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  • France returns historic 19th century sword of Senegalese scholar
    French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe was in Senegal over the weekend on an official visit. He held talks with President Macky Sall was the two countries signed seven bilateral accords. A major historic and cultural highlight of the visit was France’s restoration to Senegal of a sword belonging to a 19th Century Islamic scholar and ruler, Hajj Umar Saidou Tall, who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French. France has in recent years pledged the return of historic artefacts looted from its former colonies especially in West Africa. A typical case in point is with Beninese artefacts locked up in French museums. The Prime Minister at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Dakar handed over the relic – curved iron, brass and wood sword in its sheath to President Macky Sall. Reports indicate that descendants of the scholar were present at the ceremony. Their representative thank both governments for working towards the restitution. PM Philippe stressed that the return was “the first step” in Paris’ resolve to returning more Senegalese artefacts currently in French museums.
  • Algerian protesters rally against presidential campaign
    Algerian protesters say the country’s December presidential elections will not be fair. Their reactions follow the launch of the presidential campaign by five Algerian candidates on Sunday. “We are here to say no that elections won’t happen, elections won’t happen until people decide they will. The people are the ones to decide when and how to organise an election”, an angry protester said “People are against elections held this way, we have been protesting for nine months to say no to the gangs, no elections with the gangs”, a protester said. The ‘Hirak’ opposition movement has said it will not support any election until more senior government officials step down. The movement emerged this year from weekly mass protests. They have been demanding the ruling hierarchy quits power. The five candidates have close links with the institution and despite some of them pushing for reforms, they are seen as part of the ruling elite. Reuters
  • Five candidates running for Algeria's 'controversial' presidential polls
    Algeria’s presidential campaign officially kicked off Sunday with five candidates vying to replace the country’s longtime leader, who was pushed out in April amid sustained protests. Two former prime ministers, Ali Benflis and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, are among those running in the Dec. 12 election to succeed former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Big crowds took to the streets Friday for a 39th consecutive week to demand an end to Algeria’s post-colonial political system. Protesters say they don’t trust those currently in power to ensure democratic elections, citing their past links to Bouteflika. Benflis and Tebboune are considered the favorites of the vote. The other candidates are: former tourism minister and moderate Islamist Abdelkader Bengrina; former culture minister and current interim secretary of the RND party that was in the governing coalition, Azzedine Mihoubi; and Belaid Abdelaziz, who heads the small El Moustakbel (Future) party that’s close to the FLN, both of which remain part of the ruling coalition. In some neighborhoods of Algiers, protesters have hung black trash bags on billboards featuring the candidates’ portraits, often sprayed with the words “election of shame” and “traitors.” Benflis said this week that “this election is not held in ideal conditions, I know that, but I consider it is the shorter and less risky path to get Algeria out of the political impasse caused by the former regime.” Tebboune acknowledged the “special climate” of the electoral process. Speaking on television earlier this month, he justified his candidacy by saying he wanted to “put Algeria back on good tracks.” “Some Algerians are against the election, but I know a majority are for it,” he said. Army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, who has emerged as the country’s authority figure, repeatedly vowed that “all security conditions will be met so that Algerians can fulfill their electoral duty in full serenity.” AP
  • Burkinabe army kills 32 terrorists, frees sex slaves
    Burkina Faso’s army says 32 Islamic extremists were killed over the weekend in the country’s north and several women used as sex slaves were freed. An army statement says one soldier was also killed in the latest clashes as the extremist presence grows in the West African nation. The statement says 24 extremists were killed in hours of intense fighting Friday in Yorsala after a military patrol was ambushed. The following day, an army offensive near Bourzanga killed eight extremists and recovered a stash of weapons. Burkina Faso’s president earlier this month vowed to hunt down extremists after they killed at least 37 people in an attack on a convoy carrying employees of a Canadian mining company. It was called the deadliest attack since Islamic extremists became active in the country in 2015. AP
  • Niger's exiled opposition chief back in jail after return home
    Hama Amadou, the main opposition leader in Niger’s last presidential election recently returned from medical exile in France but has since hauled into jail. Multiple news portals said the former Speaker of the National Assembly, appeared before the Niger High Court after he was summoned on his return. He was escorted by security official to the Filingue prison, a local outlet Niger Tribune reported. Amadou’s return to the country was mainly due to the death of his mother. He was pictured with other allies visiting the tomb of his mother in the capital Niamey. Hama Amadou, was held in jail for several months before the 2016 presidential vote on charges of baby trafficking, accusations that he dismissed as politically motivated. He was president Issoufou’s main challenger in the vote. Amadou was released from jail to fly to France for medical treatment. He came second in the vote despite being absent from the country. President Mahammadou Issoufou has confirmed that he will step down when next elections are help in 2021. The ruling coalition earlier this year chose Interior Minister Bazoum Mohammed as its candidate. The Minister was among several dignitaries who met with Amadou since his return from exile to the West African nation. A new electoral code passed last year bars him from contesting for the presidency. Rencontre entre #Bazoum_Mohamed et #Hama_Amadou Le puissant ministre nigérien de l'Intérieur et candidat du parti au pouvoir (#PNDS), Bazoum Mohamed, a rendu une visite au chef de file de l'opposition, Hama Amadou, pour présenter ses condoléances à la suite du décès de sa mère.— Niger Tribune (@NigerTribune) November 15, 2019
  • South Africa’s main opposition party appoints interim leader
    South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA) on Sunday appointed John Steenhuisen as interim leader a month after the country’s main opposition party was thrown into chaos by the sudden resignation of Mmusi Maimane. Maimane, who was appointed as leader to broaden the traditionally white liberal party’s appeal to black voters, quit in October in a blow to the DA’s attempts to shed its image as a party of white privilege. Race and class remain highly divisive issues in South Africa two decades after the end of apartheid, and some analysts think Maimane’s departure could exacerbate an exodus of black voters from the DA, damaging its chances in 2021 municipal elections. The DA’s share of the vote fell to 20.8% in this year’s election, from 22.2% five years ago, losing votes to the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters and the mainly Afrikaner Freedom Front Plus. Steenhuisen’s appointment until 2020 following a meeting of the DA’s federal council, returns the party to white leadership after four years under Maimane, who said efforts to shake off perceptions that the DA was a party for the white minority had been undermined by some of his colleagues. Others who quit warned it was lurching back to the right. Steenhuisen told a press briefing that the race-based policies of the ruling African National Congress had not worked and that the DA was the only party fighting for a truly non-racial South Africa with equality of opportunity. “Our fight is to lift more people out of poverty and lift them into opportunity, and restore the dignity of many South Africans who are still, 25 years after the end of apartheid, waiting for their freedom,” Steenhuisen said. Steenhuisen started his career as a party activist and rose through the DA’s ranks from municipal councillor to national lawmaker, before becoming chief whip and now party leader. While he embraces inclusive politics, analysts say his background means he is trusted by the party’s old guard. Ivan Meyer was also appointed during Sunday’s meeting as the DA’s interim federal chairperson, replacing Athol Trollip, who resigned alongside Maimane. Both he and Steenhuisen will hold the positions until permanent leaders are elected in 2020. Reuters
  • Gambia close to getting first post-Jammeh constitution
    The Gambia is gearing up for a new constitution as part of reform efforts following years of authoritarian rule by exiled leader Yahya Jammeh. A government body mandated with the mission, the Constitutional Review Commission of Gambia, last week released a draft copy of the document. CRC Gambia Chairperson Justice Cherno Jallow announcing the release of the document late last week emphasized that it had from the onset (preamble) clarified The Gambia as a multi-party democratic state founded on the rule of law. Given its immediate past presidential history of a highhanded executive president, a lot of people have been looking at areas surrounding human rights and how to combat corruption. Others took to social media platforms – Twitter and Facebook to express their praise and reservations. The exchange ranged from whether or not the country had to be Islamic or secular, through to the issues of freedom of speech and human rights. The CRC was established by an Act of the National Assembly in June, 2018. The Commission’s main functions are to review and analyze the current Constitution, draft a new Constitution for the Republic of The Gambia and prepare a report in relation to the new Constitution. The CRC describes itself as an independent body that carried out its task without the direction or control of any person or authority. It said as an institution, it is guided by the core values of inclusiveness, independence, integrity and participation Here are some facts about the draft constitution. 1 – The draft Constitution comprises 20 chapters (3 less than what is contained in the current Constitution); it has a total of 315 clauses. 2 – Specific provision is made outlining the duties and obligations of citizens, including the duty to protect and preserve public property, and to expose or engage in any lawful act to prevent the misuse and waste of public funds and property. 3 – Generally, Gambians were of the opinion that a child born in The Gambia of non-Gambian parents should be accorded automatic citizenship. 4 – The current Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is being transformed into the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IBEC) and given the constitutional authority for the delineation of electoral boundaries. 5 – The number of Cabinet Ministers a President can appoint is capped at fifteen, excluding the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. 6 – Only elected members shall constitute the National Assembly; (i) 53 elected from single member constituencies; (ii) 14 elected women, two from each Administrative Area; and (iii) 2 persons, elected by persons with disabilities from amongst the members of the federation representing such persons. 7 – The legislature (National Assembly – is barred from amending the law to allow extension of the mandate of a president. 8 – The term limit for a president is two five-year terms. A president can thus serve for a decade in office. CRCGambia the most impressive part of draft constitution is that every member of the national assembly will be directly elected by the people . No more nominated members .I totally support this provision and I hope it make it in the constitution . #Gambia— Diabbie (Mansafather) November 16, 2019 Some people are so literal to be honest. Gambia isn’t and will never be one. CRC should really look into reinstating the secular in our constitution. The state should be very much neutral when it comes to religion.— Uncle Michael ???? (@Micky_jatta) November 17, 2019 CRCGambia LawHubGambia will there be a protection for freedom of speech in the new Gambia constitution. There is protection for free expression and assembly but freedom of speech is equally if not more important. Gambians need freedom of speech.— Lamin Sawo (@Sawo_J) November 17, 2019 After 18-month consultations, #Gambia Constitutional Review Comm’n (CRC) today presented for comment a new post -Jammeh democratic Constitution. Strong rights . Limits Prez to 2 terms.… Explanations here…— Reed Brody (@ReedBrody) November 15, 2019 #Gambia’s Draft Constitution: Freedom of expression & Freedom of the media— Sulayman Makalo (@MakaloMansa) November 17, 2019
  • Burundi main opposition leader dispels exile rumors, ready for 2020 polls
    Burundi’s main opposition leader Agathon Rwasa has confirmed plans that his party will contest in elections slated for next year. He also denounced what he described as “arrangements” aimed at “getting rid” of his party, the National Freedom Council. With months before the 2020 presidential election, the historic opposition figure also dispelled rumours of going to exile amid government’s intimidation to the opposition party members and supporters. “Are you asking if I’m going into exile or going to hide? No I’m not. Go tell them there is no question of going into exile, there is no question of going into hiding, what we’re doing is preparing for 2020.” “The goal of these arrangements is to get rid of the CNL, to try to hurt Rwasa, to disband the CNL militants, to ensure the CNL’s rivals that they can cruise through the upcoming elections,” Rwasa told journalists. Intimidation of suspected opposition supporters has been rife since a constitutional referendum in May last year and the abuses have increased since CNL was registered in February, according to Human Rights Watch.
