Africanews RSShttp://www.africanews.com/feed/rssReceive free and in real-time all news published by africanews.com, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Sat, 14 Dec 2019 20:30:42 +0000Nigerian crowned Miss World Africa 2019, Miss Jamaica overall winnerhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/nigerian-crowned-miss-world-africa-2019-miss-jamaica-overall-winner/Miss Nigeria, Nyekachi Douglas, was on Saturday (December 14) crowned Miss World Africa at the Miss World 2019 finals in in London, the United Kingdom. This was the 69th edition of the annual event. The 21-year-old Nyekachi is a Public Health student from southern Nigeria. She replaces the 2018 winner of the continental crown, Miss Uganda 2018, Quiin Abenakyo. Miss World 2019 was won by Jamaican Toni-Ann Singh. Miss France and India were first and second runners-up respectively. The world’s oldest running international beauty pageant, Miss World brings together beauty queens from all over the world. Beside the main winner, continental queens are announced at the end of the contest. The victory of Miss Jamaica comes less than a week after South African Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe 2019 in Atlanta, USA. Many Africans on social media are celebrating the Jamaican glory as one that equally belongs to Africa. Nyekachi’s bio on the Miss World page Nyekachi is a public health student who aspires to one day have her own fashion brand. In her free time she enjoys dancing, playing soccer, and running. Nyekachi describes herself as athletic, energetic and creative. The most important thing in Nyekachi’s life is her family and friends who continue to support her with their love and advice. Nyekachi’s personal motto is ‘A little less hate and a lot more love’.Sat, 14 Dec 2019 20:30:42 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/nigerian-crowned-miss-world-africa-2019-miss-jamaica-overall-winner/Sudan: Bashir sentenced to two years "house arrest" for corruptionhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/sudan-bashir-sentenced-to-two-years-house-arrest-for-corruption/Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was sentenced by a court in Khartoum on Saturday to two years in “house arrest” for corruption, a few months after being dismissed by the army under pressure from the street. Mr. Béchir, 75, dismissed on April 11 after 30 years in power, had been tried by a “special court” since August for funds collected from Saudi Arabia.Sat, 14 Dec 2019 10:39:07 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/sudan-bashir-sentenced-to-two-years-house-arrest-for-corruption/Somalia not only rebuilding but thrivinghttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/somalia-not-only-rebuilding-but-thriving/After years of civil war and battling Al Shabaab militants Somalia seems to be putting itself back together. According to the African Union Mission In Somalia (AMISOM) the East African nation has a thriving real estate, with people developing the capital Mogadishu. A modern mosque set in a thriving neighbourhood in #Mogadishu town. The real estate sector is thriving, – a vivid testimony of growth, recovery and development. #SomaliaGains2019 #SomG19 pic.twitter.com/JMM9ZxpzWj— AMISOM (@amisomsomalia) December 14, 2019 A view of #Mogadishu town – the construction industry is thriving in the city as demand for properties for both business and accommodation is in high demand. #SomaliaGains2019 #SomG19 pic.twitter.com/ikrPhUZELS— AMISOM (@amisomsomalia) December 11, 2019 A busy shopping mall in #Hamarwayne district, #Mogadishu. Commercial activity and retail business are thriving in #Somalia, the country is on its way to economic recovery. #SomaliaGains2019 #SomG19 pic.twitter.com/gm0wCgLb4I— AMISOM (@amisomsomalia) December 12, 2019 With the improving security situation, social life is thriving in Somalia Residents of Mogadishu enjoying the weekend at Lido beach. With the improving security situation, social life is thriving in #Somalia. The country’s beautiful beaches providing the perfect relaxation. #SomaliaGains2019 #SomG19 pic.twitter.com/D0nD6WYh03— AMISOM (@amisomsomalia) December 13, 2019 The road infrastructure is also improving in the country especially in the capital. The United Nations Office for Project Services has even launched US$ 9 million to expand municipal infrastructure. So far, the project has successfully delivered 4.9 kilometers of road in Garowe and 7.5 kilometers of road on Mogadishu, increasing access and economic activity in these regions according to a statement by UN Assistance Mission in Somalia? The International Monetary Fund has also just announced its commitment to help Somalia access some debt relief and secure financial resources, a huge step towards rebuilding the East African nation. The latest IMF analysis of Somalia notes that the country is in “debt distress,” with its $4.7 billion in external debt equivalent to its entire GDP, and no way to repay any of it; 96 percent of Somalia’s debt is already in arrears, meaning even if it never borrows another dime, its debt burden will continue to grow, says Foreign Policy But the IMF is helping the country to clear its arrears and is talking to countries owed by Somalia to forgive the debts. Somalia’s debt relief is a priority for the IMF Management. The IMF is working closely with #Somalia and donors to advance towards debt relief. pic.twitter.com/QqpX4jmGvA— Gerry Rice (@IMFSpokesperson) December 12, 2019Sat, 14 Dec 2019 08:55:51 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/somalia-not-only-rebuilding-but-thriving/Ruling on Sudan's Bashir duehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/ruling-on-sudan-s-bashir-due/A court in Khartoum is due to give its verdict on Saturday against the ex-Sudanese president Omar el-Béchir, accused of corruption, a few months after his dismissal by the army under pressure from the street. This “special court” is to rule from 10:00 am (08:00 GMT) and make a first court decision targeting the former strongman of Sudan, ousted from power on April 11 after an authoritarian reign of 30 years. In this case, which involves funds raised from Saudi Arabia, Mr. Béchir faces up to 10 years in prison. Since August, the former Sudanese strongman has attended several hearings in this trial, seated in a metal cage, dressed entirely in white. Coming to power in 1989 by a coup, the ex-officer has been detained since April at Kober’s prison in Khartoum. Friday evening, after calls to demonstrate in support of Mr. Bashir posted on social networks, the Sudanese army announced that the roads leading to its headquarters in Khartoum will be closed on Saturday, but specified that it believed in “the freedom of ‘expression”. Sudan is today ruled by a transitional government with a civilian Prime Minister and a Sovereign Council made up of the military and civilians. Charges “This is a political trial,” Mohamed al-Hassan, lawyer for Mr. Bashir, repeated to the press, who notably assured that the money was not used for personal purposes but in the form of “ donations “. According to a witness at trial, the former Sudanese president thus gave some five million euros to the dreaded paramilitary group of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). If the former president admitted to having received a total of 90 million dollars (81 million euros) from Saudi leaders, the trial concerns only 25 million dollars (22.5 million euros) received shortly before his fall from the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. After Mr. Béchir’s arrest, the authorities seized 6.9 million euros, 351,770 dollars and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds from his home. Sudan is one of the countries most affected by corruption: it ranks 172 out of 180 in the world ranking of the organization Transparency International. But this trial of the ex-dictator for corruption is “a small matter compared to the crimes he committed,” said Adam Rashid, deputy secretary general of the Darfur Bar Association. The ex-president must be tried for his crimes and crimes, “big or small”, he demands. “Victims of his crimes in Darfur don’t have to worry about this.” In fact, this first trial does not evoke the heavy charges brought for a decade against Mr. Béchir by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued against him two arrest warrants for “war crimes”, “crimes against humanity “and” genocide “in Darfur. This western Sudanese province has been the scene of a bloody war between rebels and pro-government forces. The conflict, which erupted in 2003, left 300,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN. ICC To date, the transitional government set up in September has not authorized the extradition of the ex-leader to The Hague, where the ICC sits. Even if Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, the country has a legal obligation to arrest Mr. Bashir. The ICC investigation into its crimes in Darfur was carried out under a mandate from the United Nations, of which Sudan is a member. The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which led the challenge against Mr. Béchir, said they had no objection to an extradition. In addition to the corruption case and the charges before the ICC, Mr. Béchir could face other alleged crimes before the justice of his country. On November 12, the Sudanese authorities issued a new arrest warrant for his role in the 1989 coup, which a special commission from the Khartoum prosecution is investigating. According to the Attorney General, Mr. Béchir is also accused of murders committed during the demonstrations that led to his eviction. But, to date, he has not had to answer for these accusations.Sat, 14 Dec 2019 08:14:26 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/ruling-on-sudan-s-bashir-due/UN calls on the world on first ever forum on displaced peoplehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/un-calls-on-the-world-on-first-ever-forum-on-displaced-people/The U.N. refugee agency’s new protection chief says a first-ever forum to bring together governments, civil society and business aims to drum up support for tens of millions of people displaced by war, violence, poverty, repression and other factors. Assistant High Commissioner Gillian Triggs of the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says the “Global Refugee Forum” on December 16-18 in Geneva aims to “deal with the unprecedented numbers of refugees, displaced persons, stateless persons who are of concern to UNHCR”. “The idea of the forum, a global refugee forum, is to try to deal with the unprecedented numbers of refugees, displaced persons, stateless persons, who are of concern to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). And the central idea is to share the burden, and the responsibilities, of this this vast and unprecedented number of people. This movement of people globally,” said Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Political pressure has been weighing on decision-makers in some host countries, notably in the West, and people have been living in host communities far longer than in past decades. Why now? “What do we want from it? What we are hoping for, and we have very optimistic indications, at the moment, that we’ll get significant financial commitments, both by governments and through the banking lending facilities. But we’ll also get engagement with civil society and the business community,” said Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Triggs appealed for more countries to step up with more resettlement places, a common demand of the refugee agency that has often fallen on deaf ears. Dignitaries like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country has taken in millions of Syrians, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are set to attend the conference. She said some 3,000 people including about 100 government ministers are likely to attend, with troubles in countries like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Venezuela among the causes for flight of millions of people abroad.Sat, 14 Dec 2019 08:04:59 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/14/un-calls-on-the-world-on-first-ever-forum-on-displaced-people/Cameroon MPs grant troubled Anglophone region special statushttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/cameroon-mps-grant-troubled-anglophone-region-special-status/Lawmakers in Cameroon are debating a bill that seeks to grant more autonomy to the troubled Anglophone regions. The recent development comes more than two months after the Grand National Dialogue called by government which took place in the capital, Yaoundé. Parts of the new law adopted earlier this week stipulates that court decisions can be rendered “in any of the official languages, depending on the choice of the litigant and the understanding of all present in court.” Cameroon’s English-speaking North West and South West regions have been experiencing a civil conflict since 2016, when protesters and security forces clashed. The demonstrations were initially over the use of French in the English majority regions, it started from teachers and lawyers marching the streets with branches of trees. But the relating security crackdown led to a spiral in the demands as a group of activists declared a security-political push to secede from Cameroon. People in the twin regions have long hoped for a return to peace. Hundreds of people have died in the clashes between secessionists and government forces. Thousands have also been displaced by the violence. President Paul Biya recently brought up the issue of granting special status to the regions as part of efforts to end the crisis.Fri, 13 Dec 2019 17:55:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/cameroon-mps-grant-troubled-anglophone-region-special-status/Niger mourns 71 soldiers slain by Islamic State insurgentshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/niger-mourns-71-soldiers-slain-by-islamic-state-insurgents/Niger’s government has declared three days of mourning following an attack that claimed 71 soldiers, which has been described as one of the deadliest attacks in years. The Islamic State group, active in the troubled Sahel region, has claimed responsibility for an attack on a military camp. The extremist group carried out the assault near the town of Inates not far from the border with Mali, it said in a statement late Thursday. Niger’s military has said that 12 others were wounded in the attack earlier this week. The Islamic State group claimed its fighters held the camp for several hours and seized a large cache of weapons and ammunition. Its jihadists took 16 vehicles and set the camp on fire before leaving, it said. Niger’s government has declared three days of mourning following the attack, which was the deadliest of its kind in years. APFri, 13 Dec 2019 17:35:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/niger-mourns-71-soldiers-slain-by-islamic-state-insurgents/Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival: Akon & Kanye West to run in US elections?http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/sharjah-entrepreneurship-festival-akon-and-kanye-west-to-run-in-us-elections/Thousands of attendees, including the founders of many regional startups, attended the two-day Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF) this November. It was an opportunity for business leaders and budding entrepreneurs to brainstorm, upskill their talents and even raise a little capital. According to the festival’s organiser, Najla Al Midfa, who is also CEO of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (SHERAA), the 100 startups to have joined her entity in the past 4 years have received collective investment of around $50 million. Investments also rose by more than 30% this year, compared to 2018. IME S02E44 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 1 People gather at the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (left, top & bottom); Najla Al Midfa CEO of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre speaks to Euronews (right) Al Midfa forecasts that SMEs, or small and medium sized enterprises, will continue to support the UAE’s growth in the near and long-term. “SMEs are the backbone of the economy and a large part of non-oil GDP in the UAE comes from SMEs, so they do play a large role,” she says. “Obviously, even these SMEs will also need to hire, so there will always be a need for full-time talent, but I believe we still haven’t reached our full potential when it comes to entrepreneurship. So, there’s still much to be done.” AKON TO RUN IN 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Celebrities, who are also CEOs and entrepreneurs, were also on the ground in Sharjah to offer advice to self-starters in the room. Grammy-nominated Akon, of Lonely, Beautiful and Locked Up fame, was a star attraction. In addition to being a multi-platinum selling musician, the American-born Senegalese artist is a passionate philanthropist and, as he puts it, “a social entrepreneur.” IME S02E44 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 2 Akon speaks at the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival His initiative ‘Akon Lighting Africa’, is geared towards provide electricity for an estimated 600 million Africans through solar power projects. The 46-year-old also launched his own cryptocurrency, called ‘Akoin’, to create opportunity and inclusion for Africa’s young entrepreneurs. Through his commercial ambitions and his musical success, Akon has found himself on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, as well as being named 5th in the 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa. To see what lay ahead for Akon, including his ambitions to be U.S President one day, Inspire Middle East’s Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham sat down with the artist and businessman in the UAE. IME S02E44 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 3 Akon speaks to Inspire Middle East’s Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham Q&A WITH AKON Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham: As an American citizen, and as we count down towards the U.S Presidential election in 2020. What do you make of the current political state of affairs? Akon: It’s super, super, super scary. Because I always felt that when it came to government in the U.S, we had a specific standard that everybody aligned their goals around. It’s to the point now, where even they’re skeptical of how we’re governing, because you just don’t feel safe, you know? Rebecca: You have ruled out of running in the upcoming election, but not in 2024. So, what makes you right for the job? Akon: I think if you’re going to run for office, you are serving. And I think that’s a little bit different from a job. I’ve kind of experienced everything that a U.S citizen can experience – being an entrepreneur, understanding growth and building companies. I can also say the same thing from a business level and then from a political standpoint. I’ve been, literally, advising presidents from everywhere. I mean, like over 15, you know, countries in Africa – all throughout the world. Rebecca: Well, let me pick up on that – you say you’re advising numerous heads of state from Africa. But I’m keen to know what subject is floating to the top, what’s the advice that you’re giving them? Akon: It’s about the youth, you know, because seventy percent of Africa’s population is under 21. So, that’s the future for Africa and I think their focus needs to be on the youth. For example, creating more opportunities, subsidizing funds that can go into entrepreneurship for those kids that have great ideas and need seed money, because all it’s going to do is create a better economy for Africans to live in, in those specific countries. EMBED: https://www.instagram.com/p/Buwboc2gcXG/ Rebecca: Looking at SME’s in Africa, and looking at the Middle East region, do young entrepreneurs face the same challenges? Does it all come down to financing in the early stages? Akon: Yeah. I think the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs is the early stage. I think a lot of companies that are in a position to invest, are often looking at those companies as high-risk. You know, they have this 80:20 rule, when the majority of the money is going to go in the air and 20% might come back. Which is sadly true to an extent, because as a starting company – it’s just an idea that you just hope goes somewhere. So, you have to strategically design your ideas towards something helpful to society. I think when you do that, it just gives you a better shot at creating a more successful company, in a faster way. Rebecca: Talk to me about music: R&B and the hip-hop scene. What do you make of the genres today? Because, you’ve famously said in the past that young, aspiring musicians should stop chasing the dream. Stop chasing the money and the record deals. Why so? Akon: So, basically what I meant by saying that is, don’t focus too much on the record companies or deals, for instance. It takes too much time away from creating and perfecting. The major record labels aren’t going anywhere. They’re going to always be there to snatch you up when you become that household or community name. They’re just waiting for that one to rise above all the rest, and you have to focus on rising above the rest. EMBED: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3UJ_N4ABc_/ Rebecca: Staying with music, we have to touch upon Kanye West – one of your musical contemporaries… Akon: Right. Rebecca: If you do run in the 2024 presidential election in the United States, he’ll potentially be your competition. Battle of the Titans or easy win? Akon: (Laughs) I don’t even see it as a competition. I think it’s healthy for America. Because, think about it, before Obama no one ever thought they could run for president. And today, we got people like me and Kanye saying, “You know what, man, I’m going to run.” So, it builds that hope, it builds that idea. And people also realize that there’s things we can bring to our country. That the average citizen can’t, because of our experience and how we move. So, you never know. We might get to the point where we’re neck-and-neck with each other. And I wouldn’t hesitate to say, “Look man, if you want, I’ll make you my running mate – because you’re just that popular – to point where we’re competing against each other at the last tail.” I would completely bypass all the partitions stuff, and say, “Listen, you are needed. Let’s go into this thing together.” SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: LAUNCHING BUSINESS Iranian entrepreneur Ali Reza visited the coworking space in the UAE, saying he loves exploring the region’s bustling startup scene https://www.instagram.com/p/BArU4rnr91G/ Rania from Jordan shared this photo taken during a brainstorming session with her team https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl8jQuUnIha/Fri, 13 Dec 2019 14:00:15 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/sharjah-entrepreneurship-festival-akon-and-kanye-west-to-run-in-us-elections/Gabon becoming a monarchy: Jean Ping on top post for Bongo's sonhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/gabon-becoming-a-monarchy-jean-ping-on-top-post-for-bongo-s-son/Gabon becoming a monarchy, this is the view of opposition leader Jean Ping and former Prime Minister who served once as African Union Commission chief. The ex-presidential aspirant was speaking to reporters at a press conference in the capital Libreville, in reaction to the appointment of the president’s son as coordinator of presidential affairs. “This appointment confirms, once again, that the country is turning into a monarchy,” he is quoted to have said. Nourredine Bongo Valentin, 27, first son of incumbent Ali Bongo was appointed a top presidential aide weeks back after a cabinet meeting. The presidency justified the appointment stressing that the appointee had relevant competence and experience to hold the post. Incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba became president in 2009 after the death of his father Omar Bongo who had at the time governed the central African oil producer for over three decades. He beat Ping in hotly contested polls of 2016 which secured him a second seven-year mandate. Elections are due in 2023 but analysts hold that an ailing Bongo will find it difficult to convince voters. He spent the last few months of 2018 in hospital after suffering a stroke in Saudi Arabia. He only returned early this year after a coup was foiled to inaugurate a new government.Fri, 13 Dec 2019 13:19:26 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/gabon-becoming-a-monarchy-jean-ping-on-top-post-for-bongo-s-son/Ex-Algerian PM elected president in first post-Bouteflika pollshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/ex-algerian-pm-elected-president-in-first-post-bouteflika-polls/Algeria has a new president in the person of Abdelmadjid Tebboune. The 74-year-old won controversial December 12 elections with 58% of the vote, the national electoral body announced quoting preliminary results. Mr Tebboune, 74, previously served as housing, then information minister. He served seven-months as Prime Minister two years ago before resigning due to disagreements with businessmen. He beat four other candidates including a former Prime Minister and two other candidates that served in the previous government. The authorities also confirmed that voter turnout was just 40% – earning it the unenviable record as the lowest ever for a multi-party election in the north African country. The polls, are the first since the ouster of long serving Abdul Aziz Bouteflika. The ailing leader was forced to resign earlier this year after pressure from a mass protest movement and the powerful military. The polls had been boycotted by people in the protest movement who said all the candidates were too close to former leader, they had in weekly protests demanded the political establishment be overhauled before polls are held.Fri, 13 Dec 2019 12:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/ex-algerian-pm-elected-president-in-first-post-bouteflika-polls/Libya strongman vows to capture capital as main airport reopenshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/libya-strongman-vows-to-capture-capital-as-main-airport-reopens/Mitiga international airport, the only functioning airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli, resumed flight operations on Thursday after more than 3 months break, and is expected be fully operational by the end of this month. The airport had been shut since September 1 as it has been repeatedly targeted by shelling and air strikes blamed on forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who have been trying to take control of the city since April. Meanwhile, rebel leader Khalifa Haftar has announced a new offensive to retake the Libyan capital after the initial setback that led to the closure of the airport. Following the closure of the airport, all flights to Tripoli were diverted to the coastal city of Misrata located some 200 kilometers away. Workers are still carrying out maintenance work inside the main departure terminal and car park. After the destruction of Tripoli International Airport in 2014 in a civil war between armed groups vying for power, Mitiga became the city’s only airport, running domestic and international flights. A new departure terminal will be completed during the first quarter of the new year. United Nations agencies reported at the time that the offensive had led to mass destruction of infrastructure and resulted in the loss of lives. All efforts to mediate between Haftar and the UN recognized body led by Fayez Al Sarraj has proven futile. The Gulf nations are seen