Africanews RSS Receive free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds. Wed, 24 May 2017 10:30:55 +0000 Wed, 24 May 2017 10:30:55 +0000 Customs seizes container loaded with 440 arms, ammunition in Lagos Wed, 24 May 2017 10:30:55 +0000 Nigeria’s custom authorities on Tuesday intercepted a 20-foot container loaded with 440 arms and ammunition of various sizes and designs, the Nigeria Customs Service has said. The assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Monday Abueh, said the arms were shipped from Turkey, adding that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the seized arms at Tin-Can Island port in Lagos. According to Mr. Abue, the intercepted 440 pieces of pump action rifles were manufactured in the United States of America and Italy. “They are pump action rifles of various designs and also the single barrel device that you are familiar with. “We have arrested one defendant but due to security reasons, we don’t want to make it public for now because such information could hamper investigations which are still ongoing,” he added. Mr Abue further revealed that the container was intercepted even before declaration as investigations were ongoing to uncover the shipper. The consignment, according to the custom authorities, was declared as white cement to cover up the illicit import. Nigeria have been hit by insecurity threats mainly from Boko Haram Jihadists fighters. The national government has put in place measures to counter any terror activities including placing control units to tackle arms flow in the conflict hit regions. Michael Oduor The race heats up for Liberia's presidency Wed, 24 May 2017 10:32:22 +0000   As Liberia heads to the polls later this year the battle to succeed president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf rages. The race includes among others four main competitors who are in line to succeed the president in October. Among them is the country’s vice president. “The difference is that other candidates are seeking for power. Maybe they have money and they want power, Joe Boakai is looking for opportunity to give back to this country, knowing where he comes from,“said Liberian Vice- While another is a technocrat, having worked for global soft drinks company Coca-Cola. “I have a very good chance to win this election. You know it’s pretty much an opened field that the incumbent President is not running, which I think makes a difference,” said Alexander Cummings, former VP Coca-Cola Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is throwing her weight behind her deputy. “I will support Vice President Boakai in all his endeavours according to how he set his program to become president I will give him the fullest support, but he will get it the same way I got it.” In the run is also a former war lord former football ace George Weah. About 2 million people are registered to vote. Sirleaf’s successor will have to ensure the peace and prosperity of a country still marked by 14 years of a bloody civil war, and rebuild a nation that is till battling the effects of the Ebola epidemic. UK raises threat level to 'critical' following Manchester terror attack Wed, 24 May 2017 09:59:39 +0000 Britain has raised its security threat level from “severe” to “critical” following the suicide bombing in Manchester which killed 22 people. The move means that further attacks may be imminent. Prime Minister Theresa May made the announcement.from Downing Street after chairing another emergency Cobra meeting. “The change in the threat level means that they will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe.[...] This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.” Police have named Salman Abedi as the suspected suicide bomber – a 22-year-old of Libyan decent but British born. Several properties in Manchester have also been raided. Investigators have so far been unable to rule out if the bomber acted alone. Mark Rowley, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at the Metropolitan Police says the investigation is making progress. “The public will be aware of the arrest that’s been made and the searches that are ongoing and there’s more work of that type that we’re continuing at the moment. However, as we’ve said throughout the last 24 hours, the critical line of inquiry for us is looking at whether the dead terrorist was acting alone or as part of a group.” Monday night’s attack at the end of a pop concert at the Manchester Arena is UK’s worst since the 2005 London train bombing. Many of the 22 dead and scores of injured were children and young people. The bomber detonated his device just as people were leaving the the Ariana Grande concert in order to cause maximum carnage. Three Kenyan police killed in landmine attack claimed by al Shabaab Wed, 24 May 2017 09:33:25 +0000 Three police officers were killed in eastern Kenya on Wednesday when their vehicle hit a landmine, a senior official said, in an attack claimed by Somali jihadist group al Shabaab. The officers were part of a three-vehicle early morning patrol in the Somali border region when their truck hit the improvised explosive device (IED), North Eastern regional commissioner Mohamud Ali Saleh said. “The police car ran over an IED and we have casualties. All the dead officers are from one work station,” Saleh told Reuters, without revealing the number of wounded officers. “From past incidences, it is easy to see that even this one is the work of our enemy, the al Shabaab. They plant these IEDs to target our security people.” The Kenyan Red Cross said on Twitter eight officers had been wounded. “We are behind the attack in Liboi area. We destroyed the police car. Some died and others were injured,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman told Reuters. The Garissa county in which the incident happened has suffered several attacks linked to al Shabaab in the last few years, including a 2015 assault on a university in which 148 people were killed. Al Shabaab, which seeks to topple Somalia’s government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Sharia law, says it will continue to attack Kenya until Nairobi withdraws its troops from an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The police said on Tuesday they were on alert for an increase in violence after al Shabaab fighters were detected moving into Kenya in small groups. “These groups are dispatching operatives into parts of North Eastern Region to lay IEDs along the routes used by our security patrols in efforts to frustrate our security operations at the border areas,” it said. Reuters South African trade union bans Jacob Zuma from attending its meetings Wed, 24 May 2017 07:32:52 +0000 The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has issued a communique stating that the country’s president Jacob Zuma will no longer be welcome to address its initiatives. Cosatu secretary-general Bheki Ntshalintshali said the decision was taken during a meeting on Tuesday and that they will officially communicate this to the African National Coalition, including implications for the alliance. “We have agreed with the position of workers that allowing Zuma to address the May Day rally was not consistent with our position that we no longer trusted and supported Zuma’s leadership,” said Mr Ntshalintshali. Earlier this month President Zuma was booed at a Cosatu May Day rally in Bloemfontein forcing him to cut short his speech. The union members were calling for his resignation following recent cabinet purge and his decision to sack his widely respected finance minister. Three Cosatu affiliates had sent a request a week before the rally to barre Zuma from addressing members of the union on Labour day. The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), the National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) sent letters to Cosatu’s national office bearers a week before the May Day celebrations, protesting President Zuma’s invitation. Frustrations with a sinking economy, corruption scandals and intimidation of the party’s critics fueled the shouts of “Zuma must go” and “Zuma must fall” even from the Congress of South African Trade Unions – once a formal alliance partner of the ruling ANC party. Among those protesting against Zuma are members of several opposition parties, many civil-society groups, trade unions, business executives, the ruling party’s alliance partners in the Communist Party, former President Mandela’s granddaughter Ndileka, and even the 85-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, who is in frail health. Michael Oduor Meet Liberia's only female candidate running for president against over 20 men Tue, 23 May 2017 22:39:31 +0000 The contest to replace Liberia’s president and one of Africa’s three elected female heads of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has grown keener as the October 10, 2017 election date draws nearer. Among over 20 candidates who are all men, one woman with little political experience stands strong as she hopes to become the continent’s fourth elected female head of state. Women have done it and another woman will do it again! #LetsGoLiberia #MacDellaIsChange #BetterThanThis— MacdellaCooper (@MacdellaCooper) May 11, 2017 40-year-old former model and philanthropist MacDella Cooper is rubbing shoulders with veteran politicians who want to direct the affairs of Africa’s oldest republic state. Since she announced her presidential ambition in October last year under the ticket of her party, Union of Liberian Democrats (ULD), MacDella Cooper has campaigned across the country guided by her “five-star platform of hope and reform”: free education, universal healthcare, electricity in every home, decentralization and land ownership. MONROVIA — The Union of Liberian Democrats convention formally nominated Amb. MacDella Cooper for president on Saturday, April 22, 2017….