  • Pro-Bashir protesters against Sudan's 'ICC surrender' plans
    Supporters of ousted Sudanese leader Omar Al-Bashir held a protest Saturday vowing to oppose any move by the country’s new authorities to hand him over to the International Criminal Court, ICC. The former president is wanted for his alleged role in the Darfur war that erupted in 2003 as ethnic African rebels took up arms against Bashir’s then Arab-dominated government. The protesters were rejecting the proposed use of foreign tribunals to handle Sudanese matters. Diaa al-dine Mohammed, an official of Bashir’s National Congress Party told the media: “We call on the Sudanese government to refrain from handing him to ICC since it questions the integrity of the Sudanese judiciary. We have trust in our own judicial system and it has proven its professionalism throughout our political history.” About 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the 2003 conflict, according to the United Nations. The ICC has accused Bashir of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.. He denies the charges. Bashir, who ruled Sudan for three decades after seizing power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, is being held in a Khartoum prison and facing trial on corruption charges.
  • Top Ethiopian activist to reclaim citizenship and contest in 2020 polls
    Jawar Mohammed, a former ally turned foe of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, told AFP on Saturday he would join the race for a 2020 election to ensure that it is “free and fair”. Jawar, a media mogul and activist who was at the centre of last month’s deadly protests in Addis Ababa, is credited with helping to sweep Abiy to power but has recently criticised some of the premier’s policies. Jawar told an audience in the US state of Minnesota that he would run in next year’s vote, a decision he confirmed to AFP by phone. “I’ve not decided which position or which party. What I’ve decided is to run,” he said. “The purpose is to help to ensure the election is free and fair. I want to add my voice and my influence to ensure the election is free and fair. And I want to make sure the federalist voices are given enough space in the debate.” Both Abiy, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Jawar are from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, and their feud highlights divisions within the Oromo support base that could complicate the prime minister’s bid for a five-year term. Ethiopian-born Jawar said he would have to give up his current US citizenship and reclaim Ethiopian citizenship to be able to enter the contest, in which he said he could run for the Oromia regional parliament or the national assembly. Jawar, who has 1.7 million followers on Facebook, said he would return to Ethiopia within 10 days to start the paperwork needed for his candidacy. Ethiopia’s general election is scheduled for May 2020, but many observers expect the vote to be delayed as preparations are already running behind schedule. AFP
  • Angola president happy with election of main opposition leader
    Angolan president Joao Lourenco has welcomed the country’s new opposition chief to the political playground with a message posted on his Twitter handle. “I congratulate Adalberto da Costa Junior on his election as President of the largest opposition party. May this election represent the strengthening of opposition in the interests of democracy,” a translation of the message posted in Portuguese read. Felicito Adalberto da Costa Júnior pela sua eleição a Presidente do maior Partido da oposição. Que esta eleição represente o fortalecimento da oposição,a bem da democracia.— João Lourenço (@jlprdeangola) November 15, 2019 Adalberto Costa Junior of UNITA party was elected late last week to lead the former rebel group turned political party. He won the most votes at a three-day congress of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola which ended Friday in Luanda. He took over from Isaias Samakuva, who resigned after 16 years at the helm. Addressing his supporters in the capital Luanda on Saturday, the 57-year-old stressed his resolve to further unite the party and lead it to serve the greater interests of the masses in the southern African country. “Now on, from today, I take on my role as president at the heart of UNITA, for everyone and for all members, be they activists or sympathizers, without any reservation or exception. “I will talk to you about my strategy for the party, which is to create a new dynamic to maintain cohesion, encourage patriotism and serve the people,” he told the gathering. Aside being opposition chief, Costa Junior doubles up as the party’s parliamentary leader. The former rebel group has lost every election it has contested since it transformed into an opposition party in 2002. Its supporters hope that this succession could steer the party to victory at the ballot box.
  • Ethiopia's ruling coalition moves to merge into single party
    Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF, the four-member ruling coalition governing Africa’s second most populous nation, on Saturday announced an agreement in principle by its top leadership to merge into one party. The decision was announced after an Executive Committee meeting of the leadership. The decision is however subject to final endorsement by the EPRDF’s 180-member council. The council meets every six-months and is largely expected to endorse the unification according to political watchers. The unity efforts comes in the wake of looming elections slated for next year. The front is bent on conducting the elections despite concerns over security rising from inter-ethnic clashes that have often been deadly. The idea of the Ethiopia Prosperity Party, EPP, is seen as one of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s internal reform efforts to streamline the coalition’s decision making structure. #Breaking: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling coalition, today approved to unite as one national party. History in the making! #Ethiopia ኢህአዴግ ተዋሀደ! አንድ አገር አቀፍ ፓርቲ ሆነ! ዛሬ ታሪክ ተሰራ!— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) November 16, 2019 The coalition currently comprises four main parties with five other satellite parties. The four are: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The Oromo Democratic Party, ODP. The Amhara Democratic Party, ADP. The Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, SEPDM. The front has satellite parties across the five other regions. Its affiliates include the Somali Democratic Party (SDP), as well as parties representing the Afar, Gambella, Beinshangul Gumuz as well as Harari Regional States. In a recent interview, Fikadu Tessema, EPRDF’s Political and Civic Affairs head, said only the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF, were opposed to the merger plans. The 30 – 6 vote result indicates that the party stuck to its opposition to the merger. Tessema was speaking in an interview with Amharic newspaper Addis Zemen, a local news outlet. He added that the merger was initiated to build a democratic and inclusive system. He stressed that the current situation the country finds itself is different from the times when the Front was established, and the current situation demands a restructuring that mirrors the actual reality on the ground.
  • Boeing 737 max return to service in hands of regulators
    Boeing moved on Saturday to ease tensions with regulators over the return to service of its 737 MAX, saying it was up to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and its global counterparts to approve changes to the jet in the wake of two accidents. The FAA told its staff this week to take whatever time was needed to review the grounded plane after Boeing said it expected the FAA to certify the 737 MAX in mid-December. “We put some targets out that still line up to December … type certification,” Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters. “The FAA has said they are not going to put a time frame on it and we are going to track behind them on this,” he told a news conference ahead of the Dubai Airshow. Boeing’s mid-December estimate sent the planemaker’s stock price soaring on Monday, though it also said it would not win approval for changes to pilot training until January. U.S. officials privately said this week that Boeing’s timetable was aggressive — if not unrealistic — and was not cleared in advance by regulators. On Friday, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson indicated the agency would decide in its own time whether to unground the plane that was involved in two fatal crashes in five months, killing 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia. “This effort is not guided by a calendar or schedule,” Dickson wrote in a memo seen by Reuters. Dickson is due to attend the Dubai Airshow this week. Speaking on the eve of the show, the head of Boeing divisions spanning jetliners, defense and services expressed sympathy for the relatives of victims of the two crashes that led to the plane’s worldwide grounding in March. Deal said Boeing is in discussions with host airline Emirates over the impact of delays to its much larger 777X, for which the Dubai carrier is by far the largest customer. Boeing is also talking to Emirates about the future of a tentative order for 40 787 Dreamliners, which is among a number of orders left in the balance since the last Dubai show in 2017. Emirates has taken a tough stance on new orders ahead of the Nov. 17-21 show but industry sources say it could agree to confirm at least some of the 787s in exchange for a deal with Boeing that would allow it to cancel or defer some delayed 777X. It is also expected to confirm orders for some Airbus jets.
  • South South African Airways begin talks with unions
    South African Airways (SAA) began negotiations with the unions on Saturday, the second day of a strike by flight and technical personnel. According to the unions, more than 3,000 of the company’s 5,000 employees, both ground and cabin workers, are participating in the strike. The workers are demanding wage increases and the end of a restructuring plan that could lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs. On Friday and Saturday, SAA cancelled more than 300 flights on both domestic and international routes. The company announced on Saturday that the unions had agreed to sit at the bargaining table. “It is in the public interest that this dispute be resolved,” SAA Human Resources Manager Martin Kemp said Saturday in a statement welcoming “the unions’ willingness to find a solution. “We are focused on finding a solution that meets employee demands, saves the company and restores normal operations,” he added. SAA unions are calling for an 8% wage increase and a three-year employment guarantee, while the company is proposing a 5.9% increase. South African Airways is one of Africa’s leading airlines with a fleet of more than 50 aircraft. But despite government loans, it has not made any profit since 2011 and is accumulating debts. South African Airways has warned that a continuation of the strike could be fatal to it. Its spokesman Tlali Tlali said, the company is losing 52 million rand (about €3.2 million) a day due to flight cancellations. The airline has offered passengers whose flights are cancelled the opportunity to check in on other flights or with affiliated airlines. It plans to resume international flights on Sunday and domestic flights on Tuesday.
  • Artificial Intelligence fix for climate-hit farmers
    Data analyst Fabrice Sonzahi enrolled in a course on artificial intelligence (AI) in Dakar, hoping to help struggling farmers improve crop yields in his home country of Ivory Coast. He is part of an inaugural batch of students at a new AI programming school in Senegal, one of the first in West Africa. Its mission is to train local people in using data to solve pressing issues like the impact of climate change on crops. The Dakar Institute of Technology (DIT), which opened in September, is running its first 10-week boot camp with nine students in partnership with French AI school VIVADATA. “I am convinced that by analyzing data we can give (farmers) better solutions,” said Sonzahi, 30. He plans to bring his AI skills to Ivorian startup ATA Solution, which advises farmers on how to maximize scarce resources like land and water. The company already collects data such as soil PH, temperature and moisture levels, said Sonzahi, who works with the startup as an analyst. With AI, that data could be processed to show exactly when and where farmers should add water or fertilizer, and help strengthen their understanding of crop losses, he said.Data scientists across the continent are beginning to experiment with machine learning as a tool to help farmers cope with increasingly erratic weather, from modeling the fastest route to market, to detecting problems in fields with drones. In Cameroon, a new mobile phone app called Agrix Tech allows farmers to photograph a leaf affected by blight and then, using AI, diagnoses the problem and recommends treatment. A project launched in Kenya this year also uses AI to crunch big data and give smallholder farmers recommendations such as when to plant, in a bid to avert food shortages, according to French technology firm Capgemini. But knowledge of AI and training opportunities are slim, especially in West Africa where fixes for crop failure are sorely needed, said DIT director Nicolas Poussielgue. West African countries are among those hardest-hit by climate change, according to scientists, with populations that depend largely on agriculture losing their livelihoods due to worsening floods and droughts. “For models of climate change, the basic calculations use physics. Now you can add AI, which lets you have better results to know what is going to happen and where,” said Poussielgue. DIT plans to launch a bachelor’s degree in big data and a master’s in AI in 2020, each with 25 students, he added. Not all the boot-camp participants are focused on agriculture, but it is one of the key areas in which AI has the potential to make a difference in West Africa, besides health and education, he said. “The idea of the school is to have students who will create their own startups and products,” said Poussielgue.
  • South African airways strike enters day 2
    South African Airways (SAA) and unions on Saturday met for talks on the troubled state-run carrier; which hopes to bring an end to a crippling strike that it says could push it to collapse. Unions representing more than half of SAA’s workforce called the strike from Friday, forcing SAA to cancel hundreds of flights. According to the protesters they would continue until their demands were met. The airline said the action would cost it 50 million rand ($3.36 million) per day. The talks will be mediated by dispute resolution body ;The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The unions’ demands include an 8% wage increase, and they also object to SAA’s plan to cut over 900 jobs. SAA, which hasn’t made a profit since 2011, needs to cut costs to turn around – a mammoth task complicated by the huge sensitivity of job cuts in a country where unemployment is already close to 30%. Phakamile Hlubi Majola, spokeswoman for the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), one of the unions that called the strike, said they also want SAA to commit to bringing costly outsourced services back in house, which are blowing a substantial hole in SAA’s budget. SAA’s woes have left it reliant on state bailouts to survive, becoming a source of frustration for taxpayers who have forked out more than 30 billion rand since 2012 as well as for a cash-strapped government already propping up other ailing state firms.
  • Angola's main opposition party elects new leader
    Angola’s main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) has elected lawmaker, Adalberto Costa Junior as its new leader. His election on Friday follows the resignation of Isaias Samakuva, 73, who resigned the position on Wednesday November 13 after 16 years as leader. Costa Junior, 57, who currently heads the opposition parliamentary group, won the most votes at the party’s 3- day congress which ended in Luanda on Friday. The former rebel group has lost all elections since it was turned into a political party in 2002. Angola’ next presidential election are scheduled for 2022. AFP
  • Congolese President says Ebola should be eradicated by end of year
    Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi has said the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo should be eradicated by the end of the year. Tshisekedi said this during a visit to Berlin on Friday. “We can say with satisfaction that it has been eradicated in northern and southern Kivu. There are still a few isolated cases in Ituri (province) but we think that by the end of the year we can completely stop the disease”, he said. The Congolese President allayed fears of people returning from the Ebola epicentre. “Let me end by saying that no one should be afraid of the people returning from the region, from Beni or from Goma, thinking that they might be carrying the disease. Simply put, there is a facility in Congo and in the region which means all individuals, no matter who they are, pass a rapid test the moment they cross a border. So there really is no risk to have any cases here”, Tshisekedi assured. The German Chancellor promised a new chapter with the DR Congo. “We want to be a partner to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We know how important that is, if you just take a look at the country and how many neighbours it has. With our available means we want to support the president’s efforts to take up contact again with the neighbours and to solve conflicts”, Merkel said. According to government’s data, the rate of new Ebola cases has fallen substantially in recent weeks. The epidemic in Congo was declared in August 2018. So far, it has killed nearly 2,200 people, becoming the second-worst outbreak of the virus on record. Reuters
  • Fear grips South Sudan after church attack
    Four people were kidnapped after thousands of displaced civilians fled their homes during an attack on a church compound in South Sudan last Thursday. Homes of civilians were torched and property destroyed by unknown assailants in Rimenze, in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria region. “Up to now people are still sleeping in the bush, because there is no security. Even they had come to the church and there is no security in the church. There is no information about the government tackling the security here’‘, said Reverend Father Peter Babetimo of the Rimenze Catholic Church. Charles Jacob Mbaro is one of Rimenze’s internally displaced persons. “They removed grass, set my tukul (hut) on fire. Then they entered my neighbour’s tukul, looted their bicycle, motorbike and some money about 30,000 South Sudanese pounds (300 US dollars) then they left”, Mbaro said. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) dispatched a joint assessment mission to the area. The team arrived on Thursday. “We really have not been able to attribute it to anyone but still civilians should enjoy their security and we will take this and advocate with the state authorities – to have at least a police post in Rimenze, so that we are able to detect some of the incidents that affect the civilians in this area”, said Human rights officer, Antonina Okuta. Rimenze has been used as a battlefield in the fight between the government and armed rebel groups since 2016. The formation of South Sudan’s unity government, which was extended for 100 days on November 12, has left civilians frustrated. They are unsure of whether it is safe to return to the camp for displaced persons. AP
  • Ethiopian plane crash victims buried
    The last remains of 157 people killed aboard an Ethiopian Airlines plane in March were interred at the crash site this week, farmers and families told Reuters, but some relatives were upset they had been unable to take part in the ceremony.Nadia Milleron, whose daughter Samya Stumo was killed, said an email was sent to some families — but not all — notifying them of the burial just two days before it happened. “By the time the burial took place I was just wiped out; I was just glad they were doing it. I was tired of it not being done,” said Milleron. “But a lot of people didn’t feel like that. They hadn’t been aware of what was happening.” Ethiopian Airlines did not return calls seeking comment about why some families were not told in advance. Families have been begging the airline to fill in the crater left by the March 10 crash, which still contained remains too small to be recovered. Milleron said on Saturday that locals had been burying remains exposed by rains in small mounds of earth. She herself found a bone at the site when she visited Ethiopia to collect her daughter’s remains in October, which she told the airline about in an email. The force of the impact meant no complete bodies were recovered; partial remains were tested for DNA and finally returned to families last month. As the burial took place on Thursday, a U.S. embassy representative present kept Milleron updated by text: “Now they’re laying the coffins down, now they’re putting earth on them …” “I became a blubbering mess,” she said. Milleron said the lack of notice of the burial ceremony had raised tensions between the families and Ethiopian Airlines. Representatives of the airline and of Boeing and some embassy employees were there. The Boeing representatives were on a prearranged trip to discuss community projects, Milleron said. Boeing manufactured the 737 MAX 8 plane, which nosedived shortly after take-off. A preliminary investigation pointed to a malfunctioning anti-stall system known as MCAS, which was also implicated in the crash of a Lion Air plane in Indonesia five months earlier. All 189 people onboard that flight were killed. Tesfaye Mulatu, a farmer near the crash site, said he had seen a helicopter arrive and cars bring caskets on Thursday. The crater left by the impact has been filled in, he said. “Now, the area looks a football field,” he told Reuters by telephone.Some bereaved families have formed associations and hope to use funds from Boeing to build a memorial. The manufacturer will make $100 million available, with half going to families and half to projects in local communities. “We continue to offer our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 and we are committed to helping those affected by these tragedies,” Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said.
