take the top job. Mnangagwa has...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
A 25-year-old American journalist charged with attempting to overthrow Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, on account of an alleged tweet that described the ageing leader as "selfish and sick", was remanded in custody Saturday after denying the accusations. Martha O'Donovan, who appeared in court in the capital Harare, was charged with subversion as well as undermining or insulting Mugabe, now 93. The arrest of O'Donovan and the seizure of her laptop in a dawn raid at her apartment on Friday, came just weeks after the government appointed a cyber security minister tasked with policing social media. Prosecutors said that on October 11, O'Donovan posted a message on Twitter under username "@matigary" which said: "We are being led by a selfish and...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
Zimbabwean police arrested a US citizen on Friday for allegedly tweeting that President Robert Mugabe is a "goblin whose wife and step-son bought a Rolls-Royce," lawyers said. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said officers detained Martha O'Donovan in a dawn raid at her home just weeks after Mugabe appointed a cyber security minister charged with policing social media. Police confiscated her laptop and transferred O'Donovan, who works for Harare-based Magamba TV, to the city's central police station, the group added in its statement. "The reported offensive and insulting tweet does not make any mention of the president's name...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has maintained its growth forecast for Zimbabwe of 2.8 percent in 2017, lower than the 3.7 percent projected by the government. According to the latest IMF Regional Economic Outlook Report for Sub-Saharan Africa, launched on Monday, the Zimbabwean economy is forecast to grow by 0.8 percent in 2018, below the expected average of 3.4 percent for southern Africa. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya, however, said Zimbabwe still expected the economy to expand by 3.7 percent in 2017, state-run news agency New Ziana reported. Mangudya bemoaned sanctions and continued isolation of the country by the West, saying this was impacting negatively on the country's ability to access "patient capital." Mangudya said the "smart" sanctions...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/27/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is back in a South African hospital for a medical review, nearly two weeks after he returned home from that country, his spokesman said on Friday, denying reports that he was critically ill. Tsvangirai, who suffered severe vomiting after a party meeting and was in September airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital where he spent nearly a month receiving treatment and recuperating. He returned to Zimbabwe on Oct. 13 but has not been seen in public since. “He came back knowing full well he would return for a review and he went for the review as scheduled,” Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesman said. He could not say when he expected Tsvangirai back. Tsvangirai’s illness...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
An emergency tray at a public hospital in Zimbabwe stands empty, for medical supplies have run out -- one example why President Robert Mugabe's brief appointment as WHO "goodwill ambassador" provoked such outrage. Under Mugabe's rule, life expectancy in Zimbabwe dived from 61 in 1985 to just 44 in 2002, before recovering to 60 today, due largely to international aid. The major causes of the country's health crisis have been the collapse of healthcare, falling standards of living as the economy has crumbled, and the struggle to tackle HIV-AIDS, experts say. At the large public hospital near the capital Harare, doctors say syringes, surgical gloves and basic painkillers are all in short supply day-to-day. They requested that the hospital's name...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe did not know he had been appointed as a goodwill ambassador for the World Health Organization but would have rejected the role that has since been rescinded, state media reported Tuesday. The WHO on Sunday reversed its decision to award the 93-year-old the honour to help fight disease after widespread global uproar. "The president was quite surprised that he had been appointed a goodwill ambassador," Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba told The Herald newspaper. "There was nothing, whether verbal or written, from the WHO intimating that WHO wished to make the president a goodwill ambassador in respect of...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/24/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Robert Mugabe would have rejected the role of World Health Organization goodwill envoy had he been formally asked, his spokesman said on Tuesday, days after state media cheered the Zimbabwean president’s appointment. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus named Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador on Wednesday at a conference in Uruguay that both men were attending. But the appointment was rescinded on Sunday following a backlash from Western donors, rights groups and opposition parties. Last Friday, the state-owned Herald celebrated the largely ceremonial appointment as a “New feather in President’s cap”, adding that Mugabe, 93, had accepted the role. His spokesman told the same newspaper on Tuesday that Zimbabwe’s sole leader since independence from Britain in 1980 had...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
The head of the World Health Organization on Sunday reversed his decision to name Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador following widespread uproar against the appointment. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian health minister who took charge of the UN agency in July, had earlier this week given Mugabe the honorary role to help combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa. But activists, public health experts and key WHO donors like Britain, Canada and the United States condemned the move, saying Zimbabwe's healthcare system has collapsed under Mugabe's 37-year authoritarian rule.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The United Nations faced criticism Friday after naming Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a "goodwill ambassador" to promote health causes, despite the country's dire health crisis under his rule. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) asked Mugabe to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa. Mugabe, 93, was in Uruguay for the announcement by WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said he was "honoured to announce that President Mugabe has agreed to serve as a goodwill ambassador on NCDs for Africa." Tedros hailed Zimbabwe as "a country that places universal...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...

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