Africa Top10 News

1Egypt Goes after Christie’s for Auction of Its Relic

Tutankhamun bust

The country has instructed a law firm in the UK to file a civil suit over the sale last week of a Tutankhamun bust. The sculpture of the pharaoh was bought for $6m at Christie’s auction house in London, despite Egypt warning it was probably stolen in the 1970s. Christie’s said all necessary checks were made over the bust’s provenance, and that its sale was legal and valid. It stated that Germany’s Prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis reputedly had it in his collection by the 1960s, and that it was acquired by an Austrian dealer in 1973-4. The Egyptian National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation expressed its “deep discontent of the unprofessional way in which the Egyptian artefacts were sold without the provision of the ownership documents and proof that that the artefacts left Egypt in a legitimate manner”. The 3,000-year-old, brown quartzite bust was part of a statue of the God Amun, the most important deity of the New Kingdom, according to Christie’s. The auction house said the facial features were the same as those of the young pharaoh, who ruled between 1333 and 1323BC.SOURCE: BBC

2Addis Ababa Joins Growing List of African Cities Banning Motorcycles

Banning Motorcycles

Explaining the ban, which took effect on 7 July, Addis mayor Takele Uma said it was designed to curb crime. Takele said the Ethiopian city had found that an unusually high number of violent crimes were committed using motorcycles. The ban does not affect “those conducting licensed businesses with motorcycles and those who use motorcycles as postal carriers and motorcycles used by diplomatic missions”. For commuters in Addis Ababa, the ban adds to the transportation problems the capital already suffers. Africa’s second-most populous country is also one of the least motorised countries in the world – the number of cars in the country of 100 million people is estimated at fewer than 1m, most of them in the capital. The country only produces 8,000 commercial and private vehicles a year, which does not satisfy demand. Known as boda boda in East Africa, okada in Nigeria and taxi-motos in francophone Africa, informal motorcycle taxis have taken up the slack from strained or non-existent public transport systems as urban populations grow. A nifty solution for Africans on the move, they represent a new headache for city administrators.SOURCE: THE AFRICA REPORT

3Time To Completely Ban Canned Lion Hunting In Africa

Ban Canned Lion Hunting

The lion population is dropping rapidly throughout Africa. A century ago, around 200,000 lions roamed the continent, and now there are a mere 25,000 left. At this rate by 2119, there may be none left. About 200 facilities across South Africa breed lions for canned hunting, and as many as 6,000 lions are stockpiled for hunters. South Africa is considered the top destination for canned lion hunting and international animal welfare organization, Network for Animals (NFA), has urgently called for South African decision makers to address the legislative gaps around this cruel practice. Canned lion hunting is illegal in South Africa, but captive-bred lion hunting is allowed. Lions are bred in captivity and held in small enclosures until they are shot and killed.  NFA’s chief campaigner David Barritt said there was a fine line between the two – and regulations differ by province, creating confusion that canned lion hunters take advantage of.


4Satellite Images of How African Cities have Grown

African Cities have Grown

The head of the new cities lab at McGill University has documented more than 100 cities that have sprung up across Asia and Africa since the early 2000s for her forthcoming Atlas of New Cities. There’s Eko Atlantic, a “new Dubai” taking shape on reclaimed land off the coast of Nigeria, and Forest City, a “new Singapore” being built just over the Johor Strait from the original. There’s the New Silk Road city of Khorgos rising from the barren steppe that separates Kazakhstan and China, the “sustainable city” of Neom in Saudi Arabia, the Norman Foster-designed Masdar in Abu Dhabi, a few in Latin America … and even a Robotic New City in Malaysia. The city of New Cairo – in the desert 20 miles to the east of its namesake – was conceived in the late 1990s and established by presidential decree in 2000. Not to be confused with the as-yet-unnamed new administrative capital proposed by president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in 2014 (another 20 miles east and dubbed the “new New Cairo”), the original New Cairo was meant to attract a population of 5 million. A few hundred-thousand currently call it home. SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

5Lakin Ogunbanwo’s Series Captures Nigerian Weddings

Lakin Ogunbanwo

Ogunbanwo, who is from Lagos, said. Through this series, which means “come look at me,” the photographer reflects on the nuance of identity — that of the brides and his home country. The exhibit was recently on view at the Whatiftheworld gallery in Cape Town. Weddings in Nigeria have swelled into a thriving industry, with massive guest lists and color-coordinated wedding parties. A wedding is “very loud, very grand, and it’s a huge celebration,” where families and communities come together, Ogunbanwo said. Often there are two ceremonies, one with more traditional attire and ceremonies, and another more akin to Western nuptials. Ogunbanwo points out that all of the ceremonial pomp reinforces an expectation of femininity, one that supersedes the brides’ individuality. And while the women in Ogunbanwo’s portraits are feminine, they are also self-possessed, idiosyncratic, and queenly. The photographer looked to Renaissance-era paintings of royal women for inspiration in mood, gesture, and lighting. SOURCE: CNN