  • African refugees ejected from U.N. premises in South Africa
    Africans seeking asylum at a United Nations office in South Africa have been forcibly removed by police stating that their action amounted to tresspassing. On Wednesday, a court order was granted instructing the 300 refugees camping there since 7 October, to vacate the area within three days, local media outlets reported. Hundreds of asylum seekers had been camping for weeks now in makeshift structures in front of the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the capital Pretoria. Many came into SA fleeing life threatening situations of war, epidemics and violence from the DRC and other neighbouring southern countries and say the South African authorities have been delaying the regularization process for their status. Most of them say they no longer feel safe after the last wave of xenophobic violence that killed at least 12 people in September. In Cape Town (south-west), they organized the same operation, but were expelled manu militari at the end of October. In Pretoria, justice ordered them Wednesday to evacuate the place under 72 hours.
  • Tennis star Sharapova's Africa trip: beautiful Botswana, riveting Rwanda
    Russian tennis star, Maria Sharapova, recently embarked on an African tour which took her to Botswana in southern Africa and Rwanda in East Africa. The trip which started on November 8 and spanned till the 14th was largely one that had a strong and rich connection to nature and wildlife. The Botswana mission was largely in one of the country’s famed natural parks which attracts thousands of tourists year in an out, it also had a fair share of savoring wildlife at close range – from the lions, rhinos, squirrels etc. She wrote about Botswana: “Love at first sight! The closest I’ve ever come to a safari was locking eyes with a squirrel. But not anymoooore! The Lion’s roaring in the video? That was within 30mins of our first game drive overlooking the sunset at Weare wilderness Vumbura Plains. She also spent time at the Okavango Delta also in the plains before sharing her time at the Little Mombo Safari where she encountered leopards, buffaloes, elephants and zebras. View this post on Instagram Botswana, Africa ??? !! Love at first sight! The closest I’ve ever come to a safari was locking eyes with a squirrel ?. But not anymoooore! The ?’s roaring in the video? That was within 30mins of our first game drive overlooking the sunset at wearewilderness Vumbura Plains. Which animal should we look for next?? ?????? A post shared by Maria Sharapova (mariasharapova) on Nov 8, 2019 at 1:40am PST View this post on Instagram We made our way to #LittleMombo at Okavango Delta. Tracked a leopard ? within an hour of our first evening drive and followed him until it became too dark. ( incredible!!) Buffalos ?’s ✔️. An elephant ?that was clearly a little excited and ready to mate ?. Notice I turned off the video once he looked directly to us. ?. The zebras ? in the water, I couldn’t take my eyes off! The Rhino was a b.e.a.s.t!! Why didn’t someone tell me I had to do a safari sooner?! ?? A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on Nov 11, 2019 at 6:45am PST Over in Rwanda, it was more of a gorilla mission but dotted at a point with a meeting with the First Family and taking time off to meet with children and enjoy sporty action – not tennis. Her first instagram post on arrival in Rwanda had photos of her visit to the Volcanoes National Park on a gorilla hunt. “Silverback gorillas!! We have fallen in love with your country. Truly! Early morning treks to locate the gorillas, getting caught in a rainforest downpour, witnessing a silverback big daddy of all big daddies walk right past us without a care in the world ( thankfully!!) special!!” her post read. She visited the Bisate hills from where she posted about her morning view from the volcanic mountain. “Nestled inside the #Rwanda , the view from our little teletubbie- like cabins made the long journey worth every minute,” she added. Meeting with President Kagame was in mid-week (November 13) before she rounded up the trip with a visit to a local community school for a sporty interaction with the children. View this post on Instagram Rwanda??!! Silverback ?’s!! We have fallen in love with your country. Truly! ☺️ Early morning treks to locate the gorillas, getting caught in a rainforest downpour, witnessing a silverback big daddy of all big daddies walk right past us without a care in the world ( thankfully!!) ? special!! A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on Nov 12, 2019 at 10:36pm PST It’s was an honor meeting you, President Kagame and spending time with your family. #Rwanda, you are so special. ??— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) November 13, 2019 We finished off our trip in #Rwanda at a local community school with a few deflated balls ⚽️ ? and beautiful smiles which I will remember forever. ???— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) November 14, 2019
  • UNIDO General Conference in Abu Dhabi highlights private sector collaboration, decarbonisation
    Every two years, the top policymaking body of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation [] gather to discuss global industry and manufacturing. The 18th session of UNIDO’s general conference invited heads of state, ministers and CEO’s to the Middle East for the first time, with Abu Dhabi playing host city. The theme of the summit was ‘Industry 2030 – Innovate. Connect. Transform our Future’. Over the course of five days, public and private experts discussed how best to support global industry whilst achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The conference also focused upon how best to harness new technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution to further global growth. An agreement called the Abu Dhabi Declaration saw UNIDO’s member states call upon the global private sector to form a coalition, to advance sustainable industrial development. A primary objective of the accord is to encourage members to work towards building resilient infrastructure and foster innovation whilst sharing a vision for global prosperity. [IME S02EP40 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 1] [IME S02EP40 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 2] Caption : The 18th session of UNIDO’s general conference taking place in Abu Dhabi UAE INDUSTRY PROSPECTS The UAE’s expansion of industry and manufacturing, from petrochemicals and plastics to minerals and food, are key pillars of Abu Dhabi’s economic growth. Activities in the capital’s manufacturing sector have increased in recent years, contributing more than 12% towards Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP in 2018. At UNIDO, Inspire took the domestic and global view on trade from the Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture []. The organisation’s Secretary General, Dr. Khaled Hanafy, explained why the UAE capital was an appropriate place for UNIDO to converge at this time. “The Emirates is one of those countries that shows a great development in many aspects in economic activities,” he told Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham. “But also, the idea is that when we talk about entrepreneurs, when we talk about innovation, the Arab youth are ready for this.And all their projects are related and linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovation and artificial intelligence.” [IME S02EP40 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 3] Dr. Khaled Hanafy, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers, speaks to Euronews at the 18th session of UNIDO’s general conference Expanding upon the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Dr. Hanafy gave his forecast of where the attentions of those in industry and manufacturing will be directed in the coming twelve months. “We have to get ready for 5.0. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now becoming a little bit old,” he stated. “The fifth one is very interesting, in the sense of having a combination between machine and human being. So, the new thing here is that engagement of the human – and the human touch – in the future technology.” The academic, and former Minister of Supply & Internal Trade for Egypt, also touched upon the ongoing trade tensions between China and the United States. He remarked that the situation could have a potential upside for countries in the Middle East region. “There are some opportunities for the Arab countries from this war,” he said. “I think for the importing countries in the Arab world, they might benefit from having a little bit less costly imported products. But also, strategically, those countries are going to search for partners…not just for trade, exports or imports. “When we look at the Silk Road and the belt [Belt & Road Initiative], most of the Arab countries can contribute and considered themselves a gateway also to other countries in Africa.” TOMORROW’S SUSTAINABLE WORLD Within the frame of UNIDO’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Abu Dhabi conference highlighted the circular economy and the importance of youth and a gender balanced workforce in tomorrow’s industrialised, advanced technology world. It also touched upon the UAE’s foray into building not only industrial & economic zones but also green, sustainable cities of the future. With reference to The Sustainable City in Dubai [], as a potential model for the planning of other urban projects in the MENA region, Stephan Sicars, UNIDO’s Environment Director, explained how adapting existing towns to green ones was also a viable option. “We have to find a way of converting these cities to higher degrees of sustainability,” he said. “This conversion will be greatly influenced by what we can learn from what is done here in the UAE. But this [Sustainable City] will not be the blueprint for everything, because the issues of sustainability, environmental sustainability, have to be resolved in those cities existing, which therefore will be informed of the results here.” [IME S02EP40 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 4] Caption: Stephan Sicars, UNIDO’s Environment Director, speaks at the 18th UNIDO General Conference in Abu Dhabi ROAD TO DECARBONISATION UNIDO is a strong advocate for the decarbonisation of industry and the economies of its member states. Sicars spoke of how willing government’s around the world were to diversify their economies and industrial revenue streams. “There are, of course, always concerns whether this is something that for the economic cause of the country is the most meaningful way forward,” he said. “If you go deeper into the subject, then you start realising that decarbonisation is essentially centralizing to a large degree, about efficiency measures one way or the other, not necessarily in a company, but in society. “And if you introduce these efficiency measures, you are essentially saving value which creates jobs elsewhere. And our role in UNIDO is actually to bring out parallel growth of more environmental sustainability and more economic competitiveness.” SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: DEVELOPING INDUSTRY UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador Veronika expressed her happiness in attending the General Conference in Abu Dhabi. EMBED: Also at the event, a UAE company exhibited a Trafficbot, which responds to human gestures. EMBED:
  • Ethiopia PM meets Oromo, Amhara political leadership amid insecurity
    Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday met with leadership of political parties in the Oromia and Amhara regions. The meeting held at the PM’s offices comes on the back of security issues bedeviling the two regions. Oromia, Abiy’s home region, was rocked by deadly violence in October leading to 86 deaths according to official records. In the past week, deadly violence has rocked universities in both regions forcing authorities to deploy the army to contain the incidents. Abiy’s deputy, Demeke Mekonnen, an Amhara, was part of the meeting. Defense Minister Lemma Megerssa, a former leader of the Oromo bloc, was also present. A leading opposition figure in Oromia, Dr. Merera Gudina, was also part of the Oromo leadership that met to discuss issues. A leading Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, commenting on the development has lauded the move stressing that dialogue was important between especially Oromia, Amhara and Tigray regions.
  • World's first vagina museum opens in London
    A museum dedicated to vaginas and vulvas opened it doors in the north of London on Saturday. It is a world’s first. The museum hopes to help destigmatize this part of the female body and debunk myths around it. “The vagina and the vulva are a hugely stigmatized part of the body, and they have lots of embarrassment. Cervical cancers are not being picked up quick enough So, in an effort to destigmatize this part of the body, that’s why we’ve made the vagina museum”, said Florence Schechter, Founder and Director of the vagina museum. Founder and Director of the vagina museum said the challenge is not only to educate and improve self-image, but it is also a question about public health. “I think the worst myth for me is that they are dirty and they need to be cleaned, and I think this is just going to be shampooed for having normal natural bodies. The vagina and the vulva are not dirty parts of the body, they are self cleaning and the idea that they are dirty is just another way of the patriarchy reasserting itself”, Schechter said. Curators hope more people will be interested in what the museum has on offer. “I hope everyone could come in. Anyone who wants to learn about the vagina, learn about the vulva, we’ve interacted men, women, people of all genders, people of all sexualities, people of all races and ethnicities, we’ve had a hugely varied audience and I hope to continue that’‘, she added. Curators say the museum is only opened for educational purposes. It has not yet been opened to the public, but events have already being organized, attracting people from 2 to 98 years. AFP
  • Pics of the day, November 15, 2019
    Africanews samples the best pictures of the day’s news.
  • Another Nelson Mandela statue unveiled - In Cuban capital Havana
    Nelson Mandela was from South Africa but his influence was felt on a global scale, little wonder he is classified a global political and diplomatic icon. On Wednesday November 14, a statue of the former South African president was unveiled in the Cuban capital, Havana. In his lifetime, Mandela lauded the Cuban revolution as an “inspiration to all freedom-loving people” and was a supporter of former president Fidel Castro. Leader of the Cuban institution of friendship with peoples, Fernandez Gonzales, said duting the unveiling: “For us it is a very special moment, we had been waiting a long time for the bust here. “It will be a place where heads of state, African delegations, will be paid tribute to. These leaders fought for the unity of the African continent, for its independence.” As president of Cuba, the late Fidel Castro gave the African National Congress, South Africa’s liberation movement turned ruling party, military support in the 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to fight in Angola which weakened the government of South Africa and helped Mandela’s anti-apartheid cause. After his release from prison in 1990, Mandela travelled to Cuba in July 1991, saying the writings of Che Guevara served as inspiration to him throughout his 27-year imprisonment. [PHOTOS]: #DIRCO Deputy Minister, Mr alvinbotes is in #Cuba with Minister of Employment & Labour, Mr Thulas Nxesi. Today, they unveiled the bust of Former #SouthAfrica President Nelson Mandela, at African Founding Fathers Park in Havana, Cuba. #SACubaRelations #SAinCuba— DIRCO South Africa (DIRCO_ZA) November 14, 2019
  • Cameroon opposition party wants security beefed up for Feb. 2020 polls
    Cameroon’s opposition party, the Social Democratic Front has agreed to participate in the February 2020 legislative and municipal elections only if the government put in place favourable security measures. The elections had been postponed twice due to growing threats from armed separatists in the country’s two English-speaking regions. A secessionist struggle has been raging in the two regions since October 2016. Separatists have vowed to disrupt the elections in the Anglophone regions. But Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji had earlier told reporters that “necessary security measures” would be taken to ensure peaceful elections. The 2018 presidential election stoked a political crisis in this Central African nation, where President Paul Biya has ruled for 37 years. Opposition leader Maurice Kamto was imprisoned along with some of his supporters for denouncing electoral fraud through marches.
  • Nigeria, Niger, Benin set up patrol team to tackle smuggling
    Nigeria, Niger and Benin have agreed to set up a monitoring committee to tackle smuggling after months of border closure. Representatives of the joint anti-smuggling committee, including foreign ministers met in Abuja, Nigeria on Thursday to try to resolve the impasse. “The patrol team is to agree on the modality to carry out its operation and recommend a date for the opening of the borders. The delegation of Benin and Niger appealed for the immediate re-opening of the Nigerian borders. In conclusion, the three (3) countries reaffirmed their commitment in enhancing economic integration”, said Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama. The committee will comprise naval, customs, immigration and security officials from the three African nations. A statement released after the meeting said, the three countries have agreed to meet later this month to recommend opening the borders. In August, Africa’s largest economy shuts its borders with Niger and Benin to curb smuggling of rice and other commodities. The decision continues to take a toll on businesses in the affected countries. AFP
  • Ivory Coast seeks UN support for 2020 electioneering [Morning Call]
    Ivory Coast has asked the United Nations (UN) to accompany the electoral process leading to the presidential election of 2020. The Electoral Assistance Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs and Consolidation, the group which conducted a needs assessment mission for the electoral process in the West african nation, made this known. So to what extent and in what capacity does the country want the UN support and involvement?
  • Can Zimbabwe new bank notes solve cash crunch? [Morning Call]
    Zimbabwe’s much-anticipated new banknotes eventually reached banks on Tuesday earlier this week after a delay that has seen many waiting in long queues for cash. In June, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to introduce the new currency before the end of the year in a move intended to bring economic stability to the cash-strapped nation. The southern African country had been using a combination of the US dollar and its quasi-currency, so-called bond notes, which it introduced during cash shortages few years ago.
  • Teenager killed in Guinea during anti-govt protest
    A teenager was shot dead by Guinean police on Thursday as he tried to flee a crackdown on mass anti-government protest, his family and doctor said. Alpha Souleymane Diallo,19, was reportedly caught up in the clashes. A doctor at the Amitie Hospital in Conakry confirmed he died from bullet wounds. Hundreds of protesters draped in red, the color of the oppostion, took to the streets of Conakry a day after President Alpha Conde confirmed parliamentary elections for February 2020. The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of politicians and activists opposed to a constitutional change that could let Conde seek a third term is leading the protest. “The movement is getting stronger and stronger. We are here for that and everyone is motivated to go out and say ‘no’ to Alpha Condé, to say ‘no’ to the government, for the Guinean constitution. That’s it, that’s why we’re here today”, said FNDC activist, Haoulatou Bah. For another FNDC activist, Siradio Sounkin “We, the Guinean youth, are protesting not to have the foundations of the Republic gagged to keep a man in power. We are not against him, we are against him remaining in the Supreme Judiciary beyond his term of office on 21 December 2020.” Guinea has been shaken by violence during weeks of protests over suspicions by the opposition that President Alpha Conde is seeking a third term in office. The constitution bans this. At least 18 civilians and a paramilitary policeman have been killed since October 14. Dozens of people have also been injured and more others have been arrested. On Thursday, Amnesty International published a report with accusations of human rights abuses against the government ahead of the 2020 elections. AFP
  • Namibian ministers resign over fishy fishing deals
    Namibia’s justice and fisheries ministers resigned on Wednesday over bribery claims involving Icelandic fishing firm Samherji, the presidency said. Justice Minister Sackeus Shanghala and Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernhard Esau quit following media reports they had awarded horse mackerel quotas to Iceland’s biggest fishing firm in exchange for bribes. Namibian President Hage Geingob said he had accepted the resignations after meeting the two ministers to discuss the allegations, adding they were “innocent until proven guilty”. Esau denied wrongdoing, saying he had only stepped down to prevent a “media campaign” from tarnishing the ruling South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) ahead of general elections later in November. Citing documents gathered by Wikileaks, The Namibian newspaper, Iceland’s national broadcaster RUV and other media reported on Tuesday that the two ministers and the Namibia managing director of South African investment firm Investec had spearheaded a fishing scheme generating kickbacks of at least 150 million Namibian dollars ($10 million) over four years. Shanghala did not answer his phone when contacted by Reuters for comment. Investec’s Namibian managing director, James Hatuikulipi, could not be reached for comment. Investec said on Twitter it had “noted” the media reports. It said it was looking into the matter and would cooperate with the authorities. Icelandic newspaper Studin reported that Samherji transferred more than $70 million through a shell company in the tax haven Marshall Islands from 2011 to 2018, with part of the money going to Namibian officials. Also citing documents supplied by Wikileaks, The Namibian newspaper reported that the scheme began in 2014 and included relatives of the ministers and officials from Angola. The scandal may add to pressure on Geingob and his ruling SWAPO party, with the sparsely populated southern African nation facing its worst economic crisis in decades. “The majority of voters are predominantly rural-based, which constitutes SWAPO’s traditional base. These voters are the least informed about issues of corruption,” former cabinet minister Kazenambo Kazenambo told Reuters. Separately, Norwegian bank DNB said on Wednesday it was investigating allegations that Samherji had transferred the bribes via the bank to the Namibian officials. Samherji said it had hired a law firm to investigate the allegations. “We have engaged the international law firm Wikborg Rein in Norway to investigate the activities in Namibia. In this investigation, nothing will be excluded and we will disclose its findings as soon as they become available,” the firm said. Samherji said it always acted in accordance with the laws of the countries in which it operated and that it would cooperate with Namibian authorities on the case. The firm was not available for further comment. REUTERS
  • 'I picked Ivory Coast over Chelsea' - Drogba's shot at FA presidency goal
    Ivorian and Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba, on Thursday confirmed his intention to contest the presidency of the country’s football federation. According to the 41-year-old, he had picked Ivorian football ahead of an offer to have taken a role at his former club, English Premier League side, Chelsea. “ I could’ve decided to stay at Chelsea where all conditions are perfect, but I’ve decided to invest in local (national) football because I love Ivory Coast,” he is quoted to have said. Didier #Drogba ,candidat à la Présidence de la Fédération Ivoirienne de Football : «Je pouvais rester à Chelsea où toutes les conditions sont réunies. Mais j'ai décidé de venir m'investir dans le football local parce que j'aime mon pays la Côte d'Ivoire » #CIV— Lassana Camara ??? (@lassanawelt) November 14, 2019 In August 2019, local media outlets reported that Drogba was due to contest for the top leadership post of the Ivorian Football Federation, FIF. The former Chelsea man was reported to have filed his application at the time. All things being equal, he will face competition from among others, a former playing colleague turned politician Bonaventure Kalou, who was in October 2018 elected mayor of the municipality of Vavoua. Incumbent FIF president Augustin Sidy Diallo, will be another candidate to beat. He has been in the role since 2011. Drogba retired from football in 2018 and was on record to have voiced ambitions of heading the football federation in the West African country. “It’s something that interests me: I want to get more involved. I think more and more about it. I know Ivorian football, I have played in selection for years and I invested in Ivorian football lately … “I have not made my decision yet, but, if all conditions are met, why not?” he said in an interview on French broadcaster, RFI.
  • TPLF only 'outsiders' to Ethiopia ruling coalition merger – EPRDF official
    Only one party in four-member ruling coalition in Ethiopia is currently opposed to plans to unify the bloc into one national party, a top officer of the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front has disclosed. According to Fikadu Tessema, EPRDF’s Political and Civic Affairs head, said except for Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF, the other three parties have all approved the new document on EPRDF’S merger to form a single, united party. Tessema was speaking in an interview with Amharic newspaper Addis Zemen, a local news outlet. He added that the merger was initiated to build a democratic and inclusive system. He stressed that the current situation the country finds itself is different from the times when the Front was established, and the current situation demands a restructuring that mirrors the actual reality on the ground. The idea of the proposed Ethiopia Prosperity Party, EPP, is seen as one of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s plans to streamline the coalition’s decision making structure. The idea seen as partly controversial within the context of the country’s transition and upcoming polls in 2020 has been widely debated on social media but no official announcement has been made. The ruling Ethiopia People Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF, comprises four main parties with five other satellite parties. The four main parties being: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The Oromo Democratic Party, ODP. The Amhara Democratic Party, ADP. The Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, SEPDM. The TPLF, who are the ruling party in the northern Tigray regional State are known to be openly and stiffly against the idea of a united party. Some reports suggest that even with Abiy’s own ODP, he faces some challenges to the proposal.
  • DRC targets 63% budget increase for 2020 [Business Africa]
    DRC’s $10 billion draft budget for 2020 An ambitious draft budget presented to the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than US$10 billion is needed for the various projects to be carried out in the 2020. This is an increase of 63.2% compared to 2019. A historic budget that the authorities are defending. They say that they are meeting the partners’ unfulfilled promises and the conditions imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Sudan’s worsening economic crisis Sudan needs urgent reforms and budget support of about $5 billion to avoid an economic collapse according to the Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Elbadawi. The country is facing fierce criticism from the population, who denounce ‘‘appalling economic conditions’‘ as the nation remains stuck in a serious crisis.
  • Togo leads in business climate reforms [Business Africa]
    Togo, now ranks first in the reform sector in Africa due to its sustained growth and increased involvement in the private sector. From deficit to surplus with economic growth at 5% this year, Togo is continuing its reform plan initiated just over 5 years ago. A recovery that has earned third place among the most reformed countries in the world. The country that has scored points, particularly on debt management, is now ranked first in Africa according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business ranking. We get more insight from Mazamaesso Assih, the Togolese secretary of state in charge of Financial Inclusion and the Informal Sector.
  • Kenya, Somalia to normalize relations after leaders meet in Nairobi
    Despite a raging maritime boundary disagreement, leaders of Kenya and Somalia on Thursday agreed to normalize relations at a meeting in Nairobi. Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo reaffirmed the invaluable relations between the two neighbours during a joint press conference after a closed-door meeting. The Somali leader was part of world leaders who were in Kenya for the just-ended International Conference on Population and Development. This years’ was the 25th edition. Kenya’s Foreign Affairs chief, Monica Juma wrote on Twitter: “The two principals agreed to bring normality to our bilateral relations and do everything to ensure peaceful relations including obtaining visas on arrival to encourage free movement of our people.” The Somali leader also expressed gratitude to Kenya for its role in AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping mission fighting insurgent group, Al-Shabaab and its role in sheltering Somali refugees fleeing conflict back home. On the issue of the maritime boundary, Farmaajo said he had confidence that the International Court of justice, ICJ, seized with the matter will deliver a mutually acceptable resolution when it rules on the matter in the months ahead. Remarks by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on what he has agreed and discussed with President Uhuru Kenya. In particular, President Farmajo assures President Kenyatta that the “ICJ issue would not affect our bilateral relationship”.— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) November 14, 2019 Remarks by President Uhuru Kenya on what he has agreed with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) November 14, 2019 #KenyaSomaliaRelations— Amb. Monica Juma (@Diplomacy_Kenya) November 14, 2019
  • Amnesty Int'l warns of human rights abuses in Guinea
    Amnesty International’s Guinean office is sounding the alarm on human rights abuses in the country ahead of its 2020 elections. In a recently published report, it expressed deep concerns at the deaths caused by violent repression on protesters dating back to 2015. “Between January 2015 and October 2019, we counted more than 70 people who died in demonstrations. That is according to testimonies we have received and the rounds we found on the scene. The security forces are involved in at least 59 of these deaths. This is a very significant number, even though we acknowledge that demonstrations in Guinea can sometimes turn violent”, François Patuel, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International said. Samira Daoud is Deputy Director for Amnesty International West Africa. “What we are asking the authorities to do is to allow people to exercise the right of freedom to protest, and for them to stop systematically banning demonstrations.’‘ Recent demonstrations against a possible third term for President Alpha Condé had triggered a wave of deadly violence in this West African country of about 13 million people. AFP
  • Victims of Central African Republic's 2012 - 2014 civil war seek justice
    Victims of the 2012 – 2014 civil war in Bangui, Central African Republic Bangui are calling for justice. Survivors of the crisis are still waiting for compensation. For seven years, the Central African justice system is yet to comment on this subject reports say. Six months after the signing of the peace agreement between the armed groups and the government, a justice and reparation commission to explore the possible compensation of the victims is awaited. Most of the victims are still battling with emotional and psychological scars, years after the war. Every Tuesday, they gather under this tree to strategies on how to make their voices heard, like . Mary Elizabeth, 70, lost her only child during the crisis, a year after bringing him back to the city for medical care. “My only son, the seleka killed him. I filed a complaint but the suffering continues. Look at the bicycles, motorcycle taxis and vehicles between which I walk, if an accident happens now, what will happen (to me)? I have no family to bury me!” The Central African crisis has left many people into mourning and rendered others homeless. The affected have stepped up efforts to ensure that their claims are taken into account by the State and that justice is done. In Marie Elisabeth’s bag is document which she always carries with her. It is a proof of her son’s death which could guarantee her entitlements to the package reserved for victims. “She still deplores the living conditions because she is a senior lady. While her son should be taking care of her, she is now living with another family. You know, it is very difficult for her to live with the means at hand …” says Hervé Sévérin, the president of the victims group. “What she is asking for is justice and support for the victims so that she can be free.” According to the UN,the crisis displaced more than 600,000 leaving more than 1.7 million others in a state of food insecurity.
  • China completes crucial landing test for first Mars mission in 2020
    China successfully completed a crucial landing test in northern Hebei province ahead of a historic unmanned exploration mission to Mars next year. China is on track to launch its Mars mission, Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration, said on Thursday, speaking to foreign diplomats and the media before the test. The Mars lander underwent a hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test at a sprawling site in Huailai, northwest of Beijing. The site was littered with small mounds of rocks to simulate the uneven terrain on Mars which the lander would have to navigate on its descent to the planet’s surface. “In 2016, China officially began the Mars exploration mission work, and currently all of the different development work is progressing smoothly,” Zhang said. The country has developed the powerful Long March 5 rocket to transport the probe to Mars in 2020. The journey through space will take about seven months, while landing will take seven minutes, said Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars exploration program. The landing will be the toughest and most challenging stage, he said. The same Long March 5 rocket is meant to deliver the Chang’e-5 probe to the moon by the end of 2019 or early next year to bring back samples of lunar rocks. The Chang’e-4 probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon in January this year, a historic first and major achievement for China’s space program. China made its first lunar landing in 2013 and expects to complete a modular space station around 2022, around the time when NASA is said to start building a new space station laboratory to orbit the moon, as a pit stop for missions to other parts of the solar system. In 2003, China became the third nation to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States. Since then, it has been racing to catch up with Russia and the United States and become a major space power by 2030. “China is currently actively planning and preparing a number of major space programs including a Mars sample return mission, asteroid exploration missions and many more lunar missions,” the head of the space administration said. Reuters
  • After Ervebo approval, second Ebola vaccine rolled out in DRC's Goma
    Health authorities in eastern Congo have introduced a new Ebola vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson, aid group MSF said on Thursday, to help combat the world’s second-worst outbreak of the virus on record. New tools including vaccines have helped contain the outbreak, second only to the 2013-16 West African outbreak that killed more than 11,300, despite public mistrust and conflict affecting the response in parts of the region. The new vaccine, which has passed clinical trials but has never been tested in a real-world setting, will be administered to 50,000 people in Goma, a city of two million on the Rwandan border, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said in a statement. The vaccine, which requires two injections eight weeks apart, will be rolled out alongside another manufactured by Merck, which only requires a single shot. The Merck vaccine has been administered to over 250,000 people since the start of the outbreak in August 2018. “The introduction of a second vaccine is not meant to replace [Merck’s] vaccine, but to complement it and hopefully provide us with an additional tool in the fight against future Ebola outbreaks,” said John Johnson, who is leading the project for MSF. Congo’s epidemic has infected over 3,000 people and killed nearly 2,200 people, however the number of reported new infections has fallen steeply since June. The Merck shot is being deployed in a strategy known as “ring vaccination”, which aims to control Ebola by identifying and offering the vaccine to contacts of those likely to be infected. The plan with the addition of the J&J vaccine is to extend protection by providing it to “targeted at-risk populations” in areas where the disease is not yet being actively transmitted, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Four cases of the disease were recorded in Goma this year, but no new cases have been reported in the lakeside city since August. Some Congolese health officials have criticised the J&J vaccine on the grounds that it has not been properly tested, although it has passed phase I and II clinical trials, and been endorsed by the WHO. REUTERS
  • Lesotho Ebola simulation triggers concerns, South Africa allays fears
    An Ebola simulation excercise by authorities in Lesotho caused panic in the country and across the border in South Africa. Reports indicated early Thursday morning that Lesotho’s health ministry mistakenly announced to the press that a woman from South Africa had been hospitalized after testing positive for Ebola. The said woman was reported to have had contact with another from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is currently an outbreak, before she entered Lesotho via South Africa. But South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, NICD, clarified on Twitter that there was no such case of an Ebola positive patient at least in South Africa. “This was the first small scale field simulation exercise to test preparedness. The NICD BSL4 Lab has not been requested to test suspected Ebola cases for any neighbouring countries. As such, we have not had a positive Ebola case.” A local news portal, the Eye Witness News reported that the Lesotho authorities confirmed that the earlier information was incorrect and that the case in point was a simulation exercise. “Chances of Ebola reaching South Africa are very slim. nonetheless, South Africa has strong response systems that are in place should there be a suspected case,” NICD added in a follow up tweet. Ebola is currently a big public health issue in eastern DRC where thousands have died since an outbreak that started over a year ago. The development has forced neighbouring countries to be on alert among others Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The Ebola virus can spread quickly and be fatal in up to 90% of cases. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. The virus is most often spread by close contact with bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms and with contaminated objects such as sheets. Health care workers are often at risk.