— MacdellaCooper (@MacdellaCooper) April 25, 2017 “Our nation still grapples with huge challenges … While I would hasten to acknowledge the significant progress made by this government in terms of socioeconomic transformation; the task to improve the lives of our people is far from completion,” she said on her campaign website. Our nation is at a critical cross roads. We are going through the worst recession in our nation’s history…— MacdellaCooper (@MacdellaCooper) April 27, 2017 She founded the MacDella Cooper Foundation in 2003 and returned to Liberia from her base in the United States in 2005 to offer education, health and economic support for orphaned children, women and the youth of Liberia. Taste of War MacDella Cooper was 13 years old and living in Monrovia when the 14-year civil war spread to the capital in 1990. Without documentation, she was left behind in Monrovia with her two older brothers, aged 14 and 16, who together successfully reached Ivory Coast by foot through bushes, she narrated her story to business journal International Business Times last year. With the help of her mother, who had earlier escaped to the United States with some of her siblings, young MacDella reunited with her family in New Jersey in 1993 when she was 16. She enrolled in school and later earned a degree in Electronic Communications. Career MacDella Cooper ventured into the fashion industry as a successful runway model in New York and fashion coordinator for fashion brand Ralph Lauren. Family MacDella Cooper has three children with three men including American businessman Richard Parsons and her opponent, football legend turned politician Senator George Weah – who is leading a coalition of three parties. George Weah run for president in 2005 losing to Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In 2011 he run again as a vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of Winston Tubman but failed. “I’m a new breed of politicians that believe politics is just an idea … George Weah is a very good friend, so is Alex Cummings, so with Joseph Boakai, everybody else in the race. I have no enemies; everybody is my friend,” she told the Voice of America in an interview last week. .MacdellaCooper Liberian Pres. Candidate talk abt her work helping women and children.— Straight Talk Africa (VOAShaka) May 17, 2017 She once said in a 2014 interview when she was with George Weah that: “He’s going to be the next president of Liberia. You have a future first lady here”. October 10, 2017 Elections Currently, 22 candidates have expressed interest in contesting in the general elections as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ends her two-term mandate. If elected, MacDella Cooper will be the 25th President of Liberia and will serve a six-year term which can be renewed once. Thank God for another VICTORIOUS day. The enemy of progress will not prevail.CHANGE has come and folks are going to have to get used to it.— MacdellaCooper (@MacdellaCooper) May 11, 2017 Photo Credit: MacDella Cooper/ Facebook Ismail Akwei 500 Islamic scholars pray for Nigeria's ailing President Buhari Tue, 23 May 2017 22:44:23 +0000 A total of 500 Islamic scholars from 14 districts of the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara have prayed for ailing Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the country. This was disclosed by an official of the state who said the scholars recited the Holy Quran 100 times from Sunday night to Monday morning as part of the Nigerian public holiday Democracy Day which falls on May 29. “If the President, as the leader of Nigeria, is not well, then it becomes the concern of all Nigerians to know that his recovery is highly important to us as a people and as a nation,” local news portal Vanguard quotes Alhaji Lawal Liman, the state’s Commissioner for Rural and Community Development. “We have organised different prayer sessions throughout the state and we believe as Hafeez (memorizers of the Holy Qur’an) their prayers will be of immense benefit for our state, its leaders and people and the nation, especially the President, who is now on medical treatment in London,” Liman added. Muhammadu Buhari left the country for London early this month to “seek further medical checkups” two months after he returned from a medical leave. “The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. Government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President,” a statement from the presidency said. Before his departure, Buhari missed three consecutive cabinet meetings deepening fears about his capacity to rule Africa’s most populous country. Osinbajo, a lawyer who is seen as more business-friendly than Buhari, has played an active role in driving policy changes, chairing cabinet meetings during the president’s medical leave. Officials have sought to avoid a scenario seen in 2010 when political infighting broke out when then-President Umaru Yar’Adua was sick for months. Osinbajo was already given full powers to act during Buhari’s previous absence, in contrast to his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan who only took over after Yar’Adua’s death in 2010 ended a power vacuum. Ismail Akwei Ex-Nigerian governor gets £1 in damages for unlawful detention in UK Tue, 23 May 2017 22:42:44 +0000 Former Nigerian governor and ex-convict James Ibori has been awarded £1 in damages for unlawful detention by British Home Secretary in December last year. This is way below the £4,000 he is demanding from the court for being unlawfully held for a day and 18 hours on December 20, 2016 in immigration detention although due for release. A London High Court on Monday contended to Ibori’s claim but said his immigration detention was probably because of millions of pounds the authorities have still not recovered from him, BBC reported. His lawyer, Tony Eluemunor, had announced earlier on Monday the “winning streak” of Ibori, describing it as an “important legal victory against the British Secretary of State for the Home Department. The costs the Home Department will have to pay to him, as ordered by the court, will be determined later.” James Ibori has been jailed in the UK since 2012 for fraud of nearly £50 million. He was arrested in Dubai and extradited to the UK after failure to arrest him in Nigeria. He was previously convicted in 1991 for stealing in a store in the UK before becoming governor of the Delta State in 1991. Despite spending about five years in jail in the UK, he was gloriously welcomed to Nigeria in February this year when he returned home. Ismail Akwei Egypt orders detention of ex-presidential candidate: lawyer Tue, 23 May 2017 22:57:05 +0000 A prominent Egyptian opposition leader was ordered detained on Tuesday for “offending public decency” amid what rights lawyers say is a wave of arrests of potential presidential candidates one year before the election. Khalid Ali, 45, a prominent human rights lawyer who ran in Egypt’s 2012 election, has suggested he might run against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a presidential election slated for 2018. His detention order follows a spate of recent arrests that rights lawyers say has been directed at opposition figures in Egypt who have indicated they could run against Sisi next year. Eight members of Ali’s left-wing Bread and Freedom Party (BFP) have been detained since April on charges including “misusing social media to incite against the state” and “insulting the president”, according to the party’s legal advisor. Egypt’s interior ministry denies the arrests are politically motivated. Sisi, 62, overthrew elected President Mohammed Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood official, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule and launched a crackdown on Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement. He went on to win a presidential vote in 2014. Sisi has not said whether he will seek re-election when his current term ends in 2018 but has made much of his popular mandate and promised to respect the will of Egyptians. Khalid Ali gained prominence in January after defending a case against a government plan to transfer two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a deal that prompted protests from Egyptians. He is being sued by a private citizen over a photograph in which he appears to make a rude hand gesture on the steps of a Cairo court house, according to his lawyer Malek Adly. Ali denies the authenticity of the photo. A judicial source confirmed Ali had been ordered detained for 24 hours for questioning about the incident in Cairo on Jan 16. It was not clear if he had yet been detained. Reuters DR Congo opens investigation into ex-minister over Kasai violence Wed, 24 May 2017 07:09:54 +0000 Congo’s attorney general said on Tuesday he had opened an investigation into a former minister over allegations he played a role in militia violence in central Congo that a U.N. employee was investigating shortly before she was killed. His announcement followed a report by The New York Times on Saturday that Zaida Catalan, a U.N. investigator killed in March in central Democratic Republic of Congo, had a recording of a phone call between ex-development minister Clement Kanku and a presumed militia member. In it, the newspaper reported, Kanku is heard speaking approvingly of violence perpetrated by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, whose insurrection against government forces in the Kasai region has resulted in hundreds of deaths and displaced over 1 million people since last July. Kanku, who served as development minister from last December until a reshuffle earlier this month, declined to immediately comment. He told Reuters that he would respond later on Tuesday. Attorney General Flory Numbi told reporters in the capital Kinshasa that he had written to the National Assembly to request permission to conduct preliminary searches of Kanku’s property because he enjoys immunity as a member of parliament. “If at the end of this investigation, I am convinced that the facts are established regarding the relevant charges, (Kanku) will be charged with participation in an insurrectional movement, assassination, voluntary arson, malicious destruction and association with criminals,” Numbi said. Catalan and her American colleague Michael Sharp were investigating such acts in Kasai when they were killed in March. Their bodies were found in a shallow grave in the same month. According to the Times story, Catalan had a recording of a phone conversation — which she had told Kanku about — in which an apparent militiaman informs Kanku that the militia has set fire to a town in Kasai-Central province. “It’s good that we burn everything; that is good news,” Kanku is quoted as saying on the tape. Kanku has so far declined to respond to any of these claims. Congolese military investigators said on Saturday that two alleged militiamen would soon face trial for Catalan and Sharp’s killings and that another 14 suspects were at large. A U.N. board of inquiry is investigating the experts’ deaths but is not expected to assign blame. Sweden has also opened a police investigation. Reuters Leader of Nigeria's ruling APC party warns of coup threat Tue, 23 May 2017 22:49:53 +0000 Nigeria has paid a high price to achieve democracy and will foil any attempts by those hoping to stage a coup, the national leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party said on Monday. Bola Tinubu’s warning came after the chief of army staff last week ordered officers to steer clear from politics and said he had received information that some soldiers had been approached by individuals for “undisclosed political reasons”. “Just a few days ago we heard a warning that some people were trying to entice the military out of the barracks. I want to add my voice to that warning,” Tinubu, who leads President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC party, said in a speech to the state assembly in Lagos. “Those who think they can break the democracy for which so many laboured and which too many sacrificed limb and life, are sorely mistaken. Nigeria has come too far for such a thing…. don’t think about it.” He did not specify who he was referring to in the speech. President Buhari, who is on his second medical leave this year for an undisclosed ailment, has been widely criticised over his handling of Africa’s largest economy since taking office in May 2015. Nigeria has entered its second year of a recession, largely caused by low oil prices, that has seen a dollar scarcity and high inflation. His deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, has been acting president since the 74-year-old former military ruler left for Britain on May 7. Nigeria has been under civilian rule since 1999 after military dictatorships held power for the vast majority of the years following independence from Britain in 1960. Buhari was also the nation’s military head of state from December 1983 to August 1985, when he was deposed in a coup. Reuters Suicide bomber kills five in Somalia's northern Puntland region Wed, 24 May 2017 08:47:12 +0000 A suicide bomber killed five people, including a policeman, and injured 12 others on Tuesday at a police checkpoint in Somalia’s northern Puntland region, a local governor said, the first such attack in three years. Although suicide bombings are common in the capital of Mogadishu, they are relatively rare in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, where the security forces are relatively regularly paid and receive substantial U.S. assistance. “The bomber seemed suspicious as he walked and when he was ordered to stop, he blew himself up,” said Yusuf Mohamed, governor of Bari region in Puntland. The al Qaeda-linked Somali Islamist insurgency, al Shabaab, which claims responsibility for most attacks, told Reuters they were not behind the bombing. Puntland, which is just across the Red Sea from Yemen, is also home to a splinter group of al Shabaab that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group. Security sources say there is a small contingent of foreigners there too. The fighters loyal to Islamic State briefly seized the port town of Qandala in December but were driven back into the mountains by Puntland security services. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack. Somalia has been ravaged by civil war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other. Reuters 55 Biafra secessionist protesters arrested in Nigeria Tue, 23 May 2017 22:54:27 +0000 Nigeria arrested 55 members of a Biafran separatist movement on Monday during protests in the oil-rich southeast, police said. Secessionist sentiment simmered in the region since the Biafra separatist rebellion tipped the country into a 1967-70 civil war that killed an estimated 1 million people. In Enugu, a major city in the southeast, 41 members of a Biafra group were arrested, police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said. “They were not violent per se but they conducted themselves in a manner that could breach the peace,” he said. “They are still in custody and undergoing interrogation.” In Bayelsa state, part of the Niger Delta, 14 Biafra movement members who had been trying join a protest were arrested, said a police source. Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra campaign group, was released on bail on Friday after being detained for nearly two years. He has been charged with criminal conspiracy and belonging to an illegal society. Amnesty International last year accused Nigerian security forces of killing at least 150 Biafra separatists at peaceful rallies, which the military and police denied. Reuters Manchester police name suspect in Manchester Arena bomb attack Wed, 24 May 2017 06:43:03 +0000 Police in Manchester have named a man they suspect of carrying out Monday night’s bomb attack at Manchester Arena which claimed at least 22 lives. Greater Manchester’s Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said the suspect was 22-year-old Salman Abedi. Reuters had earlier reported that US intelligence officials had revealed Abedi’s name and that he had travelled to Manchester from London by train. Earlier, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing although this claim has yet to be confirmed. The attack, which happened after an Ariana Grande gig at Manchester Arena in northern England, also wounded 59 people. May said ‘many’ had life-threatening injuries. The attacker “detonated an improvised explosive device” and died at the scene, say police, but it is not clear whether he was acting alone or as part of a militant group. ISIS’ claim of responsibility, which was made in a statement posted on telegram, read “One of the soldiers of the Caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the Crusaders in the city of Manchester.” Lack of clean water endangers displaced South Sudanese Wed, 24 May 2017 05:37:42 +0000 Officials in South Sudan are undertaking efforts to bring clean drinking water to displaced persons in Aburoc in the Upper Nile Region. The intervention is necessary as the threat of a cholera outbreak looms. UNICEF says continuous conflict has left some 5 million people in the country with no access to safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene. The situation has led to humanitarian organizations leaving the area but some have remained. Some 17 aid agencies are providing assistance including food, water, sanitation and medical care as well as shelter. “Here we drink water from the stream and whenever we use this water for bathing, we get rashes. Like my skin now has a rash. But what can we do? Nobody is able to stay here. We will go to Sudan because in Sudan, the humanitarian assistance is better.” A displaced person said. A UN humanitarian co-ordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu has called for a “This needless conflict is creating untold human suffering and all we are doing as humanitarians and even as UNMISS is really dealing with the consequences of a problem. The fundamental problem is conflict. We need to fix the politics; we need to stop this needless fighting. The guns have to stay silent to give the South Sudanese the opportunity to live in peace and prosperity and also to live a life of dignity,” he said. South Sudan’s civil war of four years old has forced more than 3 million people to flee their homes, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Ethiopian Airlines opens new air route to south west China Wed, 24 May 2017 05:32:42 +0000 A direct flight has opened between Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Operated by Ethiopian Airlines, it will depart from Chengdu every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with a travel time of 9.5 hours. It is the second direct air route from Chengdu to Africa, also the 100th international and regional air route to operate at Chengdu airport. Ethiopian Airlines has direct air routes to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The airline now serves 13 airports in Asia on 100 weekly flights. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir accuses Egypt of arming rebels Tue, 23 May 2017 20:34:50 +0000 Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has alleged that Egyptian government is arming rebel groups in the troubled Darfur region of the country. Sudanese forces he says have captured Egyptian weapons during clashes, adding they have intercepted two rebel convoys coming from Libya and South Sudan. The latest accusation follows an ongoing tension between the two countries with Sudan accusing Egypt’s UN representative of supporting calls to extend international sanctions on Sudan Cairo has denied the claim. Bashir has also been heavily criticized in local Egyptian media over his recent visit to Ethiopia, which is building a Nile dam Egypt fears would affect its Nile water share. Sudan’s war of many years has left the country in a frustrated state. Ethiopia's Tedros elected first African Director-General of WHO Tue, 23 May 2017 16:49:33 +0000 Our journalists are working on this story and will update it as soon as more information becomes available. ANC dismisses report of a meeting to discuss Zuma's removal Wed, 24 May 2017 05:37:52 +0000 South Africa’s ruling African National Congress dismissed a media report on Tuesday that President Jacob Zuma’s removal would be discussed at an ANC meeting this weekend as untrue. Analysts also poured water on the likelihood of Zuma being ousted or stepping down before his term as ANC head ends in December. Zuma faces a no-confidence vote in parliament that analysts said is likely to fail due to the broad support and control he enjoys over the ruling party and the economy. Opposition to Zuma inside the ANC and from opposition parties and civil society groups, however, has swelled since he axed respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan in late March, triggering credit downgrades to “junk” by two rating agencies. On Tuesday, Bloomberg quoted two anonymous sources as saying the ANC would discuss the removal of Zuma at a meeting of top party leaders at the weekend, a report that firmed the rand by 1.5 percent against the dollar. ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa denied the report, saying it was “a complete fabrication and not true”. A senior member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) told Reuters he was unaware of any changes to the draft agenda of a major policy meeting at the end of June. NKC African Economists analyst Gary van Staden said Zuma wielded enough control over the ANC to defeat the no-confidence vote in parliament as well as any internal party challenges. “The cabinet reshuffle has demonstrated one clear problem. To characterise Zuma as a weakened president on his way out would be to underestimate the patronage networks he has around him and supporting him,” he said. “We need to understand that the ANC would know exactly which lawmakers are likely to rebel and vote against the president and I’ve no doubt they are being persuaded otherwise.” The firming currency highlighted the perception by investors that an early Zuma exit would be a positive for the economy, which is on the brink of a technical recession after contracting in the final quarter of 2016. “There might be a very short-term positive impact especially in the markets. We would see the rand exchange rate appreciating a lot and bond yields declining,” said economist Elize Kruger. A bid to remove Zuma by at least three cabinet ministers during a party meeting in November saw the currency gain nearly 4 percent in two days before retreating when Zuma prevailed. Reuters South Sudan's unilateral ceasefire [The Morning Call] Tue, 23 May 2017 11:04:31 +0000 President of war-ravaged South Sudan Salva Kiir declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday and promised to release political prisoners. He also launched a national dialogue which is a controversial bid to end a civil war that excludes his rival Riek Machar. Kiir himself will be overseeing the dialogue, a fact which has drawn criticism from opposition groups and activists, and has refused to have his foe Machar take part. Burkina Faso: Self-defence militia groups suspended [The Morning Call] Tue, 23 May 2017 11:04:25 +0000 At least five people were killed and ten others wounded in Burkina Faso, during clashes between civilians and members of a self-defence militia group last week. This is according to a statement released by the country’s Ministry of Security which says the fighting occurred between Thursday and Saturday in the Reo department. Social media made in restive DR Congo [Hi-Tech] Wed, 24 May 2017 08:02:25 +0000 Known for conflicts and political crisis, this central African country has a life of technology and a very savvy youth who are projecting the country in a good light. One of them is Alvine Bauma, a 24-year-old student of the Free University of the Great Lakes Countries in Goma, South Kivu. This young entrepreneur has built a social media platform called Tezzou, that seeks to connect the world to the Congolese people and the Congolese people to each other. Watch this edition of Hi-Tech on The Morning Call with Ismail Akwei. Nigeria: UN trains airport officers on counter terrorism Tue, 23 May 2017 15:37:22 +0000 In a bid to improving Aviation Security in Nigeria, the United Nations recently trained (35)Aviation Security officers in the capital, Abuja. The Managing Director, of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) Saleh expressed that human capacity development is the surest way to meet the highest standards of professionalism and best industry practices, as well as continuous training and retraining of its members of staff, in line with the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). He made this disclosure in Abuja at the graduation ceremony of the (35) Aviation Security officers. The training was organized by the REDLINE ASSURED SECURITY; on Counter Terrorism tagged ‘Train the Trainer Course 19’ and lasted four months. Speaking at the event was the Honourable Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika who expressed a deep sense of fulfillment with the exercise and said further he will continue to do everything within his powers to encourage and promote knowledge development in every facet of the industry. He also promised to empower the graduands in every way legally possible, including equipping them with light arms. Also speaking the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ad Interim Mohammed Fall commended the Government of Nigeria for her significant effort in improving Aviation Security in the current context of the country. He added that this would boost global confidence, especially in doing business with the country. Earlier, the Managing Director of FAAN, , who was represented at the event by the Authority’s Director of Security Services, Group Captain USA Sadiq admonished the graduating officers to efficiently apply the knowledge and make a personal commitment to excel in their chosen careers. He also said that the career path is crucial especially it boarders around safety and security of lives and properties. The highlight of the event was the presentation of certificates to the graduands by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation. In his closing remarks, the MD re-assured that FAAN will continue to invest in its human while congratulating all graduands for their excellent performance. Dibie Ike Michael China to build Congo's new €50m parliament for free Tue, 23 May 2017 15:05:22 +0000 The Republic of Congo’s new parliament will be built by the Chinese at an estimated cost of €50m, which the Chinese government is giving as a gift. President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Monday launched the commencement of work on the edifice to be located in the capital, Brazzaville. According to the authorities of both countries, the building which is valued at more than 34 billion FCFA (52 million euros) is said to be fully-funded as a donation from the Chinese government to the Congolese government. Present at the launch ceremony was China’s Deputy Minister of Commerce, Qian Keming. The construction has been entrusted to the Chinese Jiangsu Provincial Construction Ltd., for a scheduled period of 40 months. “This project is helping to open the capital city to modernity”, and “remains one of the biggest cooperation projects carried out by China in sub-Saharan Africa in the form of a gift”, Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister in charge of planning of the territory of the Congo said. Rights groups and opposition kick against move Human rights activists and the opposition believe that a new parliament is not a priority for a country fraught with rights issues and political violence in the Pool region. “A new seat for a Parliament is not a priority,” said Trésor Nzila, executive director of the Congolese Human Rights Observatory in Congo. His position is shared by Clement Miérassa, president of the Congolese Social Democratic Party: “I hope that this Chinese investment will not in the future have an impact on Congo’s debt that has already exploded.” Chinese investments on the continent are widely believed to be in exchange for other resources that the respective countries have, in the case of Congo oil and timber. “The priority for us is the resolution of the crisis that has shaken the Pool for a year and the improvement of the human rights situation as a whole,” Nzila added. The President in a recent interview with France24 denied that there was any crisis in the region. The Pool Region in southern Congo-Brazzaville has been plunged into violence since April 2016, following the re-election of President Sassou Nguesso. A poll that the president according to the electoral body won over 60% of but which was challenged by the opposition. Sassou Nguesso has been president of oil-rich Congo-Brazzaville for over three decades. The small Central African country with an estimated 4 million inhabitants, however, has a huge poor population. Its economy has been adversely affected by the fall in global oil prices. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Tunisia: Protester killed as violence escalates Tue, 23 May 2017 15:24:11 +0000 A young protester died on Monday after having being hit “accidentally” by a vehicle of the gendarmerie in the south of Tunisia, as fear escalates in the troubled region due to social unrest, authorities have announced. About 50 others have been hospitalised for inhaling gas and getting fractures during protests between forces of law and order and protesters at El-Kamour. Faced with this protest which has impeded the movement of trucks to the oil and gas fields of Tataouine the army has been firing warning shots to disperse the crowd. Put in place since less than a year now, the Union government of Youssef Chahed is faced with growing discontent particularly in the interior regions. The protests are usually done either through sit ins or road closures. U.S. extends 'temporary protected status' to Haitians Tue, 23 May 2017 15:07:16 +0000 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday said it will allow more than 50,000 victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquakes to remain in the United States with work authorizations until January 2018. Three DHS officials said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has assessed the situation in Haiti and believes conditions there are improving but still necessitate protected status for Haitians living in the U S. New York City’s Flatbush neighborhood is home to a sizable Haitian community where Caribbean businesses dot the area. Inside, Radio Soleil, which calls itself the voice of the Haitian community, station manager Ricot Dupuy hears the concerns of Haitians living and working in New York. Dupuy said Haitian families have been living in fear since the Miami Herald published an internal memo the last month from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of DHS, that recommended an end to Haiti’s TPS designation. “It’s a near panic situation. In all the Haitian families, that is what’s being discussed on the top of the agenda. It’s disbelief. They don’t think they would ever come to that point. TPS (Temporary Protected Status) has been renewed three times and they kind of expected it to happen, simply because the reasons that caused TPS to be granted are essentially the same and to some degree have worsened,” Dupuy said. He added that Haitians feel proud to live and work legally in the U.S. “They see the TPS as legalizing their status here. And all of a sudden, there is that threat of reverting to the situation in Haiti.” U.S. law allows DHS to grant temporary protected status to citizens of countries ravaged by violence, disease and natural disasters. A representative from Human Rights Watch in Haiti, Anthonal Mortime said Seven years after the 2010 earthquake, Haiti doesn’t have any plan for social accommodations, nor a plan to rebuild public buildings, accommodations where a family can live. “As a Haitian, I am optimistic, hoping that he [President Trump] will reinstate the TPS. If not, it could create a lot of problems, like a humanitarian catastrophe if those Haitians returning to the country don’t have any place to live, nothing to eat,” she said. As of 2015, 79,000 people were still living in Port-au-Prince’s tent camps. The squalid conditions were compounded last October when Hurricane Matthew slammed into the island nation. In a tent camp near the neighborhood of Petion-Ville, Clermentha has lived in a wooden and aluminum shack for the past seven years. “The Haitian state hasn’t done anything for us. Each day, the officials pass through here. They look at us. They see us. Sometimes the children are naked on the streets, under the dirty tents.They look at the kids; they take their pictures but they don’t tell us anything,” she added. The Department of Homeland Security will issue a notice to the Federal Register to extend temporary protected status within the coming days. After a 60-day period, Haitians under the status will be given new work authorizations valid until January. Dibie Ike Michael Three dead in Ivorian city of Bouake as ex-rebels clash with police Tue, 23 May 2017 14:38:45 +0000 Three demobilised ex-rebel fighters were killed in Ivory Coast’s second-biggest city, Bouake, on Tuesday as they clashed with police attempting to end their protest over bonus payments, a policeman and a spokesman for the former fighters said. The police source said another 20 people were being