Africa Top10 News

1Uncovering Uganda’s Dodgy Adoptions


A Ugandan mother who had her child taken through a fraudulent adoption has filed a petition to revoke the adoptees’ legal guardianship, in what her lawyers say is the country’s first legal case of its kind. She says her child was removed from her in 2013 after she was declared to be deceased in court documents. Her lawyer says all involved in the adoption case knew she was in fact alive and that a fake NGO engineered the adoption without her consent. The mother’s case is not unique – as outlined in an Al Jazeera Faultlines investigation, ‘Adoption Inc: The Baby Business’, Anna Cavell uncovered cases of fraud and exploitation in adoptions between Uganda to the US. In one case, two parents thought they were sending their children to boarding school – only for them to be legally adopted and sent to the United States without their knowledge and consent.


2Getting Sudan’s Economy Going

Sudan's Economy

France will host a conference with Sudan’s international creditors to help Khartoum address debt issues as soon as the United States removes the country from its state-sponsored terrorism list. In efforts to stabilize the country and to repair an economy battered by years of U.S. sanctions and government mismanagement during Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule, Sudanese transition government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is holding talks with Washington to see Sudan withdrawn from the list. Sudan has been unable to tap the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for support because the United States still lists the country as a state sponsor of terrorism.


3Prince Harry’s Baobab Campaign

Prince Harry

The Duke of Sussex curated a set of images of forest canopies each taken by National Geographic photographers, which went out to the publication’s 123 million followers. The idea was to highlight the importance of conservation while spotlighting the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy campaign, which will result in two national parks being created in South Africa, where Harry is touring. As part of the campaign, 50 countries have either dedicated indigenous forest for conservation or committed to planting millions of new trees to combat climate change.


4Zimbabwe Tightens the Noose


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday stopped operators of mobile-money services, the dominant way in which money is moved in the country, from paying out cash. It also tightened the spread at which dealers and bureaux de change can exchange the Zimbabwe dollar to between 3% and 5% from the official rate, down from a 7% spread imposed less than two weeks ago. On September 28 it banned the quoting of prices in foreign currency. Ecocash, a mobile-money service operated by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has 6.7 million active users in a nation of about 14 million people. It’s the first time since its introduction in 2011 that its users haven’t been able to use the so-called cash-back service. Econet is studying the directive and won’t comment on it yet, spokesman Fungayi Mandiveyi said by text message.


5Officials Hit the Brakes on Kenya’s Ride Hailing Buses


Safaricom-backed ‘Little’ and Cairo-headquartered ‘Swvl’ were operating under a tours license instead of a commuter service authorization, according to the director-general of the National Transport and Safety Authority, Francis Meja. The two companies, he also said, had “never contacted the authority to show any intention to operate as commuter service providers.” Swvl and Little Shuttle allowed riders to book a seat and board at specific hours in dozens of routes across the capital using clean and quality vehicles. Since launching pilot phases in January, both companies have quickly scaled their operations, with Swvl injecting $15 million into the Kenyan market in August. In Egypt, Swvl is facing off with Uber, which launched its first global bus service in Cairo last year and is working on plans to offer its bus system to Lagos.

6Getting to Know South Africa’s Biggest Township


Soweto, once the country’s largest black township, was a symbol of the united resistance to the racist apartheid regime and home to the anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Today, Soweto embodies the social and class divisions within South Africa’s black majority. It is a place of flashy cars and grand mansions, but also of shanty towns and high unemployment. Soweto is nevertheless a showcase for the progress that some black South Africans have made. In the 1980s, Sowetans refused to pay for services like electricity as part of a multipronged campaign against apartheid spearheaded by, among others, Cyril Ramaphosa, the current South African president. After the end of apartheid, this culture of nonpayment continued. Today, more than 80 percent of Sowetans do not pay for electricity.


7Bitcoin Not Welcome in Uganda


Uganda’s ministry of finance and the central bank have urged consumers not to use cryptocurrencies, saying the government does not recognise them as legal tender. Uganda has joined dozens of countries trying to deter people from buying things online with these digital currencies. Central banks around the world have expressed concerns about the increasing use of currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are created by a complex mathematical digital formula. Bitcoin in particular has fluctuated wildly in value. The Ugandan government has warned people that most cryptocurrencies are not backed by assets or government guarantees, which can make them worthless. The finance ministry has also warned cryptocurrency users in Uganda that they are not entitled to any consumer protection.


8Madagascar’s Juvenile Centres

Madagascar's Juvenile

Children accused of stealing vanilla beans in Madagascar can spend nearly three years in prison without trial. The island is the world’s largest producer of vanilla beans, where a booming industry has led to rising theft. But the conditions for child prisoners can be worrying, with some being given just one meal a day.


9Homecoming for Burundians Who Fled


Burundi said that a first group of its refugees in Tanzania would return home on Thursday, as a mass repatriation planned by the two governments begins.  Burundi and Tanzania agreed in August that repatriations of 200,000 Burundi refugees in Tanzania would start on Oct. 1, sparking fears of forced returns among some of those who crossed the border to escape violence. Hundreds of Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third, disputed term in office. Over the same period, more than 400,000 have fled abroad, predominantly to Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.


10Lagos was an Orderly Urban Environment 70 Years Ago


The foundations of orderliness for any city are planning and management. Lagos had this in place in the early days. Two developments added to pressures on the city. Its population burgeoned while infrastructure lagged behind. This period marked the beginning of the decline of planning for the city.The collapse of zoning all over Lagos also led to residential neighbourhoods such as Victoria Island and southwest Ikoyi being converted for commercial use. The military had no reasoned response to Lagos’ urban challenges. Instead, it took the decision in 1975 to establish a new capital in Abuja.