as part of those whose involvement is hampering a deal. Russia, France, Italy and the united States are all seen as key players in the impasse.Fri, 13 Dec 2019 10:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/libya-strongman-vows-to-capture-capital-as-main-airport-reopens/Women's football gain's momentum in Sudan [Grand Angle]http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/women-s-football-gain-s-momentum-in-sudan-grand-angle/Sudanese female footballers have found their voice and are ready to take the sport to the next level. Women’s football experienced several difficulties after the adoption of Islamic sharia law in 1983, six years before Omar al-Bashir came to power.Fri, 13 Dec 2019 10:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/women-s-football-gain-s-momentum-in-sudan-grand-angle/Low voter turnout in Algeria's disputed presidential election [Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/low-voter-turnout-in-algeria-s-disputed-presidential-election-morning-call/After almost ten months of massive demonstrations, 24 million Algerian voters were called to the polls to find a successor to deposed former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. A vote massively rejected by a large part of the population that marked its disapproval by abstaining from voting. Africanews correspondent Tarik Hafid gives a breakdown of events. @NyashaKMutizwaFri, 13 Dec 2019 10:40:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Nyasha K. MUTIZWA)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/low-voter-turnout-in-algeria-s-disputed-presidential-election-morning-call/France postpones security summit with leaders of G5 Sahel blochttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/france-postpones-security-summit-with-leaders-of-g5-sahel-bloc/French President Emmanuel Macron has agreed with Niger to postpone a key summit focusing on France’s military operation in Africa’s Sahel region until the beginning of next year. The French presidency said in a statement Thursday that Macron called Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou to express his support, a day after an attack by Islamic militants that killed at least 71 soldiers in the West African country. They agreed to postpone the summit initially scheduled on Dec. 16 in the French southern town of Pau with the participation of the heads of state of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania. Macron has said he expects West African leaders to make it clear that they want and need France’s military help despite the anti-French sentiment expressed by some protesters. France’s operation in West and Central Africa is its largest overseas military mission, with 4,500 personnel. France intervened in Mali in 2013 after extremists seized control of major towns in the north and implemented a harsh version of Islamic law. In a surge of violence in recent weeks, attackers often linked to the Islamic State have killed scores of troops in the Sahel region. A helicopter collision killed 13 French soldiers fighting Islamic extremists in Mali last month. APFri, 13 Dec 2019 10:25:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/france-postpones-security-summit-with-leaders-of-g5-sahel-bloc/Eastern DR Congo records 20 Ebola cases in three dayshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/eastern-dr-congo-records-20-ebola-cases-in-three-days/Twenty cases of Ebola have been recorded in three days in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where deadly violence is hampering efforts to end the 16-month-old epidemic according to health authorities. Ten cases were reported on Wednesday alone in Mabalako in North Kivu after six on Tuesday, according to the Multisectoral Committee for Epidemic Response. Three out of the six cases involve traditional medicine practitioners. This is a significant increase in new cases of transmission, which had fallen to “10 per week”, according to health authorities. On November 28, a vaccination officer and two drivers were killed in an attack on an Ebola facility in Biakato. A police officer was killed in a similar attack in Mangina. The attacks led to a pullout of locally-employed Ebola workers in Biakato by the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders. AGENCIESFri, 13 Dec 2019 10:20:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/eastern-dr-congo-records-20-ebola-cases-in-three-days/Sierra Leone govt vs. Activists: ECOWAS court saves pregnant schoolgirlshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/sierra-leone-govt-vs-activists-ecowas-court-saves-pregnant-schoolgirls/A West Africa regional Court has ruled that the Sierra Leone government has infringed on the rights of pregnant school girls since 2014 by barring them from attending mainstream public schools due to their condition. The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Court, sitting in the Nigerian capital Abuja thus ordered the government to reverse the special but downgraded schools that it had opened for these girls after initial criticism. What are the major planks of the ruling? That the government was pursuing a discriminatory policy that contravened both local and international laws that it was signatory to. That government’s establishment of separate schools for pregnant with four taught subjects operating three days a week was discriminatory and a violation of the right to equal education. The Court ordered that the policy be revoked with immediate effect and steps be taken to abolish the alternative schools established for pregnant girls. That the government develops strategies and programmes to combat negative societal attitudes against pregnant girls whiles empowering teenage mothers to attend school. The government was also ordered to integrate Sexual Reproductive Health Rights in school curriculum and work towards addressing the high rate of teenage pregnancy. The 5-year long battle by rights groups According to the coalition that championed the cause of the schoolgirls, the discriminatory government policy dates back to 2014. All efforts to get the authorities to reverse it proved futile hence the resort to file a case against government in 2018 in the ECOWAS court. The policy started under the Ernest Bai-Koroma government and was continued by the current Julius Maada Bio administration that came into office in 2017. WAVES, Child Welfare Society, Equality Now and Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa IHRDA filed the case against the Sierra Leone Government in May 2018. Amnesty International who were Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) in the case were also present at the judgment reading. What some key players said of the ruling Speaking in Abuja at the sidelines of the judgment reading, Miss Hannah Yambasu Executive Director Women Against Violence and Exploitation in Society (W.A.V.E.S) said she was overjoyed. “This victory belongs to the girls in Sierra Leone who have been degraded and dehumanized because of their status since 2014. Now our government in Sierra Leone has no option but to comply with their obligations as declared by the Court.” Ms Judy Gitau, Africa Regional Coordinator at Equality Now was also at the court as the agent of the girls and was excited by the outcome of their case. “This is a great victory!!! Finally the girls have had their day in court and have emerged victorious. The ECOWAS court has given them their voices back and by that a chance at life again.” Background of sexual violence in Sierra Leone Sexual violence remains widespread in Sierra Leone with women and girls, who constitute more than 50 percent of the population, bearing the brunt of these violations. In 2018, the Family Unit of the Sierra Leone Police recorded 8,505 rape cases including 2,579 cases that involved minors. Admittedly, many more went unreported owing to the existing gaps in the country’s reporting systems as well as stigma and shame that is associated with this violation. The situation became so dire that the Head of State declared rape a national emergency in 2019. A trend across some African countries Sierra Leone is not alone in using bans to block pregnant schoolgirls from attending school. In East Africa, Tanzania is notorious for employing a similar policy. President John Magufuli has been very clear that his government was not going to allow such girls to attend school because of the moral impact of their situation on others. He is quoted in 2017 to have said at a public rally west of the capital, Dar es Salaam, that it was untenable for a pregnant girl to focus on studies whiles catering for her newborn. “After calculating some few mathematics she’d be asking the teacher in the classroom ‘let me go out and breastfeed my crying baby,” Magufuli said. He also delivered a message to human rights groups that continue to accuse the government of denying teenage mothers education and thereby stripping them of a basic human right. “These NGOs should go out and open schools for parents. But they should not force the government [to take back the pupils]. “I’m giving out free education for students who have really decided to go and study, and now you want me to educate the parents?” he posed rhetorically. In early 2018, five pregnant girls were arrested and police said they were on the hunt for the men that impregnated them. At the time, the president had reinforced the pregnancy ban and added that men responsible for the acts should also be given jail terms so that they can put their energies to good use while serving time. Zambia was also classed in the same category of having an adversarial posturing towards pregnant girls and young mothers but the president Edgar Lungu dismissed the claims saying his administration was committed to the education of all.Fri, 13 Dec 2019 10:10:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/13/sierra-leone-govt-vs-activists-ecowas-court-saves-pregnant-schoolgirls/EU removes Gabon from Euro airspace blacklist after 11 yearshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/eu-removes-gabon-from-euro-airspace-blacklist-after-11-years/Gabonese airlines have been removed from an European Union blacklist that meant that flights from the country could not access the European airspace. The EU Commission said it had “withdrawn them (Gabon) from the list following improvements in aviation safety in that country.” The decision announced earlier this week makes it possible for airlines as the National Regional Transport (NRT), Solenta Aviation Gabon, Tropical Air Gabon and Afrijet Business Service to commence flights to Europe. EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “I am pleased to announce that the European Commission was able today to clear all Gabonese air carriers from the EU Air Safety List. “Gabon was on the List already since 2008, so it is very good that we can recognise the efforts the aviation safety authorities in Gabon have made.” Gabon can heave a sigh of relief but not so for other African country’s that remain banned. Carriers based in Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea remain blacklisted. Eritrea, Liberia, Libya, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan complete the affected countries. In the case of Angola all carriers (with the exception of TAAG Angola Airlines and Heli Malongo) remain banned, “due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities of these States,” the EU Commission confirmed. The EU Air Safety List, compiles airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. By so doing, it seeks to ensure the highest level of air safety for Europeans and all other passengers travelling in the European Union.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 17:25:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/eu-removes-gabon-from-euro-airspace-blacklist-after-11-years/Ex-president to sue Botswana govt for defamationhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/ex-president-to-sue-botswana-govt-for-defamation/Ian Khama, president of Botswana till April 2018, says he will sue the government for defamation. A recent government report cited Khama and others for corruption. In a press conference from next door South Africa, Khama denied the findings in the report describing them as part of a smear campaign by the government. The said report claimed the former president, other top government officials at the time and a South African business associate had embezzled billions of dollars. The anti-graft agency said the accused persons had set up bank accounts in Hong Kong and South Africa in order to finance terrorism. Khama respected ruling Botswana Peoples Party, BDP, tradition of handing over power to his successor Eric Masisi a year to the 2020 general elections. He, however, clashed with Masisi months after stepping down over certain policy positions. In what became a threat to the BDP going into the vote, Khama openly backed the opposition candidates and campaigned against the ruling party. The party, however, won a first-round victory in the polls whiles maintaining their parliamentary majority. Khama has since been on the quiet till the corruption allegations surfaced.