treated for injuries at the main hospital in Bouake, a city that has been at the centre of unrest this year caused by disgruntled soldiers and former combatants in a 2011 civil war. Accounts differed concerning what happened when police moved in to clear the group of former fighters, who had been blocking traffic on the main road leading into the city. Amadou Ouattara, a spokesman for the group, said policemen had fired teargas before shooting into the crowd of protesters. “They were unarmed,” Ouattara said. An officer with the police in Bouake disputed that version however. “One of the demobilised combatants had a grenade which exploded accidentally, killing three people at the scene and wounded more than 20,” said the officer, who asked not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the press. REUTERS Senegal: Girls shine in robotics competition [The Morning Call] Tue, 23 May 2017 10:47:20 +0000 The final of the second edition of the Pan-African Robotics Competition was held in Dakar, Senegal over the weekend. More than 200 students of secondary schools in Senegal, Gambia and Mali participated. The students also worked on machinery projects to solve the major problems of Africa. Press Review of May 23, 2017 [The Morning Call] Tue, 23 May 2017 11:05:24 +0000 We review the headlines of Africa’s top newspapers on The Morning Call. Al-Shabaab releases video of 'graduation' for its East Africa fighters Tue, 23 May 2017 11:46:53 +0000 Somalia-based insurgent group, Al-Shabaab, have released a video purportedly showing its fighters at a graduation ceremony. According to the group, its fighters were from neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as Uganda and Tanzania. The event was supervised by its spokesman, Ali Dhere. The video showed the gun-wielding masked soldiers in a bushy setting. They are all dressed in military apparel marching as Ali Dhere also holding a gun looks on. They chant slogans that have Al-Qaeda shouts at the end of each chorus. Pictures also showed the spokesperson addressing the soldiers who all sat on the ground with legs crossed. According to local journalists, he singled out Kenya for criticisms. New #AlShabaab video shows “graduation ceremony” of East #Africa fighters from Kenya Ethiopia Uganda & Tanzania, attended by Sheik Ali Dhere— Live From Mogadishu (@Daudoo) May 22, 2017 Al-Shabab issues new propaganda video of recruits from East Africa. Addressing the graduates Spox Ali Dhere singles out Kenya for criticism.— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) May 22, 2017 The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in a report last year, officially labeled al-Shabaab militants as a transnational security threat in the East Africa region. The Somali government has vowed to crush the militants in two years. President Farmaajo recently offered them amnesty and asked them to come to the negotiation table. The group has continually called the government’s bluff and has claimed a series of bomb attacks on civilian populations and some military installations. The group is currently fighting the Somali national army and an African Union force (AMISOM) which pushed them out of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab controls parts of Somalia and has staged attacks in neighbouring countries especially in Kenya. Ethiopia also has a military mission in the country but has recently withdrawn troops due to anti-government protests of 2016. The government has denied the claims. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban South Sudan: Rebels reject offer for dialogue Tue, 23 May 2017 14:57:19 +0000 South Sudanese rebels have rejected President Salva Kiir’s offer for dialogue. President Salva Kiir says he prefers to dialogue with the rebels in the absence of Riek Machar for fear that he could spark another conflict if he come back to South Sudan. However Salva Kiir says he is open to Machar’s delegation and has guaranteed their security. Kiir spoke at the swearing ceremony of the members of the dialogue committee which he formed earlier this year. The Sudanese government says “the dialogue should start with those that are willing while the committee continues to engage those who are hesitant or have concerns.” As a gesture of goodwill and in the spirit of national dialogue, Salvar Kiir has called on the judiciary to “review the cases of those who have committed crimes against the state, and take necessary steps to ensure their release.” AU, African gov'ts stand with UK after deadly Manchester attack Tue, 23 May 2017 11:11:40 +0000 African leaders have been condemning the terrorist act that hit the Manchester Arena in northern England. Current figures indicate that the at least 22 people, including children, have been killed in the suicide bomb attack. Another 59 people have been reported injured in the explosion which happened at the end of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande, around 10:30 pm on Monday. Africa’s condemnation was led by the African Union (AU) Commission chief, Moussa Ahmed Faki who tweeted his views (condemnation and consolation) early on Tuesday morning. ‘‘Africa stands with the people and government of the United Kingdom in reaffirming our solidarity with them during this difficult time,’‘ his final tweet read. Governments of Kenya, Somalia and South Africa have all officially reacted to the attack. I strongly condemn this senseless act of violence & loss of life, this time in #Manchester. #ManchesterAttacks— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@MoussaFaki_M) May 23, 2017 Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, in his message of condolence said his country as allies and partners of the UK will continue to support her in the fight against extremism. ‘‘Our hearts go out to the U.K., and especially to the families which have woken to devastating news this morning,’‘ he added. #Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta reacts to the #MachesterAttack— Rachael Akidi (@rakidi) May 23, 2017 South Africa issues statement “On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma extends his heartfelt condolences to the people of the United Kingdom, in particular, the families and loved ones of the deceased and wish the injured speedy recoveries. Acts of violence and extremism have no place in society and constitute a threat to peace, security and development. “The South African government condemns in the strongest terms terrorist attacks in any form and from whichever quarter and in particular, against innocent children and youth,” said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The Somali government also added their voice to the condemnation and pledged support to the UK government, ‘‘UK is resilient and will overcome,’‘ the statement read in part. Ugandan opposition leader, Kizza Besigye also sent out his condolences. Our thoughts and prayers with all victims of Manchester attack. #UK has stood by us and we are ready to stand by our friends.— Villa Somalia (@TheVillaSomalia) May 23, 2017 My sympathy & prayers go to the families of the dead &injured victims of the terrorist attack.— Kifefe Kizza-Besigye (@kizzabesigye1) May 23, 2017 Police details on the attack UK police say the attacker detonated an improvised explosive device and died at the scene. Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack, making it the deadliest assault in Britain since the London transport bombings in July 2005. Panic and chaos followed the blast as thousands of mainly teenage fans tried to escape the arena. Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe, opened in 1995 and has a capacity for 21,000 people, according to its website. It is a popular concert and sporting venue. “It happened so quickly. It was really scary”— Manchester News MEN (@MENnewsdesk) May 23, 2017 “It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and trying to get out,” said one witness. It appears to have been centered on the arena’s box office. “We believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man,” Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told reporters. “The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.” “This was an evil act” says MayorofGM</a> <a href="">AndyBurnhamGM on the #ManchesterAttack. He says “we are grieving but we are strong”— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 23, 2017 Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Illegal land occupations trouble South Africa's municipalities Tue, 23 May 2017 13:54:44 +0000 Frustrated over the pace of housing delivery and poor living conditions in informal settlements in South Africa, a group of people from informal settlements in Tshwane municipality in May gathered to protest poor, overcrowded living conditions. They also demand resettlement, after attempts to occupy a nearby space was met with threats by private land owners. More than two decades after the end of apartheid rule, most of South Africa’s land is still in the hands of the minority whites. The ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) has long been committed to redistributing it with President Jacob Zuma renewing promises to change the constitution to expropriate land without compensation and redistributing it. But the pace has been slow, relying mostly on a “willing buyer, willing seller” policy intended to respect property rights seen as vital to sustaining Africa’s most industrialized economy. “What we are crying for is land, because they have been saying our land is available. But where is it? We have nowhere to go except living in these shacks that burn easily,” said Solomon Nkwane, a protester in Tshwane. “The biggest issue for us right now is land… that’s it. We want land and services and to get electricity and water so that we can do our things and so that our children can live like all the other people,” said another protester Patricia Jafta. In May, more than 400 residents of Orange Farm, a township about 45 kilometers south of Johannesburg laid claim to private land and clashed with police that tried to bring down their makeshift shacks. The Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga says land invasions actually counter efforts by the government to improve services. “You have a lot of people that occupy land illegally and sometimes even on a private piece of land and then demand that the municipalities are supposed to be providing for services in those pieces of land. Now it’s impossible for us to go and invest on property that doesn’t belong to the city,” he said. The housing deficit is an emotive issue in Africa’s most industrialised country where 19 percent of families live in informal dwellings. Frustration over the pace of housing delivery preoccupies many voters and politicians have often used promises of land and wealth redistribution to draw support. Authorities say they are making efforts to