  • Africa needs to attract more Chinese tourists [Travel]
    There are now more and more, rich and middle class people in China, and millions of them are looking for travel destinations. Currently around 10% of China’s 1.4 billion population travels internationally. By 2027, the number of passport holders is expected to reach 300 million or 20% of the Chinese population, reveals the World Tourism organization. In recent years, the number of Chinese visitors buying Africa tour packages has jumped, according to the Luxury Chinese Traveler 2018 Report. Jumia e-commerce platform recently released the 2019 hospitality report on africa, and their group head of communication & public relations, Abdesslam Benzitouni told me more about Chinese travel in the continent. “For many years we, the African countries used to have International travelers coming from the US or from Europe, and now, more and more, they are coming from Asia, and for instance 15 to 20percent of the Chinese traveling abroad they are visitng Africa now. And this is very interesting, because it is a new market, and the Chinese want to discover more and more Africa and many governments are already aware about that and they remove the visa or make the visa more easy. Like South Africa, or Morocco or even Egypt or Tunisia,“said Abdesslam Benzitouni, group head of communication and public relations. Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Mauritius and Zimbabwe are the African countries with the largest number of Chinese tourists in 2017, According to Dragon Trail, a China-based digital marketing agency.  So question is, what are Chinese tourists interested in? “Africa is becoming very common for them, and middle class in China is also booming and they want to visit Africa, its like visiting Paris, Rome and they want to do safaris, and they want to discover Egypt, they want to discover Morocco and they want discover even more.. and they.. and this is a great opportunity to attract international travelersbecause, this is something complete newand you can see tham, in Kenya for examplein the Maasai Mara, 20 or 25percent of all the travelers are Chinese“said Abdesslam Benzitouni, group head of communication and public relations. Why are there more Chinese coming to Africa ? “You know Africa represents five percent of all the destinations for all international travelers and moreand more asians are in this five percent, and more and more, they want to come, like if, you know there is more chinese companies doing the trips like Ethiopia and China, Kenya and China, Egypt as well, so I think is aso a very interesting trend and is going to increase alot, a lot, alot“said Abdesslam Benzitouni, group head of communication and public relations. How can Africa further tap into the Chinese billion dollar outbound tourism?According to experts Africa must ease visa and entry requirements, increase direct airline flights to China, further develop its tourism facilities especially its national heritage sites and parks but most importantly advertise, like South Africa’s recent agreement to advertise on Chinese internet and popular WeChat App… among other things. These they say can help the continent tap into the vast Chiense tourism market worth billions of dollars in revenue. @fmlemwa
  • Tunisian women besiege parliament to protest sexual harassment
    Tunisian women besieged parliament in the city of Le Bardo on Wednesday to protest against a sitting MP accused of sexual harassment. The protesters fear that Zouheir Makhlouf, who was investigated for alleged harassment and public indecency, will enjoy immunity from prosecution. “We are before parliament to demand better implementation of Bill 58, to protect women from sexual harassment and violence because we are always victims of it”, said campaign manager, Nawrez Elladi. “The new parliament will sit and in that parliament, there is an elected representative, Mr. Makhlouf, who was caught red-handed, who harassed a young girl, a student. And that person must not remain in our democratic parliament today”, a protester said. Makhlouf, who was elected for the Qalb Tounes party was filmed with his trousers dropped to his knees by a student who shared it online along with accusations of sexual harassment. The MP has denied inappropriate conduct and said he was urinating due to a medical condition. The video went viral in the North African nation sparking Tunisia’s own #MeToo movement. The protesters have called for stricter implementation of a July 2017 law that outlaws sexual harassment in public places with a maximum of one year in prison and $1,000 fine. Article 68 of Tunisia’s constitution provides that no sitting MP can be “arrested or tried for their opinions… or for actions taken in connection with their parliamentary duties.” This in theory excludes allegations of sexual impropriety. AFP
  • G5 Sahel force cannot fully tackle rampaging terrorists - UN chief to UNSC
    United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that terrorist groups have strengthened their foothold across Africa’s Sahel region, which is experiencing escalating violence. The U.N. chief said in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Wednesday that the expanding foothold is “making large swaths of territory unstable and stoking ethnic, violence, especially in Burkina Faso and Mali.” Guterres said combatting terrorism in the Sahel “cannot be outsourced” to the G5 Sahel Force established by Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, or to the region or to the African continent. “Terrorism is a global issue, and the entire international community has a responsibility to contribute to the collective effort of tackling extremist violence in the Sahel, along with other cross-border challenges, including trafficking in persons, illicit goods, weapons and drugs, and migration and displacement,” he said. The secretary-general said the challenges the Sahel is facing are caused by poverty, marginalization, impunity and weakened government presence, “and are compounded by the impact of climate change and the scarcity of natural resources.” Civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, Guterres said, calling the numbers “shocking.” “Since January alone, more than 1,500 civilians have been internally displaced across the five countries, representing more than twice the number of persons displaced in 2018,” he said. Burkina Faso has experienced the most significant rise, with 486,000 displaced people this year compared with 80,000 last year, he said. Guterres’ report focused on the G5 Sahel force, which he said “continues to face significant training, capability and equipment shortfalls” that hamper its operations. “The lack of air assets, armored vehicles and transport capabilities and individual protection equipment compounds the threat posed by the use of improvised explosive devices,” he said. But Guterres said he is “particularly encouraged” by the commitment of leaders of the West African regional group ECOWAS at a summit in September to pledge “$1 billion to fight terrorism and extremism over the next five years.” He said this “illustrates a willingness to take ownership and address the challenges facing the countries.” Guterres also welcomed contributions from the European Union and others, and noted the U.S. provision of equipment and training to troops from Chad, Mauritania and Niger. But he said the G5 Sahel force will need more support “to fully play its role and yield more tangible results” in combating the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Guterres reiterated his call for “predictable and sustained funding to the force” by the U.N. Security Council, which the United States and others have so far blocked. Acting U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen said in May that the Trump administration continues to believe bilateral aid is the best way to support the G5 force. AP
  • AFCON 2021 qualifiers: Gambia, CAR, Namibia off to winning starts
    Senegal showed their teeth on the opening day of qualifiers for the 2021 African Cup of Nations but other continental heavyweights struggled to find form on Wednesday. Nigeria could only scrape a 2-1 home win over neighbours Benin while Cameroon were held to an embarrassing home draw by the Cape Verde Islands. Cameroon are hosts of the next finals but are also participating in the qualifying competition. Assan Cessay scored two goals in two minutes for the Gambia, who went on to cause an upset by winning 3-1 in Angola to secure their first away victory in a Cup of Nations or World Cup qualifier. There were also wins for the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Namibia and Sudan and a potential valuable away point for the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho, who drew 1-1 in Sierra Leone. Senegal, runners-up in this year’s Nations Cup in Egypt, beat Congo 2-0 at home with first-half goals from Sidy Sarr and Habib Diallo as Sadio Mane provided an assist. Nigeria went behind after nine minutes in Uyo where Stephane Sessegnon scored for Benin but a penalty from Victor Osimhen and the winner from Samuel Kalu ensured a narrow win. It is the fourth time in five games that goal-shy Cameroon have played out a goalless draw in a stuttering start for new coach Toni Conceição. Angola were ahead after two minutes through Wilson Eduardo but were hit by a double from FC Zurich striker Cessay before Sulayman Marreh added a third for Gambia on the stroke of fulltime. Gambia had not won in 39 previous away qualifiers, including losing in Luanda two months ago in the 2022 World Cup preliminaries. Qualifiers continue with matches every day until next Tuesday, by which time each of the 48 participating countries will have played two games each. REUTERS
  • BRICS leaders discuss global economic setbacks
    BRICS leaders discussed current global economic challenges on Wednesday with a commitment to overcome them. At an event for business executives in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, Russian president Vladimir Putin expressed optimism. “Due to the double recession we faced, we have seen an increase in protectionist attitudes with problems in customs, but the countries of BRICS have to make an effort for not being dejected by those kind of things. We have to keep the livelihood of our people and improve it”, Putin said. South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the impact of the economic crisis on businesses. “Key countries in the global economy are currently facing slowing growth, complex challenges to their trading relationships or a turn away from the open rules based global trading system to being much more closed and introvert. For business people, these challenges are felt in slowing investment opportunities, mostly costly and a complex trade, and raising uncertainty. I’m confident that the BRICS countries can overcome these challenges”, Ramaphosa said. Chinese President Xi Jinping said mounting protectionisms and global threats have derailed international trade and investment. For India’s Narendra Modi, taxation and customs process have become simpler between BRICS. He said that the business environment is becoming more conducive Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa underscored the importance of integration aimed at boosting their economic growth. On Thursday, the leaders will hold plenary sessions and bilateral meetings. *AP
  • South African Airways suspends all flights as mass strike looms
    South Africa’s troubled state-owned airline has begun canceling flights after two unions announced their workers would go on strike to protest nearly 1,000 expected job cuts. South African Airways has warned that the strike that begins Friday morning “endangers the future of the airline.” The airline has canceled nearly all international and domestic flights it operates on Friday and Saturday after the South African Cabin Crew Association and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa said they would go on strike Friday. The strike was announced shortly after the airline said it is launching a restructuring process that could affect nearly 950 employees. The airline says its challenges include insufficient revenue and an aging fleet. SAA’s international destinations include New York, London, Hong Kong and Frankfurt. AP
  • U.S. tasks Egypt to probe and prosecute torture by security forces
    The United States and other Western countries on Wednesday, admonished Egypt to initiate an inquiry into alleged killings and torture by its security forces. They also urged the release of journalists and others arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The U.S. Human Rights Counsellor Daniel Kronenfeld said: “We recommend Egypt to: One, address impunity by credibly investigating allegations of extrajudicial killings, torture, and forced disappearances by security forces, publicly release findings, and prosecute those responsible. “Two, release detainees held for exercising their rights to freedom of expression or association and ensure fair trial guarantees for those remaining in detention. According to reports, the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is reviewing Egypt’s records as part of a regular examination of all U.N. member states. However, the Egyptian authorities reiterated their commitment to punitive measures against perpetrators of heinous crimes. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Omar Marwan told the media that Egypt has obeyed international reporting structures. “During the past five years, many criminals and disciplinary actions were taken for incidents related to torture, many trails were organized against perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment. “Our report submits data and numbers on these trails and a detailed report of this issue shall be submitted to the CAT (Committee Against Torture).” According to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, nearly 3,000 people, including lawyers and academics, are being held. Most of them were charged over issues including the use of social media to spread false news, joining a banned terrorist group, and protesting without a permit.




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