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 17:20:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/ex-president-to-sue-botswana-govt-for-defamation/Supporters of exiled Gambian president hope for his returnhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/supporters-of-exiled-gambian-president-hope-for-his-return/Three years after his ouster from power, supporters of Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh still hold him in high esteem and continue to dream of his eventual return. Jammeh left the country in January 2017 accepting an offer to live in Equatorial Guinea after losing the 2016 elections. He conceded defeat in the December 2016 polls before attempting to overturn the results citing irregularities. Talk of his return has routinely popped up in the West African country where he is wanted to respond to accusations of corruption and human rights abuses. The party he led to govern for over two decades, APRC, has routinely accused the government of president Admama Barrow of unjustly demonizing Jammeh despite his absence. One of his supporters said: “He is the only president who can develop the country, he is the only president whom you know that, when we speak with him he will know what we are talking about, he will understand what we are talking about.” Fabakary Tombong Jatta, APRC party head stressed Jammeh’s right to return but does not give specifics: “He has the right to come back and he will come back inshallah, he will soon come back, it’s just a matter of time. But he is almost on the way coming.” Gambia has set up a truth, reconciliation and reparations commission to investigate crimes committed under the Jammeh regime. It has heard shocking testimonies, including from hit-men who say they carried out dozens of murders for the regime. But Jammeh’s supporters reject these accusations. With evidence against his regime continuing to stack up, if Jammeh ever does decide to return to Gambia, he would almost certainly be risking prosecution.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 15:36:38 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/supporters-of-exiled-gambian-president-hope-for-his-return/Al-Shabaab attack on Somalia military base claims 5 liveshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/al-shabaab-attack-on-somalia-military-base-claims-5-lives/Barely a day after a terrorist attack on the presidential palace and a popular hotel in Somalia was foiled, a new attack was launched on an army base in north of the capital Mogadishu, according to reports. Five people were killed, and two injured in the Al-Shabaab attack on Hilweyne military base, on Wednesday evening. Local sources said a military officer and four civilians died in the attack. The militants burned two vehicles but didn’t take any equipment as they vacated the base. Back in Mogadishu, people were rebuilding from the carnage of Tuesday. Despite being in a sorry state, the SYL hotel is coming back to life according to reports. At least five people were killed. Three civilians and two members of the security forces. One of the survivors shared his sentiments. “So, after sunset and Maghreb prayers, armed men attacked the hotel, then jumped off the walls. Now we thank Allah for saving us. Eighty people were rescued by security forces after several hours of fighting with the terrorists inside the hotel. It was the fourth time since 2015 that the hotel had been attacked.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 15:06:54 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/al-shabaab-attack-on-somalia-military-base-claims-5-lives/Disappointment of sadio fans at the 2019 Ballon d'Orhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/disappointment-of-sadio-fans-at-the-2019-ballon-d-or/On Twitter, several Internet users also expressed their disappointment that Sadio Mané did not appear on the podium. This is the case, for example, of the Ivorian football legend Didier Drogba himself, who arrived in 4th position in 2017 for the Golden Ball, who twitched, and I quote, “seeing you on the podium would have seemed so logical to me, but it must be said that as long as we do not show solidarity among Africans, we will never again have Golden Ball players like our big brother George Weah. Courage to you and keep making us dream, one day you will be crowned. “End of quote. Thu, 12 Dec 2019 14:47:14 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/disappointment-of-sadio-fans-at-the-2019-ballon-d-or/Black Friday travel offers: Was it a promotion? [Travel]http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/black-friday-travel-offers-was-it-a-promotion-travel/A large promotional campaign is carried out to encourage people to buy during Black Friday. And there’s no need to say if it works! Particularly considering the discounts offered by airline, one is tempted to take a trip to the other side of the world. Faced with numerous promotions with some offers too good to be true doubts creep into ones mind, the numerous complaints from some travellers, we noted two observations: The unreliable nature of airline ticket prices during Black Friday and the quotas offered by these companies, which were unable to sell even 10 seats. Intrigued, we interviewed Sami Chege, a travel professional. We asked him if Air Black Friday was really a promotion in view of the quotas made available by the companies?Thu, 12 Dec 2019 14:24:28 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/black-friday-travel-offers-was-it-a-promotion-travel/Saving Lake Chad Basin, Sahel: AU chief calls for African solidarityhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/saving-lake-chad-basin-sahel-au-chief-calls-for-african-solidarity/Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, AUC, has renewed calls for continental solidarity in helping combat twin scourge of terrorism and environmental degradation. Speaking at the Aswan Summit taking place in Egypt, the former Chadian Foreign Minister specifically mentioned the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin as two cases worthy of solidarity. He described the situation in both regions as “not normal.” “It is not normal that while the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin are burning, the rest of the continent is not showing greater solidarity towards these countries confronted with terrorism.” Terrorists ravaging the Sahel The Sahel regions expands across five countries dogged by terrorist activities by extremists who continue to carry out attacks across the vast desert region bordering the Sahara desert. Military interventions under the G5 Sahel group has failed to stem the course of violence over the years. The 5 nations involved are Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. The G5 force along with a French military mission have failed to stem the violence. The African Union and United Nations have repeatedly warned that the terrorists are gaining a foothold in the Sahel and called for global action to combat the scourge. The ever shrinking Lake Chad Basin In February 2018, a $6.5-million research and conservation programme to save the Lake Chad Basin was launched in the Nigerian capital Abuja. The participating countries were Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, whose borders meet on the lake, as well as the Central African Republic. Lake Chad is the principal source of freshwater for 40 million people. But climate change and water mismanagement have contributed to a staggering 90 per cent decline of the lake’s surface over the past 40 years. As it dries up and hunger rises, the region has become fragile and Boko Haram insurgents have targeted subsistence farmers and fishermen to fill their ranks. Troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria are fighting a battle against Boko Haram jihadists in the remote region. The ongoing Islamist insurgency has forced tens of thousands of people to cross borders in search of food and safety. The UN estimates that more than two million people have been uprooted from their homes and 10.7 million are in need of food handouts to survive.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 13:46:49 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/saving-lake-chad-basin-sahel-au-chief-calls-for-african-solidarity/Visa on arrival for all Africans entering Nigeria, starting January 2020http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/visa-on-arrival-for-all-africans-entering-nigeria-starting-january-2020/Nigeria will issue visas on arrival for all African passport holders effective January 2020, president Muhammadu Buhari has announced. His tweet of the move this morning confirmed an earlier tweet on Wednesday by Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister. Ambassador Ahmed Awad wrote: “I wish to profoundly commend President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria who just announced at the Aswan Forum complete visa exemption for all Africans. “Starting January 2020 Africans will be able to arrive in Nigeria without visas. It’s such an exemplary decision. Thanks your Excellency.” But it was not till Thursday morning that Buhari tweeted the decision. stressing that it was part of Nigeria’s commitment “to supporting the free movement of Africans within Africa.” Nigeria is committed to supporting the free movement of Africans within Africa. Yesterday at the Aswan Forum in Egypt I announced that, in January 2020, we will commence issuance of visas at the point of entry into Nigeria, to all persons holding passports of African countries.— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 12, 2019 The regional bloc Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, of which Nigeria is part already guarantees free movement (visa-free entry) of citizens across the 16-member bloc. Analysts say the current move means that visitors will not need to fill out paperwork before they arrive. They can make the journey and get visas upon arrival at any of Nigeria’s entry points. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous and has the continent’s biggest economy. It was one of the last countries to sign up to the African Union’s continental free trade area deal. At the time, the president said it needed to consult with industry players before agreeing to the deal. From August this year, Nigeria unilaterally shut all its land borders creating a trade squeeze on its immediate neighbours. Niger, Chad and Benin were the worse affected countries to the blockade which Buhari says will be in place till the reasons for imposing them are eliminated – primarily the incidence of smuggling in and out of the country. Nigeria also boasts of Lagos, its commercial capital that is one of Africa’s biggest mega cities. Its bubbling tech and business landscape not forgetting its arts space has made it a key destination for investors and businesses. It, however, continues to grapple with the issue of bad roads and other infrastructure plus a notorious traffic situation in many parts of the city.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 11:51:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/visa-on-arrival-for-all-africans-entering-nigeria-starting-january-2020/Security high as Algeria holds controversial presidential votehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/security-high-as-algeria-holds-controversial-presidential-vote/Polls have opened in Algeria today (December 12) in highly controversial elections meant to usher in a new president since the forced resignation of long serving Abdul Aziz Bouteflika early this year. The polls were delayed by the resignation of Bouteflika amid a mass movement that kicked against the candidature of the ailing leader. But the protesters have continued their push for a postponement of the vote with weekly protests even after Bouteflika’s ouster. Their main demand being that the entire ruling elite steps down and the military quits politics before any elections are held. The army, seen as the strongest political player, stresses the importance of the vote saying it was the only way to restore order in Africa’s largest country – by land size. Reuters reported that early in the morning, it was quiet at one central Algiers polling station, though police were patrolling the city’s streets on foot and in vehicles. عينة من الشعب الجزائري تؤدي واجبها الإنتخابي pic.twitter.com/LoAKgFNJeP— APS | وأج ?? (@APS_DZ) December 12, 2019 “The country has entered a critical phase,” said Aziz Djibali, 56, who went to vote at a polling station near the prime minister’s office. “It’s time for Algerians to voice their opinions peacefully.” Skirmishes has been reported in east of Algiers where protesters reportedly ransacked a polling station. There are five aspirants on the ballot, but that all of them being former government appointees has not helped matters. Protesters have called for a boycott of the process. Of the five, there are two former prime ministers and two former government ministers, seen largely as people who cannot stand up to the army’s central role in the polls. Army chief Ahmed Gaed Salah has over the months issued stern warnings to people who he said wanted to threaten the security of the nation. He has described the vote as the most viable path to legitimacy of any government. Algeria, a former French colony, is a major natural gas supplier to Europe and has a population of 40 million. The winner of the poll will be the first in 20 years, that is how long Bouteflika stayed in charge.