allocate space legally and offer services like water and electricity. Dibie Ike Michael 3 killed in clashes between Ivorian police and ex-rebels Tue, 23 May 2017 22:25:42 +0000 Three demobilised ex-rebel fighters were killed in Ivory Coast’s second-biggest city of Bouake on Tuesday, as they clashed with police attempting to end their protest over bonus payments, the Interior Ministry and a spokesman for the fighters said. The ministry added that 14 others were wounded in the clashes, four seriously. French-speaking West Africa’s most important economy has rapidly recovered from a decade-long crisis that ended in a brief 2011 civil war, but unrest among mutinous soldiers and former rebels has exposed just how fragile those gains are. Bouake was at the epicentre of two major army mutinies this year that revealed President Alassane Ouattara’s tenuous grasp on his military and associated armed groups. The unrest also affected ports that ship cocoa out of the world’s leading producer, causing prices to briefly spike. Tuesday’s violence erupted after former members of a northern rebellion who helped Ouattara to power in 2011 — and are demanding 18 million CFA francs ($30,800) as a reward — blocked the main southern entrance into Bouake. Reuters TV images showed the ex-rebels erecting barricades out of tree branches and the Ivorian flag. Amadou Ouattara, a spokesman for the ex-rebels, said policemen had fired teargas before shooting into the crowd. “It was three demobilised fighters who were killed. They were unarmed,” he said. “The police started shooting tear gas … At the same time they started shooting (live bullets).” A policeman on the scene in Bouake disputed that, saying the injuries were caused by a grenade the protesters had set off, a version of events later espoused by the Interior Ministry. “Certain of the armed protesters set off an offensive grenade which exploded among them,” the ministry said in a statement. “The toll is three deaths and 14 wounded from fragments of the grenades.” It added that three gendarmes and two police were also wounded by projectiles. Ouattara’s government last week agreed to pay around 8,400 mutinying soldiers 5 million CFA each, ceding to their demands in order to end a four-day uprising that blocked roads and shuttered businesses in most cities and towns. However, the deal risks angering other factions in the military, which is still riven by civil war-era divisions between ex-rebels and former loyalist soldiers. Tuesday’s protesters were part of a group of some 6,800 combatants demobilised following the conflict but who claim they are still owed for their service. “What we want is the same money that our brothers in the military received,” their spokesman Ouattara said. Reuters WHO spends more on travels than on AIDS, TB, malaria combined: Report Tue, 23 May 2017 08:15:56 +0000 The World Health Organisation (WHO) is splashing money on travel far more than it does on three crucial diseases that it continues to fight. The combined financial commitments it made to AIDS, TB and malaria in 2016 stood at $191m, $71, $61 and $59m respectively. Yet, the WHO – which is said to be cash trapped, reportedly spent $200m on travels by staff last year alone. The costly travel costs were contained in internal documents made available to the Associated Press (AP) news agency. According to experts, the report could make fundraising by the WHO even more difficult. The AP further quotes internal sources in the body as criticising the abuse of travel procedures. “We don’t trust people to do the right thing when it comes to travel,” Nick Jeffreys, WHO’s director of finance, said during a September 2015 internal seminar on accountability. Whiles the executive director of the Director-General’s office, Ian Smith, also said WHO’s audit committee chief had expressed worry that little was being done to arrest the situation. “We, as an organization, sometimes function as if rules are there to be broken and that exceptions are the rule rather than the norm,” Smith said. Between 2013 – 2016, the U.N. health outfit’s travel expenses came up to an estimated $803m taking into account the spike in travels following the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The body’s annual budget of approximately $2 billion is drawn from the taxpayer-funded contributions of its 194 member countries; the United States is the largest contributor. Some of its most recent fundraisers are connected with averting the famine in Somalia ($100m) and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen ($126m). “When you spend the kind of money WHO is spending on travel, you have to be able to justify it,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University. “If WHO is not being as lean as possible, it’s going to be hard to remain credible when they make their next funding appeal,” Jha added. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Indo-Africa relations take center stage at AfDB's AGM in Gujarat Tue, 23 May 2017 10:28:00 +0000 India was the world’s largest producer of cashew nuts until 2015 when Ivory Coast took over the mantle with an output of over 700 000 tonnes. Gujarat The West African country is looking at increasing their output to 1 million tonnes by 2020, according to Vice-President, Daniel Kablan Duncan who is in India for the Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB). “India has the expertise for transformation, we are looking forward to having a joint venture with them, to avoid exporting raw cashews. “An industry player like OLAM is in Ivory Coast, producing 40 000 tons already, we want to deepen the relationship between the SMEs in Africa and India,” he said. On the part of cocoa, another crop that Ivory Coast is a leader in global production, the Veep said they were seeking enhanced cooperation in that area as well. Ivory Coast is keen on promoting south-south cooperation. “In cocoa production for example, Ivory Coast is the number producer in the world, we can do the same thing here, processing them in the country, thereby increasing the local value,” he added. The India Exim bank currently has a branch in Ivory Coast, which situation is expected to ease plans for increased mutual cooperation for the country and the entire sub region. India is Africa’s 5th largest source of Foreign direct investment. Gujarat, the birth place of the father of India’s nationalism, Mahatma Gandhi is the venue for the AFDB’s AGM. Sessions will focus on how to boost areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, renewable energy and manufacturing in both regions. There is also a focus on unlocking the potential of African entrepreneurs to accelerate Africa’s industrial transformation. Bilateral trade between Africa and India has risen five fold in the past decade, from $11.9 billion in 2005 to $56.7 billion in 2016. The main objective of the conference is to further strengthen trade and investments across various sectors. Foreign direct Investment inflows to India from Africa has been dominated by investment from Mauritius with 33.2% of India’s overall FDI inflow. Other African countries investing in India include South Africa, Seychelles, Morocco and Kenya. Germany-Africa money transfers averages €1.2m annually Tue, 23 May 2017 08:27:42 +0000 Sending money home for most African economic migrants is a must because family and friends back home need the funds for education,  health care etc. For others, it is to keep their businesses running or to execute projects – like buildings – that they are putting up back home. Remittances have thus become very common across the continent. The case of Germany is, however, striking as the authorities revealed that remittances were matching the volume of development aid that the European giant was giving Africa. According to Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), approximately 1.2 million euros is transferred annually to Africa by economic migrants. Meanwhile, German development aid for Africa is only about 300,000 euros more as it is put around 1.5 million euros.  The German authorities are looking beyond just giving aid to engaging more private sector individuals to ensure that aid sent down is maximised. “The requirements are quite huge to be covered by tax money from the public,“ said Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn during BMZ’s ‘Africa Day’, “We need more resources and we need additional stakeholders.” Silberhorn stresses that finding a way to engage private people to partner the public sector is the only viable way forward. The BMZ is also encouraging the private industry to invest more in Africa by linking private money transfers to state-run development aid. “If we find our way around private money transactions, we would wish to better contribute to the building up of the local economy,“ Silberhorn said. As Germany assumes the G20 presidency this year, its policy-makers are aiming to send more financial resources to Africa. But the ministry is cautioning that it is not enough to just increase development aid. In the meantime, the African mother in rural Kenya and the school child in northern Ivory Coast will be waiting for the next remittance to arrive in order to make ends meet. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Somali student confronts culture and poverty to enroll in University Tue, 23 May 2017 16:42:23 +0000 Somali student, Iqra Ali Omar is one of few young women who attend university in Somalia. Iqra lives in the central town of Belet Wenyne where she grew up with relatives, after her parents divorced, forcing her mother to travel to various towns trading wares to feed the family. Educating girls in Somalia remains a challenge. Families prefer to marry them off at an early age. Child marriage is widespread and is perpetuated both through culture and religion. Girls as young as 14 are married off instead of being enrolled in school. It was difficult finding school fees and Iqra’s fate would probably have been similar to those of many other young Somali girls in forced marriages, but she was lucky. “I enrolled in school but I had to drop out after the third year because I couldn’t pay the fees. Later, I got a low paying job that enabled me go back to school and covered my tuition until the third year of high school. In my last year of learning, I lost my job but my teachers helped me complete my studies,” she said. A fragile country shattered by more than two decades of conflict, Somalia is grappling with huge issues from infrastructure problems, famine and drought to al Shabaab militants. As the country rebuilds, institutions of higher learning are reopening and women are now being encouraged to take an active and leading role in the country’s academic, social, economic and political sectors. About 68 percent of youth between 15 to 35 years old don’t have a formal education according to the United