Africa Top10 News

1Africa’s Biggest Soccer Fiesta Reminds Us How Difficult it is for Africans to Travel in Africa

African Cup of Nations

Millions of African soccer fans dream of being at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to support their national teams, but not everyone can afford to do so. As it turns out, even those who can afford it are constrained by the infamous difficulties Africans face when they travel within the continent as Nigerian soccer fans and journalists are finding out with visa applications to travel to Egypt, host nation of AFCON. In fairness, governments across Africa are attempting to ease travel restrictions across the continent, agreeing to both a Continental Free Trade Agreement and a Single Air Transport Market over the past 18 months. Countries like Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia and Namibia have also relaxed their visa rules for Africans but, regardless, achieving full Africa-wide integration remains a work in progress as a majority of Africans still require visas to travel across most of the continent.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

2South Africa Stuck in Longest Business-Cycle Slump Since 1945

Business-Cycle Slump

The economy entered the 67th month of a weakening cycle in June, according to the Reserve Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin released Thursday in the capital, Pretoria. That’s after gross domestic product contracted the most in a decade in the three months through March. Africa’s most-industrialized economy went through a recession in 2018 and it shrank again in the first quarter of this year as the nation suffered the worst power outages since 2008. The Reserve Bank forecasts the economy, which hasn’t expanded at more than 2% since 2013, will only achieve 1% growth this year. The central bank monitors about 200 indicators representing economic processes such as production, sales, employment and prices to determine the direction of the trend.SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

3Mass Arrests in Ethiopia After Coup Bid

Mass Arrests in Ethiopia

Ethiopian security forces on Thursday rounded up scores of suspects believed to have links to a coup bid in northern Amhara state and the murder of the army chief in attacks which have highlighted the political crisis in the nation. “In Addis Ababa alone, 56 of our members and sympathisers have been arrested while dozens other NaMA (National Amhara Movement) sympathisers and members in Oromia have also been arrested,” said party spokesman Christian Tadele. The violence is seen as a backlash to Abiy’s efforts to lead democratic reforms in Africa’s second-most populous nation. Observers say the prime minister’s breakneck reforms have severely weakened the unity of the once all-powerful EPRDF. Internet services were partially restored across Ethiopia on Thursday after a near-total blackout for the past five days.SOURCE: YAHOO NEWS / AFP

4Tunisia President in ‘Critical Condition’, Attacks Rock Capital

President Beji Caid Essebsi

Double suicide attacks shook Tunisia’s capital Thursday. The violence revived fears for the stability of the North African state, which is seen as a rare democratic success story of the Arab Spring uprisings but has been hit by repeated Islamist attacks. Just hours after news of the attacks broke, the presidency announced that President Beji Caid Essebsi “was taken seriously ill and transferred to the military hospital in Tunis”. Key adviser Firas Guefrech described the 92-year-old leader as in “critical condition” and in a later tweet said that Essebsi was “stable”, urging supporters to pray for his recovery.  There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. SOURCE: AFP

5Kenyan Court Blocks Coal Project Near World Heritage Site

Kenyan Coal Project

Residents and environmentalists cheered Wednesday’s ruling which blocks East Africa’s first coal-fired power station. The National Environment Tribunal (NET) cancelled an environmental impact assessment licence for the Lamu coal project, ruling that “the circumstances under which it was issued were flawed.” The project is East Africa’s first coal-fired power station. “This is a huge win for the environment, for the people of Kenya and most especially for the people of Lamu,” said Hussein Khalid, Executive Director for Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), a civil society organisation based in the coastal region of Kenya. The revoked license had been issued to Amu Power Company, a consortium of Kenyan firms Centum Investment Plc and Gulf Energy Ltd as well as international backers.SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

6Gambia’s Jammeh ‘Handpicked’ Women for Rape, Abuse

Gambia's Jammeh

Rights groups accuse former longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh of committing a string of sexual offences while in office.  Jammeh’s administration was notorious for its brutality and corruption, but this is the first time that sexual abuse of women was extensively and publicly documented. “Yahya Jammeh treated Gambian women like his personal property,” said Reed Brody, HRW’s legal counsel. The investigation was based on evidence from four women, eight former Gambian officials, and several other witnesses, the rights groups said.  Jammeh had “protocol girls” who were required to be on call to provide him with sex. The findings also allege as an inducement, Jammeh would lavish gifts on them, provide support for their impoverished families, or offer a scholarship to study abroad. “These admirable women broke the culture of silence. It is now crucial that the TRRC and the government give them a path to redress and justice,” said Marion Volkmann-Brandau, who led the research.SOURCE: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

7Many Killed in Madagascar Stadium Stampede

Madagascar Stadium Stampede

A stampede at a stadium during Madagascar’s independence day celebrations killed 16 people and left 101 people injured. The incident happened at the entrance of the stadium as the crowd jostled to get through the gate at the Mahamasina stadium in the capital Antananarivo. “The gate was not large enough for the crowd,” said General Richard Ravalomanana. The president wished the wounded a speedy recovery and announced his government would foot the hospital bill for those injured. Wednesday’s tragedy is the second to occur at the stadium in the capital, and has cast a shadow over events marking the country’s 59 years of independence from France.

SOURCE: CNN

8Sudan Police Fire Tear Gas as Students Protest Near Palace

Sudan Police

Sudanese riot police Thursday fired tear gas at scores of students who rallied against the ruling generals near the presidential palace in downtown Khartoum, witnesses said. Protesters have been staging sporadic and scattered demonstrations in recent days in the capital ahead of mass rallies called by protest leaders on June 30 against the generals. Chanting “freedom, peace, justice”, the catchcry of the protest movement that brought down Bashir, about 300 students stepped out of their banking college in downtown Khartoum and held a spontaneous protest, witnesses said. Riot police swiftly arrived and fired tear gas at the demonstration. The umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, has called for mass rallies in Khartoum and other cities on June 30.SOURCE: DAILY NATION

9South Africa’s First Carbon Farm

South Africa’s First Carbon Farm

Land restoration could attract large private investments in the fight against climate change over the coming decades. Spekboom forests can act as ‘natural water dams’: in mountainous areas, the trees can grow even on steep slopes, and when rare rainfall occurs in the semi-arid regions of the Eastern Cape, they suck up all the moisture quickly, and can store if for months. Spekboom forests can serve as grazing and browsing areas of last resort for wildlife and livestock, even when all else has withered in a drought. Spekboom trees also absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere faster than most other trees in dry conditions. The goal is to restore an area of thicket of over one million hectares, almost 200 times the size of Manhattan. There is potential to plant more than 2 billion tree cuttings across this immense landscape, providing work and income for thousands of people, for several years. The South African Government sees thicket restoration as one of the low-hanging fruits for the achievement of national climate and biodiversity goals, and recognizes that private investments are key. SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

10Uber Aiming for Expansion in Fast-Growing West African Markets

Uber West Africa

Global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc is in talks with regulators over plans to expand into two West African countries and provide a boat service in Nigerian megacity Lagos, a company executive said on Thursday. Uber, which said it has 36,000 active drivers in sub-Saharan Africa, operates in a number of countries in East and South Africa but is largely absent from West Africa, aside from Nigeria and Ghana. The firm has identified the region as a target for potential expansion, said Chief Business Officer Brooks Entwistle. He said the company was in talks with regulators in Ivory Coast and Senegal regarding the possible launch of services. Uber faces stiff competition in African cities from Estonian ride-hailing firm Bolt, which until early 2019 was called Taxify. Bolt has grabbed business largely by taking a smaller cut from drivers using its app.SOURCE:  CNBC AFRICA