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 11:40:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/security-high-as-algeria-holds-controversial-presidential-vote/Congo: Women challenged to take up more leadership roleshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/congo-women-challenged-to-take-up-more-leadership-roles/Entrepreneurs, traders, business leaders coming from Rwanda, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon, all shared their different experiences with leadership. Adriana Talensi, Sivi Malukisa, Daphnee Mayet told of their journeys full of challenges at the 3rd edition of the Biashara networking in Pointe-noire, Congo. “By being myself, by being a woman who works, a woman who knows what she wants to do. I am in a company I created in which I am the only investor. But in other businesses, I am associated with men. It is true that sometimes there are challenges, trying to impose on you, to impose to your qualities. I am the youngest and only woman. Indeed, sometimes it can be painful. There are so many myths: that the woman is weak, we must protect her… The woman needs us to think for her and tell her what to do. All we have to do is…As the panel’s theme said, impose yourself but gently. “To impose oneself through ideas,” said Sivi Malukisa, CEO, Manitech Congo. Africa holds the world record for female entrepreneurship, with 27% of women entrepreneurs,according to the latest figures published by the International Solidarity Organization Women in Africa. They represent half of the African population and produce 62% of the economic goods, with only 8.5% of women employees. According to some women, Africa attracts and fascinates. For fashion designer Adriana Talansi, the continent is a true source of wealth that inspires on a global scale especially in the field of fashion. “I think that African fashion was really inspired by us, I assure you especially when I did the Dior exhibition, I saw John Galliano was inspired by us. I saw Masai-mara necklaces, and today Dolce Gabbana for her 2020 collection is in Raphia. I think that today the African has understood the importance of consuming African goods,’‘ said Adriana Talansi fashion designer/ founder, Talansi brand. These enterprising women want to go further and they do not hide their ambitions,extending and varying their activities higher amidst enormous challenges. Nevertheless, there has been a significant improvement in women’s access to decision-making positions. But the problem of accessing finance remains a challenge.Thu, 12 Dec 2019 11:32:14 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/congo-women-challenged-to-take-up-more-leadership-roles/Terrorists ambush Niger army camp killing 71 soldiers - Officialhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/terrorists-ambush-niger-army-camp-killing-71-soldiers-official/About 100 Islamic militants ambushed an army camp in western Niger, a military spokesman said late Wednesday, killing at least 71 soldiers in the deadliest attack on the West African country’s forces in years. The large-scale attack comes amid a surge of assaults on army camps in the Sahel region, which have allowed jihadists to amass weapons and vehicles for their arsenal. Neighboring Mali has seen such an increase in ambushes on its army that it has even closed some of its most remote and vulnerable army outposts. Niger’s army spokesman, Col. Boukar Hassan, read the death toll announcement on state television Wednesday night and said a dozen others had been wounded after the ambush overnight. Earlier in the evening, a tweet sent from President Mahamadou Issoufou’s account had announced that he was returning early from an overseas trip in Egypt following developments near Niger’s border with Mali. Niger’s president is among those invited to a summit next week in France to discuss the future of the French mission in the region. The large attack took place in a remote area of Niger where jihadists linked to the Islamic State have long been active. The violence was 30 miles (45 kilometers) from Ouallam, where four U.S. service members died along with four Nigerien soldiers two years ago when their joint patrol came under fire in a massive ambush. Islamic extremists have long carried out attacks across the vast desert region, abducting foreigners and targeting spots popular with expatriates. A regional military force and a French military mission have failed to stem the violence. Some analysts have suggested that the deadly ambushes on army outposts are also aimed not only at stealing weapons but also at expanding the area of land under jihadists’ control. Given the growing insecurity, Mali’s military has even closed some of its most isolated and vulnerable outposts as part of a reorganization. Unrest over deadly ambushes has mounted, particularly in Mali, where soldiers’ widows have held a number of demonstrations calling on the government to do more. Some have even aimed their anger at France, the former colonial ruler in the region whose military intervened in 2013 to force jihadists from power in major towns across northern Mali. France’s operation in West and Central Africa is now its largest overseas military mission and involves 4,500 personnel. France intervened in Mali in 2013 after extremists seized control of major towns in the north and implemented a harsh version of Islamic law. Macron has said he expects West African leaders to make it clear at next week’s summit in France that they want and need France’s military help despite the anti-French sentiment expressed by some protesters. APThu, 12 Dec 2019 10:10:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/terrorists-ambush-niger-army-camp-killing-71-soldiers-official/Ethiopians give PM hero's welcome after receiving Nobel awardhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/ethiopians-give-pm-hero-s-welcome-after-receiving-nobel-peace-award/Ethiopians gave a hero’s welcome to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his return from Oslo, Norway where he received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Award earlier this week. Major roads from the Bole International Airport to the National Palace were blocked this morning as hundreds of thousands line up along the streets to cheer the Prime Minister. Many people were seen waving photos of the PM, others had flags running along the entourage and giving security forces a hard time as they attempted to catch a glimpse of Abiy. The laureate was in the front seat of a car waving to the teeming crowds that were cheering him. Ethiopians have been celebrating the Prime Minister on social media since he received the award. His efforts in brokering peace with neighbouring Eritrea and widespread reforms at home made him the 100th winner of the Nobel Prize. His efforts at consolidating regional peace was the third plank that the Nobel Committee cited in choosing him as winner. He is the first Ethiopian to win the award. ፍቅርና ክብር የገባዉን ሕዝብ ማገልገል ኩራትም ዕድልም ነዉ። አመሰግናለሁ Galatoomaa Thank You pic.twitter.com/UBz2fAluCd— Abiy Ahmed Ali (@AbiyAhmedAli) December 12, 2019Thu, 12 Dec 2019 09:59:43 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/12/ethiopians-give-pm-hero-s-welcome-after-receiving-nobel-peace-award/Canada-Africa relations: Building and Sustaining Peace Together | VIEWhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/canada-africa-relations-building-and-sustaining-peace-together-view/Momentum is building as African leaders drive efforts to build and sustain peace across the continent, and international partners are eager and ready to support these efforts. This compels us to ask how international partners can best support African-led efforts to build and sustain peace. How can we work together to release the enormous potential of all Africans for this generation and those to come? This week in Aswan, Egypt, leaders from the continent and around the world, including Canada, will join together to tackle these questions at an important Forum organized by the Government of Egypt as part of its Presidency of the African Union (AU). Canada will be at the table to speak to peace and security issues, as it is one of its top priorities. Heads of governments, international organizations, financial institutions, the private sector, and civil society will assess challenges to peace, security and development in Africa and identify opportunities to support inclusive, peaceful prosperity. Canada values its long-standing partnership with Africa, and is keen to be an ever-more effective partner in your efforts to expand trade and investment, to address climate change, and to support peace and security. We stand ready to support the inspirational vision set out in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.” In ratifying the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) earlier this year, African leaders have proven their commitment to take bold steps towards this goal. African countries have put in place the seeds of what can grow to be the largest free trade area in the world. Canada is, itself, a trading nation. We understand the immense social and economic benefits free trade can bring. That is why Canada was the founding donor of the African Trade Policy Center, which helped develop homegrown African expertise to support the trade negotiations. Canada intends to expand on this support as our African partners move towards implementing this historic agreement. Canadian businesses are increasingly attuned to the investment opportunities present on this continent. African countries are leading in bringing new approaches to peace and security. As part of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, Canada is working closely with Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia to pursue practical and catalytic change to increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women in United Nations (UN) peace operations. Through advocacy, research and innovation, we are supporting the UN to reach its global targets to make peacekeeping missions more inclusive, effective, and representative of the communities they serve. The Elsie Initiative is just one example of how the spirit of collaboration between Canada and African countries is having an impact. Africa’s international partners must be equally bold in supporting countries rebuild from conflict. To secure the resources needed to jumpstart economies and create jobs, while setting countries on a path to sustainable development and peace, the international community needs to rethink the ways and means by which it extends support to countries recovering from conflict. We must develop innovative tools that unleash the potential of all partners, including the private sector, in sustaining development and peace. We must take measures to ensure financial stability and resilience to external shocks, and address unsustainable debt burdens so that domestic resources can be used for necessary economic and social investments to catalyze economic recovery, generate employment opportunities, and foster social cohesion. Doing this well is predicated on listening to our African partners to understand what is most needed. Canada will bring these important considerations to the forefront as chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, a new role for Canada that starts in January 2020. We will work together with our African partners to strengthen the links between the Peacebuilding Commission, the UN Security Council and other organs of the UN, and the African Union, to ensure that the economic needs of populations affected by conflict are integrated into decisions related to UN peacekeeping operations. We will work to deepen the Peacebuilding Commission’s links with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank to ensure that financing aimed at fragile and conflict-affected states is a more proactive part of UN decisions on peacekeeping operations. Canada can be counted on to help develop forward-looking approaches to international peace and security, from peacekeeping and policing to peacebuilding and transitions. We will work together with you to sustain peace, address climate change, promote economic security, advance gender equality, and strengthen multilateralism. We will encourage and promote enhanced collaboration between the UN Security Council and the African Union. We will also continue to break down the silos between security and development, and between governments, the private sector and civil society, as well as between traditional and non-traditional partners. Nearly 20 years ago, our collaboration with African partners was instrumental in passing the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325. It recognized women as not only victims of conflict, but powerful agents of change whose voices are essential to prevent, end, and rebuild after war. At the Aswan Forum, on the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and hopefully on the UN Security Council for 2021-22, Canada will continue working to ensure that people most affected by policies have a say in creating them. We recognize the crucial and diverse contributions of African youth, and the global leadership and potential economic power that exists, including that of African women. We are eager to continue learning from your experiences and sharing our own successes and ongoing challenges in drawing on the talents of entire communities, and creating prosperity that leaves no one behind. Canada is honoured to support Egypt’s AU Presidency as a strategic partner of the Aswan Forum which we view as an important platform to address the interlinkages between peace and development on the continent.  We commend the Government of Egypt for this initiative and look forward to working together with our African partners to advance your vision of a more peaceful, inclusive and sustainable future. Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security and Canada’s representative on the International Advisory Board of the Aswan Forum. Antoine Chevrier, Canada’s representative to the African Union and Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia and Djibouti Jess Dutton, Ambassador of Canada to Egypt Opinions expressed in View articles are solely those of the authors.Wed, 11 Dec 2019 17:06:16 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/canada-africa-relations-building-and-sustaining-peace-together-view/Ethiopia deploys federal police to curb varsity violencehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/ethiopia-deploys-federal-police-to-curb-ethnically-tinged-varsity-violence/Ethiopia’s federal police were deployed to universities across the country on Tuesday, the government said, as authorities sought to calm ethnic tensions which have claimed the lives of seven students in the past three months. Since taking power in 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has implemented sweeping political reforms that have won him praise but also lifted the lid on long-repressed tensions between Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups. In October, 86 people were killed and 409 detained during protests against the treatment of a prominent activist. “We have decided to deploy federal police to all 45 public universities across the country because the security situation could not be managed by campus security, some of whom were implicated in violent clashes,” Ministry of Science and Higher Education spokesman Dechassa Gurmu said. He said five campus security guards had been arrested as of Tuesday for taking part in violent clashes with students. REUTERSWed, 11 Dec 2019 15:30:29 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/ethiopia-deploys-federal-police-to-curb-ethnically-tinged-varsity-violence/Algeria army chief warns persons threatening December 12 pollhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/algeria-army-chief-warns-persons-threatening-december-12-poll/Algeria’s powerful army chief promises that a presidential election on Thursday will define the contours of a new era for a nation where the highest office has stood vacant for eight months. The tenacious pro-democracy movement which forced leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign after 20 years in power doesn’t believe the claim and is boycotting the vote. At stake in the election is whether Africa’s largest country, rich with oil and gas and a strategic partner of the West in countering terrorism, will get a fresh start with its next head of state, remain paralyzed by protests or suffer worse under a president lacking popular legitimacy. The situation is remarkable in a country where the previous presidents were generals or, like Bouteflika, have had the blessing of the army brass since Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 after a brutal seven-year war. Weekly anti-government protest marches that started in February eventually forced Bouteflika from power, and activists have continued pressing their demands with peaceful demonstrations marked by scores of arrests. In a nod to the public dissent, the interim government that took over launched an anti-corruption drive that secured convictions of some of the country’s most powerful figures, including Bouteflika’s brother. Said Bouteflika ran the former president’s inner circle, dispensing political and financial largesse to the favored. He was sentenced in September to 15 years in prison for “plotting against the state.” The five presidential candidates, among them two other former prime ministers, are all linked to the system the pro-democracy protesters want to bury. The candidates have been at pains to draw crowds of supporters during the 22-day campaign period. Instead, they have been pummeled with insults during their public appearances, cancelled rallies and avoided regions known for their hostility to the political elite. Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah has emerged as the leading authority figure inside the power vacuum created by Bouteflika’s ouster. He orchestrated the election, including its date. Taking its cue from Gaid Salah, the interim government has also promised a new era for the North African nation. To show the military was in step with the democratic times, soldiers were told to vote like other civilians, at polling stations and in civilian clothes. “The presidential elections will trace the contours of the new Algerian state,” Gaid Salah said in a speech this week, while warning that anyone trying to trouble the voting would face “the force of the law.” Police intervened with tear gas and water cannon to hold back protesters as former Prime Minister Ali Benflis held a campaign rally in Bouira, east of the capital.In the rancorous pre-election atmosphere, some officials have lobbed their own insults and threats, mimicking the army chief with claims that election opponents were manipulated by an unnamed foreign power. The interior minister, Salah Eddine Dahmoune, branded them as “traitors” and “homosexuals” in remarks this month before the high chamber of parliament. Days later, the army review, El Djeich, tendered the ultimate insult, referring to those opposing the voting as either “lost” or “new Harkis,” a reference to Algerians who fought for France during the independence war. Candidates have largely substituted platforms with concrete proposals for a litany of promises about promoting democratic freedoms or fighting unemployment among youth. Last week, after candidates participated in a presidential debate that was a first for Algeria, commentators deemed the event “catastrophic.” Benflis, 75, said during the debate that he chose to seek the presidency “knowing that all conditions are not met. But if I am elected, my top priority would be to engage in a dialogue with the opponents of the presidential election.” With public polling not permitted in Algeria, there was no firm indication on the eve of the election which of the five contenders may have the upper hand with voters. Another former prime minister, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, 74, was until recently considered the favorite due to his reportedly close ties with Gaid Salah. Now, the media are touting Azzedine Mihoubi, 60, a writer and poet with deep ties to the toppled Bouteflika regime. Mihoubi, a former culture minister, took over leadership of the National Democratic Rally party, which has governed in alliance with the FLN, the sole party for nearly three decades and now in tatters. The other two candidates are Abdelaziz Belaid, 56, a former figure in the FLN who started his own party, and Abdelkader Bengrini, 57, a one-time tourism minister and member of the moderate Islamist party, the Movement for a Society of Peace (MSP), who started his own small Islamist party, el Bina, which like the MSP, backed Bouteflika. A group of 19 nationally known figures who oppose Thursday’s election have called on protesters to remain peaceful and asked authorities to avoid threats and provocation. The president of the Algerian League of Human Rights, Noureddine Benissad, said that Algerians, including jailed protesters, were not against the principle of elections. “They simply want free, democratic and transparent elections,” Benissad told Algeria’s TSA online news agency this week. “And right now, the elections taking place Dec. 12 do not fulfill those conditions.” APWed, 11 Dec 2019 15:20:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/algeria-army-chief-warns-persons-threatening-december-12-poll/Keita, Salah goals help Liverpool beat Salzburg to top UCL Group Ehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/keita-salah-goals-help-liverpool-beat-salzburg-to-top-ucl-group-e/Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp praised Mohamed Salah for showing self-belief after he spurned several straightforward chances before scoring from a tight angle to help the defending champions reach the Champions League knockout stages on Tuesday. Liverpool beat Salzburg 2-0 to advance as Group E winners, with Salah adding to midfielder Naby Keita’s opener after rounding opposition goalkeeper Cican Stankovic. “He played really well but didn’t score in the situations we expect him usually to score, but staying on track and making such a decisive and very difficult finish, that probably says much more about him than all of the other goals he has scored,” said Klopp. “Staying concentrated, belief in the next moment, it was brilliant. A very, very difficult goal but a sensational finish.” Salah’s goal was his 11th for Liverpool this season and took him to 20 Champions League goals for the club. Liverpool next host basement-side Watford in the Premier League on Saturday. REUTERSWed, 11 Dec 2019 15:15:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/keita-salah-goals-help-liverpool-beat-salzburg-to-top-ucl-group-e/Like South Africa, Rwanda scraps tax on sanitary padshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/like-south-africa-rwanda-scraps-tax-on-sanitary-pads/Over a year after South Africa scrapped taxes on sanitary pads, Rwanda has gone down the same path with an announcement on Tuesday. The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion tweeted the new development: “Moving to the right direction, from now onwards, the Government of Rwanda has added Sanitary Pads to a list of goods that are VAT exempted in a bid to ease their affordability.” Reports indicate that till now, there had been an 18% value added tax, VAT, on the pads. A pack of ten pads currently goes for around 1,000 Rwandan Francs (about $1). Consumers expect to pay much lower amounts for pads as soon as the directive begins to be implemented. Most activists have held that the unavailability of pads stemming from their cost continued to affect especially school going girls across Africa. There has been a sustained push for governments to scrap the taxes. “For many girls and women, especially in rural areas, the cost of the pads is too high. Many still rely to reusable cloth pads,” a women’s activist Saidath Murorunkwere is quoted to have said. Aline Berabose, a Rwandan reproductive health activist, told the BBC that girls in poor families are known to miss school when they are on their periods because they can’t afford the pads. In October 2018, South Africa’s Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, announced in a speech that the country will no longer tax sanitary products. The scrapping of the 15% VAT on sanitary products was however started in April 2019. Zambia also has a policy since 2017 that provides sanitary pads for schoolgirls. Menstruation is still taboo in many countries around the world, where it’s often considered embarrassing or shameful. One in 10 African girls miss school during their periods, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF estimates, which means they fall behind in their studies and often drop out of school. In 2017, the Kenyan government announced a policy that provided free sanitary pads to schoolgirls in order to keep them in school. The policy was estimated at a cost of 500 million shillings ($4.8 million) yearly. It was an expansion on a 2011 programme giving pads to girls from poor families. In neighbouring Uganda, researchers from Oxford University found absenteeism from school was 17 percent higher among girls who had no access to sanitary towels or information about puberty. When 10 percent more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3 percent. Each additional year of secondary schooling leads to a 15-25 percent increase in a girl’s potential income, say gender equality campaigners.Wed, 11 Dec 2019 13:00:04 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/like-south-africa-rwanda-scraps-tax-on-sanitary-pads/Horrors of war trenches motivated peace with Eritrea - Abiyhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/horrors-of-war-trenches-motivated-peace-with-eritrea-abiy/The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize says his horrifying experiences as a young Ethiopian soldier fueled his determination to seek an end to the long conflict with a neighboring country. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spoke at Oslo City Hall during the ceremony in Norway’s capital where he received his Nobel on Tuesday. “War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I was there and back,” he said in accepting the prize. Abiy won the prize, in part, for making peace with Eritrea after one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. Abiy served in the army during the war. “Twenty years ago, I was a radio operator attached to an Ethiopian army unit in the border town of Badame,” he recalled. “I briefly left the foxhole in the hopes of getting a good antenna reception. ... It only took but a few minutes. Yet upon my return I was horrified to discover that my entire unit had been wiped out in an artillery attack.” Abiy, 43, took office in early 2018 and within weeks astonished the long-turbulent Horn of Africa region by fully accepting a peace deal ending the 20-year border conflict with Eritrea that saw around 80,000 people killed. In his speech, he said stability in the region was strategically important. “The global military superpowers are expanding their military presence in the area. Terrorist and extremist groups also seek to establish a foothold. We do not want the Horn to be a battleground for superpowers nor a hideout for the merchants of terror and brokers of despair and misery,” he said. The peace prize also recognizes Abiy’s significant domestic reforms including the release of tens of thousands of prisoners and the return of once-banned opposition groups. But since the prize was announced in October, he has faced growing challenges at home, including bloody protests. Just days after the November launch of his book promoting his national unity philosophy, protesters burned copies of it in the streets. The protests had erupted after an outspoken activist who had returned from exile asserted that his government-provided security detail was being removed. The claim came a day after Abiy had warned unnamed people that “if you threaten our peace and security, we will take measures.” The government said 78 people were killed in the unrest. In Oslo, he called on “my fellow Ethiopians to join hands and help build a country that offers equal justice, equal rights and equal opportunities for all its citizens.” “The evangelists of hate and division are wreaking havoc in our society using social media. They are preaching the gospel of revenge and retribution on the airwaves,” he said. Tensions with another regional power, Egypt, over Africa’s largest dam project have led Abiy to talk in terms of war. Ethiopia wants a peaceful settlement of the Nile water dispute, but could muster millions to fight if needed, he said recently. Residents of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, packed into hotel lobbies and cafeterias to watch the speech broadcast. “It is an extraordinary speech. I have to study it again and again,” said Dejene Sakoume, a writer who supports Abiy. But an Eritrean human rights advocate expressed reservations, although she supports reforms in Ethiopia. “I find the fact that the prize is mainly for the peace with Eritrea perplexing, as a year-and-a-half on there is hardly any evidence of a peace dividend, especially for the long-suffering people of Eritrea. The border is shut and remains not demarcated,” Selam Kidane told The Associated Press. APWed, 11 Dec 2019 12:55:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/horrors-of-war-trenches-motivated-peace-with-eritrea-abiy/Humanitarian staff evacuated from DRC Ebola treatment centre [Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/humanitarian-staff-evacuated-from-drc-ebola-treatment-centre-morning-call/Médecins Sans Frontières (doctors without borders) announced the temporary evacuation of its staff from the Biakato region following a 3rd attack on a health center. The presence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias has led to continued insecurity in the region, presenting a major obstacle in the fight against Ebola. @NyashaKMutizwaWed, 11 Dec 2019 10:47:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Nyasha K. MUTIZWA)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/humanitarian-staff-evacuated-from-drc-ebola-treatment-centre-morning-call/WHO tackles HIV drug resistance in Africa [Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/who-tackles-hiv-drug-resistance-in-africa-morning-call/Growing resistance to HIV drugs in Africa is threatening the significant progress made in the global fight against the virus. In an effort to reinforce the gains and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have unveiled a five-year plan to monitor, prevent and respond to drug resistance within the continent. @NyashaKMutizwaWed, 11 Dec 2019 10:39:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Nyasha K. MUTIZWA)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/who-tackles-hiv-drug-resistance-in-africa-morning-call/Back to the 1980s General: Nigerian newspaper strips Buhari of 'president' titlehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/back-to-the-1980s-general-nigerian-newspaper-strips-buhari-of-president-title/A major newspaper outlet in Nigeria says Muhammadu Buhari did not deserve the title of president, they have thus reverted to referring to the him as General Muhammadu Buhari. The Punch group of newspapers said its decision was allied to recent disregard for human rights and attendant repression by the government. The most recent case in point is of the chaotic rearrest of Omoyele Sowore, a journalist, activist and politician who was arrested in August for calling for the Revolution Now protests. In an editorial of Wednesday December 11, 2019; titled Buhari’s lawlessness: Our stand, the paper said it was going to refer to the government as a regime since Buhari was deploying military tactics in governance. “As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, PUNCH (all our print newspapers, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Sports Extra, and digital platforms, most especially Punchng.com) will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime, until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.” Aside the case of Sowore, the newspaper also chronicled other instances of the government flouting court orders to continually detain citizens. From the military ruler to democratic president Buhari served as military ruler between 1983 – 1985 after overthrowing the government of Shehu Shagari. He was overthrown in a counter coup by General Ibrahim Babangida and was detained in Benin City till his release in 1988. He retired from the army in 1985 at the rank of Major General. In the runup to 2015 he was referred to as GMB – General Muhammadu Buhari, that changed to PMB – President Muhammadu Buhari. He became the first opposition candidate under the current constitution to win the presidency after he beat Goodluck Jonathan to win the 2015 polls. He contested three times unsuccessfully in three votes prior to 2015. Lost in 2003 to Obasanjo, 2007 to Umaru Yar Adua and 2011 to Goodluck Jonathan. In 2015, Buhari was elected flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC, a mega party that was formed to challenge the then Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The PDP had governed Nigeria since 1999.Wed, 11 Dec 2019 10:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/back-to-the-1980s-general-nigerian-newspaper-strips-buhari-of-president-title/Gambians who survived Mauritanian coast boat mishap repatriatedhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/gambians-who-survived-mauritanian-coast-boat-mishap-repatriated/Several hundred Gambian migrants return home after being rescued off the Mauritanian coast. The boat they were travelling on capsized and drowned nearly 60 of them, according to the Gambian presidency. President Adama Barrow described the deaths as a “national tragedy” in a televised address last weekend. He also stressed that a police investigation was underway to identify the perpetrators whiles a multi-pronged team was working to support families of the victims. One of the migrants lucky to return home is Hassan Ndour who told the story of how the incident occured. “We ran out of food and fuel, and we didn’t know where to go. So we wanted to moor our boat but the waves hit the boat while we were trying to anchor it. Then the boat tilted.” His mother, Seynabou Diouf, regrets his departure but is happy for the safe return of her son. “Our village has experienced a real tragedy, I will no longer allow him anyone to take part in this kind of adventure. “His father was crying until he came back today, I was really afraid something would happen to him.” Hassan Ndour’s family encouraged this move to Europe to improve their living conditions. Last Wednesday’s accident is the deadliest on the coastline this year, according to the International Organization for Migration. Despite the incident, just last Friday, the Mauritanian coast guard intercepted another 192 Gambians en route to Spain.Wed, 11 Dec 2019 10:25:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/gambians-who-survived-mauritanian-coast-boat-mishap-repatriated/Sudan questions ousted Bashir over 1989 couphttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/sudan-questions-ousted-bashir-over-1989-coup/Sudan’s ousted long-time leader Omar al-Bashir was summoned for questioning on Tuesday over his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power. Bashir, who ruled Sudan until the military removed him in April following months of street protests, was charged in May with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters. He is also already on trial on charges of possessing illicit foreign currency and corruption. A verdict is expected on Saturday in that trial. “We believe that this is a political trial par excellence because 30 years have passed and many variables have occurred,” Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, a member of Bashir’s defence, told reporters of his summons on Tuesday. “We do not know what happened in the investigation room. We have an agreement with President al-Bashir not to speak with this committee and to boycott it,” Amin added, referring to the investigative committee. The ousted president’s prosecution is a test of how far power-sharing military and civilian authorities will tackle the legacy of his 30-year authoritarian rule. The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region. REUTERSWed, 11 Dec 2019 10:20:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/sudan-questions-ousted-bashir-over-1989-coup/Cameroon's Far North recorded 275 deaths by Boko Haram: Amnestyhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/cameroon-s-far-north-recorded-275-deaths-by-boko-haram-amnesty/Boko Haram militants have killed at least 275 people this year in Cameroon’s Far North region despite government claims back in January that the Islamic extremist group had waned in the area, Amnesty International said Wednesday. More than 80 percent of those victims between January and November were civilians, the international human rights group said following a two-week mission to the volatile area. People in Cameroon’s Far North “are living in terror,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s Acting Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “Many of them have already witnessed Boko Haram attacks and lost family members or friends,” she said. “They no longer ask whether there will be further attacks but when they will take place – they feel completely abandoned by the authorities.” Boko Haram’s decade-long insurgency began in northeastern Nigeria and has spilled across borders into Cameroon, as well as Niger and Chad. The group has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions and created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. In recent years some fighters have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, creating a new threat. Amnesty said the resurgence in northern Cameroon comes after longtime President Paul Biya had called the group “a residual threat” back in January. There was no immediate comment from the government though in the past it has sharply criticized reports from international human rights groups. In 2014, Boko Haram drew the world’s attention with the mass kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls from Chibok. While many of the schoolgirls have since been freed, countless other people abducted over the decade remain lost to their loved ones. Amnesty International said it interviewed women in northern Cameroon who also had been abducted by Boko Haram and had later escaped. They recounted having been forced to convert to Islam under threat of death. “They were told that their villages could live in peace if all the inhabitants did the same and that they would be able to go home to collect their children,” Amnesty said, citing two women who had managed to get away in July. Biya, who has been in power since 1982, has had to deal not only with Islamic extremist violence in Cameroon’s north but also with attacks by separatists in the country’s English-speaking regions. Nearly 3,000 people have died since 2017 in fighting in those regions where English-speaking separatists say they have been been marginalized by the federal government. The violence has forced more than 500,000 people from their homes. APWed, 11 Dec 2019 10:15:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/cameroon-s-far-north-recorded-275-deaths-by-boko-haram-amnesty/African Union assessment of the continent's growth [Business]http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/african-union-assessment-of-the-continent-s-growth-business/African countries with a clearly defined National Development Plan (NDP) have realized real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in recent years compared to those without one. According to The African Governance Report 2019, there is a correlation between a long-term a national vision and a country’s economic growth. The purpose of the report which was released in Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi on Tuesday, December 10, is to measure growth on the continent in five aspects that is; economic performance, human development, peace and security. Of these, socio-economic development has been deemed the weakest. The assessment is measured in relation to the African Union’s Vision for the continent, also known as, Agenda 2063. This envisions sustainable and inclusive economic growth, driven by Africans, especially, women and the youth. The report notes that 46 out of the 54 African countries have clearly defined long-term national visions while the remaining 8 are either in conflict or recovering from one. Using per head count method, the report indicates that real GDP growth in South and Central Africa is not as inclusive as in the North and East. However, the per-head-count method is contentious because macroeconomic measures tend to distort general figures due to economic inequalities. This is because the rich minority have a lot more than the poorer majority. AU on Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and governance The report also noted that overlapping membership in the continent’s eight regional economic blocs is blocking the hand of the African Union. The AU wants regional economic blocs to ratify the continental free trade agreement and to align their development frameworks with the Agenda 2063. These economic communities are seen as building blocks towards a self-reliant African Economic Community, and the realization of the 1991 Abuja Treaty. One of the goals of the AU’s Agenda 2063 for peace and prosperity is to “silence the gun by 2020.” It is only two weeks to 2020 and guns are still cracking on the continent. In fact, participants at the Russia-Africa Summit in October were spellbound by the assortment of guns on display. Some politicians like Central African Republic’s President Faustin-Archange Touadéra blatantly asked Vladmir Putin for more ammunition. This is a clear demonstration of the distance between the willingness and efforts in place to achieve “The Africa We Want,” the slogan for Agenda 2063. @ameliamartha1Wed, 11 Dec 2019 06:39:37 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Amelia Nakitimbo)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/african-union-assessment-of-the-continent-s-growth-business/Nobel Prize: Ethiopia PM hails Eritrean leader as 'partner, comrade in peace'http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/nobel-prize-ethiopia-pm-hails-eritrean-leader-as-partner-comrade-in-peace/Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hailed Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki describing him as a “partner and comrade in peace” relative to the 2018 peace treaty signed in Asmara. Abiy praised the Eritrean leader early in his address after receiving the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday at Oslo’s City Hall. The Ethio-Eritrea peace deal was a key plank of the decision to award him the award. “I accept this award on behalf of Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace. Likewise, I accept this award on behalf of my partner and comrade in peace, (Eritrean) president Isaias Afwerki,” Abiy said. The Premier was announced winner of the prestigious prize in October for his peacemaking efforts, which ended two decades of hostility with Ethiopia’s longtime enemy Eritrea. Speaking on issues in the Horn of Africa region, Abiy said that militant groups and global military powers both pose a threat to peace and stability in the region. “The Horn of Africa today is a region of strategic significance. The global military superpowers are expanding their military presence in the area. Terrorist and extremist groups also seek to establish a foothold. We do not want the Horn to be a battleground for superpowers.” Despite the peace efforts, Abiy has faced criticism over his attempts to impose unity – including forming a single national political party. Eighty six people were killed during protests in October against the treatment of a prominent activist, while 409 people were detained over the unrest.Wed, 11 Dec 2019 03:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/11/nobel-prize-ethiopia-pm-hails-eritrean-leader-as-partner-comrade-in-peace/Pics of the day, December 9, 2019http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/pics-of-the-day-december-9-2019/Africanews samples the best pictures of the day’s news.Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:12:49 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/pics-of-the-day-december-9-2019/Somalia forces kill 5 in Al-Shabaab attack on presidential palacehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/deadly-al-shabaab-attack-on-hotel-in-somali-capital-mogadishu-mp/Operatives of Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab attacked a hotel in the capital Mogadishu killing a number of occupants, a federal lawmaker confirmed on Twitter late Tuesday. MP Abdirizak Mohamed wrote on Twitter: “Report of Alshabab inside SYL. This was confirmed for me by a federal MP who escaped from the scene by jumped over the wall to Berta nabadda. There are casualties but numbers not known yet.” He was responding to an earlier tweet by a Voice of America journalist who covers the Horn of Africa, Harun Maruf. Maruf, author of the book “Inside Al-Shabaab” had reported of gunfire in the vicinity of SYL hotel. The militants have usually carried out deadly attacks on hotels in the capital as part of their fight to take over the federal government. The security mix in Somalia consists of the national army, the African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM, and troops from neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya keeping the miitants at bay in different areas. Report of Alshabab inside SYL. This was confirmed for me by a federal MP who escaped from the scene by jumping over the wall to Berta nabadda. There are casualties but numbers not known yet— Abdirizak Mohamed MP (@AbdirizakOm) December 10, 2019 Somalia forces kill 5 rebels who attacked president’s house Five heavily armed Islamic extremist rebels attacked the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital Tuesday before all were killed by security forces in a shootout that spread from the heavily fortified government complex to a nearby hotel, police said. At least three people were killed in the firefight at the SYL hotel, which lasted about two hours and was marked by sustained gunfire punctuated by grenade blasts, said Ahmed Ali, a Somali police officer. He said 20 others, including government officials, have been rescued from the hotel. Security forces and guards fought off the attackers, denying them access to the hotel, frequented by government officials and Mogadishu’s elite, he said. Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein said that soldiers shot dead three attackers near the entrance to the presidential residence and then killed the last two near the parking lot of the nearby hotel after they took positions by the kitchen area, close to the first gate of the hotel compound. Somalia’s extremist rebels, al-Shabab, have claimed responsibility for the attack, according to an announcement on their Andalus radio station. The attack appears to be a new tactical shift by the rebels. Previously they have used car bombs at heavily fortified targets to blow openings for gunmen to enter on foot. This assault was carried out completely by gunmen on foot. Security officials said new security measures, including multiple checkpoints across Mogadishu, have made it difficult for the rebels to sneak car bombs into the capital city and have forced the rebels to stage attacks on foot.Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:10:04 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/deadly-al-shabaab-attack-on-hotel-in-somali-capital-mogadishu-mp/Victims of deadly food, landslide defied God, logic - Uganda presidenthttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/victims-of-deadly-food-landslide-defied-god-logic-uganda-president/Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni says death and losses from recent flooding and landslides in parts of the country was down to people defying logic in where they choose to stay. “These losses, on account of floods and landslides, are, mainly, due to the mistake of insisting on settling (living) in areas that logic and God did not intend for human habitation. These are the wetlands (and steep mountains of 31-32% gradient or more than that,” said in a tweet thread on Tuesday. He expressed condolences to families of twenty-six people who were killed in two areas – Elgon and Rwenzori, stressing that people had to accept government efforts at resettlement in order to avert any further disasters. Seventeen flooding deaths were confirmed in the western district of Bundibugyo. Whiles the other nine were reported in the mountainous districts of Sironko and Bududa in the east, said Irene Nakasiita, a spokeswoman for the Uganda Red Cross. Ugandan government officials have acknowledged the continuing threat from flooding and say relief is forthcoming to affected areas. Residents are being urged to move away from areas where rivers and streams have burst their banks. More than 6,000 people have been displaced in Bududa, a rugged area in the foothills of Mount Elgon where mudslides have killed hundreds of people over the years. Some there have resisted the government’s attempts to have them relocated to lowlands elsewhere, saying they find it hard to vacate their ancestral lands. “The risk of more flooding and landslides is real,” Musa Ecweru, the government minister in charge of disasters, said in a statement Thursday. Hundreds of acres of plantations have been destroyed and an unknown number of livestock lost in the flooding and mudslides in Bududa and Sironko, Eweru said. In March 2010 at least 100 people died in mudslides in Bududa, and injuries or deaths have been reported every year since then during the wet season.Tue, 10 Dec 2019 14:50:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/victims-of-deadly-food-landslide-defied-god-logic-uganda-president/Son of ex-Angolan president in court over corruption trialhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/son-of-ex-angolan-president-in-court-over-corruption-trial/Son of former Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos appeared before a court in the capital Luanda in a case of corruption and embezzlement brought by the state. José Filomeno dos Santos, has been appearing before a Luanda Supreme Court since Monday. The former head of the Angolan sovereign investment fund is accused of embezzlement and money laundering. He is charged along with three alleged accomplices, including the former governor of the country’s central bank. Sergio Raimundo, one of the defense lawyers said: “We will present our defense, because we are attentive to our arguments in favor of the opposite verdict.” This is the first trial against a family member of the former president. The accused’s half-sister and Africa’s richest woman, Isabel Dos Santos, is also the subject of an investigation for embezzlement. Since taking office, President Joao Lourenzo has ousted most of his predecessor’s relatives at the head of the country’s financial institutions and major corporations in a move to fight corruption.Tue, 10 Dec 2019 14:45:57 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/son-of-ex-angolan-president-in-court-over-corruption-trial/Death, destruction, displacement as Cyclone Belna hits Madagascarhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/death-destruction-displacement-as-cyclone-belna-hits-madagascar/Cyclone Belna has hit northwestern Madagascar, with 2 dead and three missing from the first tropical storm of the season, according to local officials. Belna blew into the coastal town of Soalala, where more than 1,400 residents were made homeless because their houses were destroyed, damaged or flooded, Col. Elack Olivier Andriakaja of the national catastrophe management office, said Tuesday. He said that his earlier report that nine had been killed was incorrect. Those displaced have found temporary shelter in primary schools, mosques and district offices but they need food, said Andriakaja. Many government administrative buildings and roads have also been damaged, he said. Emergency food rations will be delivered to Soalala by sea, said officials. Madagascar’s Prime Minister Christian Ntsay will be flying to Soalala to assess the damage. The storm’s winds blew off or dislodged the roofs of 80% of the town’s residences and government offices, said Soalala’s member of parliament Naina Randriamisa, who said water is rising across the city. Belna has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it travels south on the island. Heavy rains and winds are expected through Wednesday. The cyclone should be finished by then, according to the meteorology department. APTue, 10 Dec 2019 14:39:50 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/death-destruction-displacement-as-cyclone-belna-hits-madagascar/First humanoid robot with artificial skin [Sci-tech]http://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/first-humanoid-robot-with-artificial-skin-sci-tech/Artificial robot skin has been of great interest to scientists since the early days of robotics. The goal was to enable robots with a sense of touch similar to that of humans, allowing robots to be fully physically interactive and adequately safe to be near humans.Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:43:29 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/first-humanoid-robot-with-artificial-skin-sci-tech/Young Algerians call out dinosaur elite ahead of divisive pollshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/young-algerians-call-out-dinosaur-elite-ahead-of-divisive-polls/Algeria’s contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the deep gulf between young people at the heart of a street protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. Several youths continued their protests calling for an end to the old political elite and reforms ahead of polls expected to hold this week. “I think it’s a continuity of the system, since the heads, are the heads of the old system that was rejected by the population. “Moreover it’s empty political programmes, so here we talk about things that are unachievable with our economy, it’s like selling dreams to little kids,” one young protesters said. For nine months Algerians have marched every Friday to demand change. The protests forced long serving Abdul Aziz Bouteflika to rescind a plan to contest for a fifth term before he was eventually forced to resign after twenty years in charge. The young protesters summarised their aspirations as wanting to live freely, receive a good education, find a stable job with a decent salary, have their voices heard, and enjoy entertainment opportunities beyond loitering in the street.Tue, 10 Dec 2019 11:10:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/young-algerians-call-out-dinosaur-elite-ahead-of-divisive-polls/Two ex-Algerian Prime Ministers jailed for corruption, activists celebratehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/two-ex-algerian-prime-ministers-jailed-for-corruption-activists-celebrate/Two former prime ministers of Algeria have been convicted and sentenced to prison for corruption-related charges in a landmark trial. Cheers rose from a crowd of pro-democracy activists who gathered outside the courthouse in Algiers Tuesday to hear the verdict against Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal. Ouyahia was sentenced to 15 years in prison and $16,000 in fines. Sellal was sentenced to 12 years in prison and $8,000 in fines. They were accused of abusing authority in a car manufacturing embezzlement scandal. Both served under longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Protesters pushed out Bouteflika earlier this year in part because of anger at corruption. Some protesters shouted “Gang of gangsters!” and many waved or wore Algerian flags. Police surrounded the courthouse because so many protesters were trying to get into the building see the trial in person. Unusually, the trial was televised, as authorities sought to show the public that they are taking protesters’ concerns about corruption seriously. It was the most high-profile corruption conviction since the peaceful protest movement began in February. APTue, 10 Dec 2019 11:05:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/two-ex-algerian-prime-ministers-jailed-for-corruption-activists-celebrate/