Nations Population Fund. Iqra is now a second year Business Administration student at the local Hiiraan University. “After completing high school, it was difficult to get my school-leaving certificate because I had arrears. Fortunately, I was enrolled at the University after I produced my school admission number. Then I had another challenge — I could not pay college fees and the cost of the assignment hand-outs. Towards the end of my first semester in university, I got a new job and was able to resume my studies. Now my situation is much better,” said Iqra. Somalia still has one of the world’s highest youth unemployment rates at 67 percent, with a large proportion of them idle – neither working or in school, providing fertile ground for youth radicalization by militant groups. “I now work for the Belet Weyne local government as a cashier. I am very happy with my life. I have recovered from the hardship situation I went through, even though I have a long way to go. I would like to advise young girls like me who might be facing similar challenges, especially those who do not live with their parents. I encourage them to be focused and resilient and they will survive the hardship,” she said. Many Somalis still lack access to basic services like health and education, while many children remain out of school in the absence of an effective central government. Those who can afford to, send their children to private institutions. [Interview] Political governance issues must be solved - NEPAD Tue, 23 May 2017 05:05:23 +0000 The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and coordinating technical body of the African Union, aiming to eradicate poverty and create sustainable growth. Africanews speaks to its Executive Secretary Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki who gave an insight of what the situation is on the ground. Exiled Jammeh's assets frozen, accused of stealing over $50m state funds Tue, 23 May 2017 06:43:58 +0000 Over 200 assets of exiled former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh have been frozen in The Gambia after discovery that he illegally withdrew millions of dollars of state money. Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told journalists in Banjul on Monday that Yahya Jammeh unlawfully withdrew over $50 million from two state accounts between 2006 and 2017. In total, he withdrew “189,000,000 ($4m) from funds belonging to Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation … and at least $50,000,000 from Special Projects Fund and International Gateway Accounts at the Central Bank of The Gambia,” Tambadou said. “These are only preliminary findings at this stage and all indications are that these discoveries are just a tip of the iceberg … May I state however that this list of assets frozen is by no means exhaustive,” Tambadou added. Among the assets frozen included 131 land properties, 88 bank accounts, 14 companies and an undisclosed number of livestock. He said the freezing of the assets is to prevent Jammeh from liquidating them while investigations are ongoing to find other assets associated with him. Yahya Jammeh, who is in the Equatorial Guinea, has earlier been accused of embezzling millions of dollars immediately after he left the country. Below are portions of the statement regarding the freezing of assets. We have today obtained a court order freezing or placing a temporary hold on the known assets in the country of former President Yahya Jammeh and companies directly associated with him. The freezing order affects: 131 landed properties held in the personal name of former President Yahya Jammeh or companies directly associated with him. 88 different bank accounts held in the personal name of former President Yahya Jammeh or held in the names of organizations directly associated with him; 14 companies purportedly belonging to or directly associated with former President Yahya Jammeh; A number of animals and livestock purportedly belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh. _The application for the freezing order was necessitated by the discovery of unauthorized withdrawals of millions of dalasis and foreign currencies by former President Yahya Jammeh. _ _For example, preliminary investigations have revealed that between 2006 and 2017, former President Yahya Jammeh personally or under his instructions directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least 189,000,000 from funds belonging to Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation. _ _Between 2013 and 2017, former President Yahya Jammeh personally or under his instructions directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least $50,000,000 from Special Projects Fund and International Gateway Accounts at the Central Bank of The Gambia. _ Again, these are only preliminary findings at this stage and all indications are that these discoveries are just a tip of the iceberg. The freezing order is therefore meant to prevent former President Yahya Jammeh from liquidating or dissipating assets held in his personal name or his assets held in the names of his close associates or agents so as not to cause prejudice to the State should there be adverse findings made against him by a court of competent jurisdiction which may require the recovery of assets and monies from him by the State. _May I state however that this list of assets frozen is by no means exhaustive. Investigations are still ongoing and if we find other assets purportedly belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh or to companies or organizations directly associated with him in this country which are not already included in this freezing order, we shall also take immediate appropriate action. _ We therefore request anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of any assets of former President Yahya Jammeh or of companies or organizations directly associated with him to come forward and share this information with the nearest police station. Any person who is in possession of assets purportedly belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh and who fails to disclose this may be committing an offence. We therefore urge you to approach the nearest police station within 48 hours after this press briefing to report this information. As I also stated previously, we are finalizing the draft terms of reference for the establishment of a commission of inquiry to look into the financial and business related activities of former President Yahya Jammeh. Ismail Akwei Seychelles, Uganda and Togo: most welcoming African countries - report Mon, 22 May 2017 22:25:54 +0000 Seychelles, Uganda and Togo are top among the 22% of African countries you don’t need a visa to visit as an African. They lead in the 2017 Africa Visa Openness Index released last week. It notes an improvement in the free movement of African nationals in the continent. Ghana made the most progress in 2016 by opening up its borders to Africans who can acquire visa on arrival at its airports, the index added. This is the second edition of the Africa Visa Openness Index launched by the African Development Bank in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum since 2016. It indicates that 24% of African countries offer visas on arrival. But, visas are needed to travel to 54% of African countries while 13 African countries offer electronic visas. The Index covered 55 African countries including Morocco to “drive visa policy reforms across the continent and simplify visa application procedures to simplify the freer movement of people”. Other African countries where visas are not required before travel are Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Mozambique, Djibouti, Madagascar, Comoros and Somalia. Cape Verde, Ghana, Mauritius and Rwanda are among the top performing countries on the index yet a few African countries need visas to visit. Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea are the least open countries where all African travellers need visas to visit. Generally, 75% of countries in the top 20 are either in East or West Africa, while 20% are in Southern Africa, Mauritania from the Maghreb and none from Central Africa. Ismail Akwei These are the most peaceful countries in Africa in 2017 Mon, 22 May 2017 22:22:22 +0000 Many African countries are considered less stable due to their social, political, economic and demographic vulnerability. The stability of African countries were highlighted in the latest Fragile States Index released by United States think tank, Fund for Peace. The index ranks countries per their vulnerability to collapse based on twelve key political, social and economic indicators using the Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST) analytical approach. The annual report released since 2005 has Mauritius ranked the least fragile country in Africa and 148th in the world. Mauritius is followed by Seychelles, Botswana, Ghana, Cape Verde, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Gabon and Tunisia. They rank 125th, 120th, 108th, 106th, 103rd, 97th, 96th, 91st and 89th in the world respectively. The most fragile country in Africa, according to the index, is South Sudan, followed by Somalia, Central African Republic, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Guinea, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. 