6The Rains Bring a Deadly Disease to Nigeria’s Crops

Nigeria's Crops

Nigeria’s 2019-20 cocoa crop is threatened by an attack of the fungal black-pod disease due to the wetness created by persistent rains in the main cocoa-growing areas. The disease makes pods shrivel and trees wither, and has been reported in most farms in the southeastern cocoa belt around the cocoa-trading center. This region accounts for about 30% of Nigeria’s cocoa, with the rest coming from the southwest, the main growing area, with Akure as its main trading hub. Nigeria is the world’s fifth-biggest producer of cocoa with output estimated at 245,000 tons for the 2018-19 season by the International Cocoa Organization. The country’s cocoa season comprises the main crop harvested from October to March and the smaller midcrop that runs from April to June.SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

7The Northern Cape is the Future of South African Mining

South African Mining

After being laid off from her job as a quarry manager in South Africa, Shirley Hayes struck a deal with the owner of the nearby Blesberg mine: She would rehabilitate the abandoned site for free, and he would buy back whatever minerals she was able to extract. Fast-forward 20 years and Hayes’ company, SHiP Copper, is finalizing exploration on an 89,000-acre concession she was granted in 2009. Within two years, she plans to begin production on the first of 10 mines, which SHiP will operate using an innovative cluster mining model, bringing all ore to a central processing plant to reduce costs. The mines — which could generate up to $30 million in annual profits for around 70 years — will breathe new life into an underpopulated and overlooked region where centuries of mixed fortunes have been tied to mining. SHiP has not processed an ounce of copper yet, but already Hayes has become the darling of women’s empowerment in a male-dominated industry. Not that the glove always fits. “I am passionate about women,” she says, “but I’m even more passionate about every person who wants to go from rags to riches.”SOURCE: OZY

8Lessons Sudan Can Learn from Egypt


In this episode of Al Jazeera’s ‘The Stream’, Sudanese and Egyptian activists to break down the similarities, and differences, between their respective revolutions. A path to democracy could now exist in Sudan after a power-sharing agreement was reached on Friday between the ruling Transitional Military Council and opposition leaders. The deal was welcomed as progress by both sides. Some pro-democracy activists, though, remain sceptical of the military’s intentions, drawing comparisons to the 2011 Egyptian revolution in which the late Mohamed Morsi – that country’s first democratically-elected president – was overthrown in a coup. Some Sudanese activists view the outcome of the Egyptian uprising as a cautionary tale, and many protesters in the streets of Khartoum chanted “Victory or Egypt” after the removal of longtime President Omar al-Bashir.SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

9Africa Launches the World’s Largest Free Trade Zone

Africa Free Trade Zone

After months of reluctance over competition concerns, Nigeria’s support gives weight to a 55-nation bloc worth $3.4 trillion. Intra-African trade makes up only 17% of exports, which are hampered by poor infrastructure, taxes, bureaucracy and corruption. The trade pact aims to boost cross-border trade by reducing or eliminating duties and red tape. To help lower costs, the AU launched a pan-African payment system at the summit in Niger’s capital. African exporters want the free trade area to quickly enter into force to eliminate barriers and create free movement between states. Despite the African free trade area’s launch, much work remains before the agreement becomes effective. While all of the African Union’s 55 members except Eritrea have signed on to the free trade area, only half have ratified the deal. And even after costs are reduced, Africa’s exporters still will have to contend with non-tariff barriers that will take much longer to fix — such as corruption and poor transport links between nations. SOURCE: VOA

10Covering the Congo Beat

Congolese driver Pierre Mambele is seen at an unidentified location in the Democratic Republic of Congo in this photo taken December 25, 2002. Picture taken December 25, 2002. REUTERS/Mark Dummett

Pierre Mambele was never credited with telling the story of Congo’s never-ending crises. But the news would often have gone unheard without him. For successive Reuters reporters in Kinshasa and for other journalists flying in to cover the latest calamity, Mambele was a driver, a guide, a fearless protector and – above all – a loyal friend. He died on June 8, aged 74. An institution for foreign media, Mambele played a unique part in shaping coverage from the Democratic Republic of Congo, starting under the rule of late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko when the country was known as Zaire. Mambele epitomised those unseen drivers, fixers and translators whose work – often at personal risk – is critical to reporting the news from the toughest places on earth. When Mambele became a driver in 1974, the country was enjoying a rare high. Zaire had won Africa’s soccer cup and was hosting The Rumble in the Jungle – a historic boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. Reuters describes Mambele as much more than a driver. He always kept an ear out for breaking news and for nuggets of truth in Kinshasa’s endless rumours. Mambele never hesitated to suggest ideas for stories he thought needed telling and the best people to speak to.SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA