Africa Top10 News

1The Wheels of Bashir’s Trial in Motion

Omar al-Bashir

Sudan’s former President Omar al-Bashir has appeared in public for the first time since his overthrow by the military following months of mass protests against his 30-year-long autocratic rule. Dressed in a white robe and turban, the toppled leader was seen on Sunday as he was escorted under heavy guard from a maximum security prison in Sudan’s capital Khartoum to the prosecutor’s office. There, prosecutors informed him he faced charges of “possessing foreign currency and acquiring suspicious and illicit wealth”.  He was given one week to raise objections, questioned on additional unspecified corruption charges, and taken back to Kobar prison. The moves against the 75-year-old former president triggered derision and scepticism from critics who dismissed it as an attempt by Sudan’s new military rulers to deflect attention from a recent bloody crackdown on protesters, as well as its reluctance to cede power to a civilian-led transitional administration. They also questioned the likelihood of al-Bashir receiving a fair trial in Sudan or being held accountable for the most egregious of charges against him.


2Why Do South Africans Mark Youth Day?

Youth Day SA

Youth Day in South Africa is commemorated every year on the 16th of June in remembrance of all the young people, mainly students, who lost their lives during the Soweto Uprisings. Students in the Johannesburg Township of Soweto took to the streets on the 16th of June in 1976 to stand up against the racist educational policies of the apartheid government as set out in the Bantu Education Act of 1953. The Bantu Education Act was one of the apartheid government’s most offensively racist laws that saw black students receive a lower quality of education, and black schools being controlled by the government with little to no funding. On the 16th of June in 1976, approximately 10,000 students were mobilized by the South African Student Movement’s Action Committee (SASMAC), with the support of the Black Consciousness Movement, to demonstrate peacefully by marching to the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. This peaceful protest turned violent when the police opened fire on students, killing many students including Hector Pietersen, shot and killed by the police. The photograph in which Pietersen was carried to the local clinic by fellow student, Mbuyisa Makhubu, and his sister, Antoinette Sithole, taken by political photographer, Sam Nzima, became the symbol of the uprisings. This led to a country-wide revolt against the government, and this led to an international outcry against South Africa. 


3Investing in Innovation and Smart Digital Growth in Africa

Smart Digital Growth in Africa

The African Development Bank and its partners havelaunched the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), designed to aid safety and expansion of digital financial transactions in Africa. The Fund, launched at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Government of Luxembourg, as initial contributors. Bank Vice President Pierre Guislain, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, said the goal is to ensure that at least 320 million more Africans, of which nearly 60% are women, have access to digital financial services. The fund will deploy $100 million in grants and $300 million in the form of debt from the Bank’s ordinary capital resources by 2030, to scale up electronic financial services for low-income communities. The interventions will be aligned to four pillars; infrastructure, including digital and interoperable payment systems; digital products and innovation; policy and regulatory reform and harmonisation; and capacity building. It will help to close the transaction gender gap between men and women.


4Nigerian Children Used as Weapons

Nigerian Children

Three suicide bombers, two girls and a boy, killed 30 people and injured 39 others when they detonated explosives in Nigeria’s northeast. One of the bombers, detonated his explosive outside a cinema hall where soccer fans had gathered to watch a match on Sunday night in Konduga, a remote town in Borno State. At least 24 people died there according to the head of the rescue team of State emergency operations. A few kilometers from the hall, the girls, whose ages are unknown, blew themselves up and killed another six people and injured 17 others. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but Boko Haram terrorists have carried deadly attacks in Borno state, bombing mosques, markets and public places of gathering. Eight people died in a suicide bombing targeting worshippers in a mosque in Konduga in July 2018. The militant group has been known to recruit children kidnapped from towns and villages in northern Nigeria into their ranks to carry out suicide attacks.


5Possible Case of Ebola in Kenya

Ebola in Kenya

A Kenyan official says health experts are investigating a hospital patient who has Ebola-like symptoms. Kericho County spokesman Timothy Kimei issued a statement saying the patient is in isolation and the hospital in western Kenya took precautions to ensure minimal contact with staff. It is not clear where the patient came from. Kenyan media report she had visited her spouse at the Kenyan-Ugandan border. Uganda last week reported two deaths from Ebola that had spread from eastern Congo where the current outbreak has caused more than 1,400 deaths since August last year.  Kenya has never experienced an Ebola outbreak and some Kenyan doctors have expressed concern about the country’s preparedness to manage the deadly virus.


6A Week of No Internet in Ethiopia

No Internet in Ethiopia

Ethiopians are angry that the country’s text messaging service has been shut down since Thursday without any explanation. Internet blackouts, which began last Tuesday, are also still affecting many areas of the country. The state-run Ethio Telecom, the country’s only telecoms provider, has refused to comment on the outages. The closure of the services coincides with nationwide exams, which some say may be the reason for the shut down. The messaging app Telegram, which is popular among young Ethiopians, also remains inaccessible.  Besides the everyday inconvenience and frustration, it is having a bad effect on business. According to Neblocks, an organisation which monitors freedom of access to the internet, a one-day shutdown of the internet costs Ethiopia at least $4.5m. The outages a come at a time  when Ethiopia’s parliament approved a law to open up the telecommunications sector, allowing foreign operators access Africa’s second-most populous country. Control of information by the Ethiopian government has long been a contentious issue, so the opening up of the market will have ramifications on the economy and politics. At the moment Ethio Telecom provides voice, SMS and data services to more than 41 million customers – so there is scope to reach many more in a population of more than 100 million.


7Is History Repeating itself in Algeria?


While tens of thousands of Algerians have been gathering for four months in the capital to demand sweeping political reforms, former fighters who led the last confrontation with the establishment have been warning people not to rock the boat. In the 1990s, they drove an uprising against the military after it cancelled a landmark multiparty election that Islamists were poised to win. This time they say protests could bring a repeat of the chaos and bloodshed their actions unleashed. Some 200,000 people died in Algeria’s decade-long civil war, leaving many Algerians fearful of radical change now that longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has given into the pressure from the streets and stepped down.Following Bouteflika’s departure in April, the protesters have been pressing for the exit of the entire elite in control since the North African country’s independence from France in 1962 – the same cause the jihadists took up arms for in 1991.


8Duke of Sussex Reminds Leaders of their Debt to Angola

Debt to Angola

Prince Harry, has urged world governments to clear Angola of landmines, amplifying his late mother’s appeal. Princess Diana made landmine removal a focus of her humanitarian work, and drew the world’s attention to the Angolan situation after visiting Cuando Cubango province in January 1997. In a speech on Monday, Prince Harry reiterated the call to clear the southern African country of landmines, noting that the explosives do not only affect human lives, but also wildlife. Angola remains a hotbed of explosives which were laid in post-independence civil war. The situation has  left rural communities decimated, fearful and unable to make use of Angola’s natural gifts to produce food and income to thrive. The fear of landmines have rendered hundreds of thousands homeless in the southern African country, having been displaced during the civil war. Some 88,000 people in the country are estimated to be living with disabilities as a result of landmine injuries. The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has been deployed in Angola for years to rid the country of the deadly explosives. Over the last 10 years the organization has returned almost 10 million square metres of cleared land to Angolan communities and cleared roads and river banks.


9Egypt and Israel Settle the Score 

Egypt and Israel

Egypt reached a settlement agreement with state-owned Israel Electric Corp. to pay a reduced fine for halting deliveries of natural gas, ending a dispute that started about seven years ago. The accord signed June 16 cuts the fine to $500 million from $1.7 billion after reaching “an amicable agreement” out of a “keenness to avail an environment attractive to investment,” Egypt’s oil ministry said Sunday in an emailed statement. Israel Electric, the state-owned utility, had sued Egyptian state entities after Egypt broke a contract signed in 2005 to supply the fuel. Israeli officials at the time said the termination could damage peace accords between the two nations. Egypt ultimately canceled gas exports to Israel in 2012 after a section of a pipeline that connects the two countries was repeatedly attacked by militants and, with its own reserves dwindling, it diverted supplies for domestic use.


10Rising Temperatures Force Namibia’s Hand


Drought-hit Namibia has authorised the sale of at least 1,000 wild animals – including elephants and giraffes – to limit loss of life and generate US$1.1 million for conservation. “Given that this year is a drought year, the [environment] ministry would like to sell various type of game species from various protected areas to protect grazing and at the same time to also generate much needed funding for parks and wildlife management,” the environment ministry said in a statement. They include 600 disease-free buffalos, 150 springbok, 65 oryx, 60 giraffes, 35 eland, 28 elephants, 20 impala and 16 kudus – all from national parks. The authorities declared a national disaster last month, and the meteorological services in the southern African nation estimate that some parts of the country faced the deadliest drought in as many as 90 years.