178 countries were ranked based on the different pressures they face that impact their levels of fragility. The most stable country on the global scale is Finland, followed by Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Ireland. var divElement = document.getElementById(‘viz1495473328174’); var vizElement = divElement.getElementsByTagName(‘object’)[0];‘824px’;‘619px’; var scriptElement = document.createElement(‘script’); scriptElement.src = ‘’; vizElement.parentNode.insertBefore(scriptElement, vizElement); Ismail Akwei North, southern Africa rank high for respect of children's rights Mon, 22 May 2017 22:18:12 +0000 The respect of children’s rights is one of the basic principles of the United Nations resulting in the global ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The rights of children is however not adhered to by some countries as highlighted in the latest KidsRights Index that ranks countries to stimulate compliance with children’s rights worldwide. The 2017 ranking – published by international NGO KidsRights Foundation – was based on United Nations data and covers five domains including rights to life, health, education, protection and enabling environment for Child Rights. Among the 165 countries ranked, North and southern African countries scored highest in Africa. Tunisia ranked 9th globally, followed by Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Morocco ranking 16th, 59th, 69th and 80th respectively in North Africa. In southern Africa, South Africa ranked 84th, followed by Namibia and Botswana ranking 92nd and 104th. The least performing countries in Africa include the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau ranking 165, 163, 161, 160, and 159 respectively. Among the global bottom-ten countries are the United Kingdom and New Zealand which ranked 156 and 158 respectively. “Discrimination against vulnerable groups of children and youths should be met head-on by all 165 governments represented in the Index. It is severely hampering the opportunities of future generations to reach their full potential,” Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of the KidsRights Foundation said. Ismail Akwei World's third penis transplant successfully done in South Africa Mon, 22 May 2017 22:13:13 +0000 World’s third penis transplant has been successfully performed on a 40-year-old man in South Africa by doctors from Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. This is the second successful penis transplant performed in South Africa after the first operation in December 2014 by the same team. The 40-year-old recipient is reported to have lost his penis 17 years ago due to complications after traditional circumcision. It took the doctors, led by Professor André van der Merwe, nine and a half hours to perform the transplant on April 21, local news portal Health24 reported. “He is certainly one of the happiest patients we have seen in our ward. He is doing remarkably well … There are no signs of rejection and all the reconnected structures seem to be healing well,” Van der Merwe said. Within six months, the recipient will regain full functions of his new organ which has a colour discrepancy because he is a black man and the donor is white. “Unfortunately we could not find a donor of the same race. In this case the donor is white and the recipient is black,” one of the team members Dr Amir Zarrabi told Health24, adding that the colour discrepancy will be later corrected with medical tattooing. He expressed confidence that they will perform more successful transplants in the future. “The loss of a penis from traditional circumcision is big, and we want to create sustainable programmes to help these people,” he added. The second penis transplant in the world was performed in May 2016 on a 64-year-old man at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in the United States. Photo Credit: Stellenbosch University Ismail Akwei God is a phone call away in Zimbabwe, pastor 'calls' heaven in church Tue, 23 May 2017 17:32:20 +0000 A Zimbabwean pastor has broken the internet after a video in which he claimed to be making a phone call to heaven goes viral. The original video published on March 7, 2017 showed Pastor Paul Sanyangore from Victory World International Ministries Church “speaking to God” on phone in front of a cheering congregation during a church service. He acted as an intermediary between a woman, kneeling before him, and God, who was alleged to be on the other end of the line. “Hello‚ is this heaven? Is it heaven? I have a woman here‚ what do you have to say about her?” the phonecall started, followed by personal information revealed by “God” about the woman who was responding in the affirmative. “...He says we should pray for your children. two of them. He is saying the other one is epileptic, the other one is asthmatic … Heaven is online. God is telling me to tell you that your story has changed,” he ended the call. The original video has gained almost a 100,000 views on YouTube on Monday while other versions have gained thousands of views on Facebook and Twitter. Watch a version of the video below. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Below are views expressed on social media about the video. Can't believe people actually attend the church of this pastor that claims he calls God on the phone, Religion is something else— Fiyin (@FiyinCara) May 22, 2017 So a Zimbabwean Pastor says he has God's phone number? Then calls God during Sunday service? #TheDriveOnMetro METROFMSA</a> <a href="">moflavadj— Masechaba Ndlovu (@MasechabaNdlovu) May 22, 2017 You'll dono, there is a Pastor in Zimbabwe or something, who has God's hotline, he calls him and they chat.! ......— Mulindwa (@mulindwa_i) May 22, 2017 As you about to slumber note that there is a pastor in Zimbabwe who has God on speed dial.— Nkopane (@NkopaneSebako) May 22, 2017 Somewhere In Zimbabwe one pastor dey call 📞 God number. #FRAUDEVERYWHERE.— korede (@hacoalraydey) May 22, 2017 nairaland</a> This Zimbabwe pastor who claimed he spoke to God on phone is having acute malaria. Let him visit hospital before it&#39;s late.</p>&mdash; uneze amadi (unezeamadi1) May 22, 2017 Amazing! Pastor in Zimbabwe phones God during church service! Pastors in Uganda fake miracles! Should anyone blame God if he gets angry!— Simon Ekau Egasu (@simonpit) May 22, 2017 maggsnaidu</a> Hai Maggs - this cellphone Pastor is in Zimbabwe at some dodgy church there.</p>&mdash; Madiba Boitumelo (bmadiba7) May 22, 2017 Dear God May i kindly have your contact too, i have read that a certain pastor in Zim had a phone call conversation with you. Sirwali NS— Sirwali stephan (@12geniuz) May 22, 2017 Ismail Akwei Truck drivers in C.A.R kick against UN protection on Bangui-Douala trade route Tue, 23 May 2017 05:34:07 +0000 Truck drivers plying the Bangui-Douala road want the Bangladeshi contingent of the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) relieved of their duties of policing the vital Bangui-Douala trade route. According to the aggrieved drivers, the UN Bangladeshi team which is tasked with providing security along the 450km road, do not take their job seriously, hence exposing them to danger. Trucks have often been attacked by rebel groups operating along the route which connects the Central African Republic’s capital to Cameroon’s commercial capital. “My truck was once hijacked and taken into the bush. When the Bangladeshi (soldiers) arrived, they were told a truck had been hijacked and taken into the bush but they refused to enter and instead stayed on the road and fired shots,” said André Pythagore, a truck driver. Roland Chouamou, a truck drivers from Cameroon, told Africanews’ correspondent that they prefer the C.A.R army takes over from the UN force since “they are our brothers (and) they will work with us as brothers”. Chouamou argued that the Bangladeshi soldiers “are there for the problems of the UN” so they do should be allowed to focus on their work for the UN, “enough is enough,” he added. More than 80 truck drivers are said to have been killed on the route since it was opened in 2014 and tons of goods stolen by the rebels. The Bangui-Douala road is a main supply route for central Africa with some 300 trucks conveying people and goods across the border every week. Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey Ghana to seek extension of IMF support program Tue, 23 May 2017 05:33:17 +0000 The Ghanaian government is to ask the International Monetary Fund to extend its support program to December 2018. According to the Reuters news agency, senior government sources say the extension is to boost efforts by the government to stabilize the economy. The IMF program expected to end in April 2018 was agreed by the previous government to restore stability to the west African nation’s economy that slowed sharply in 2014 due to a fiscal crisis and lower global prices for the country’s gold and oil exports. Any request for extension would represent a change of course for the Akufo-Addo led government which said after coming to power in January that it wanted the program to end on time. The December 2018 extension if approved would reassure markets and likely bring in additional funding from the IMF to a program under which Ghana was initially set to receive $ 918 million over three years, the Reuters news agency reports. The IMF last week said it had suggested to the Ghanaian government to request an extension of the program. South Africa: Tough times for 'forgotten' Angolan soldiers Tue, 23 May 2017 05:33:07 +0000 Angolan soldiers who fought under the apartheid regime seem to have been forgotten after fighting the war. Close to 3000 of them live in Pomfret, a town in a far flung northern corner of South Africa. Among them is 69 year old Jose Lourenco from Angola who fought enemies of the apartheid regime. “If we go back to Angola they will tell us we killed them. You fought against your country go back to South Africa.You are enemies, go back to South Africa. But here in South Africa we are told you are enemies please go back to Angola,” he said. Others do not see the need to live South Africa where they can now identify with the history and culture of people. They just want better living conditions. EXCERPT “I love this place. It is where I grew up. Our father’s history is also in this place we don’t wanna move. Our father’s history is also in this place. We just need electricity.” The soldiers were relocated to the town when the cold war ended but the battalion was disbanded in 1993 – a year before the African National Congress (ANC) took power in South Africa. Many of them went home with about 30.000 euros. Egypt: Church attack suspects face trial Mon, 22 May 2017 18:53:02 +0000 Dozens of persons suspected of being involved in attacks against Coptic churches since December, have been brought before military justice in Egypt. Thirty one of them are already behind bars. During the celebration of Palm Sunday last April 9, suicide bombers targeted two churches in the north of the country leaving 45 dead. 29 other people died in December after a suicide bomb attack in Cairo. The 48 accused will be tried for these attacks, but also for the death of 8 police officers last January after a control post was attacked. According to Egypt’s chief prosecutor Nabil Sadeq, the suspects joined Islamic State and underwent military training with the group outside the country. Approximately 10% of the Egyptians are part of the Coptic minority. The minority is regularly the target of attacks claimed by the Islamic State. Zambia: Opposition leader's trial pushed to Wednesday Mon, 22 May 2017 18:32:19 +0000 The court case of Zambia’s main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, who is being tried on charges of treason has been postponed to Wednesday after the magistrate fell ill, his United Party for National Development(UPND) has announced. Hichelema’s wife, has also called on the international community to intervene and facilitate the release of her husband. She denounces what she describes as an erosion of democracy and a gradual shift towards a dictatorial regime in Zambia. The opposition leader has been in jail for over a month now without the possibility of being released on bail. He is accused of threatening the life of president Edgar Lungu as well as nursing plans to overthrow the government and risks between fifteen years in jail to a death penalty.