CAR – 25 August 2015

The United Nations Security Council Committee concerning the Central African Republic (CAR) has imposed sanctions against the CAR’s diamond trading company and its Belgian branch, along with three individuals who have been deemed by the Council to be linked to the ongoing conflict in the CAR. The sanctioned diamond trading company is detailed in the Security Council announcement as Bureau d’achat de Diamant en Centrafrique (BADICA), also known as Kardiam, which is reportedly BADICA’s Belgium-based representative company.
Operating under Security Council Resolution 2196 (2015), paragraphs 4 and 7, the sanctions specifically declare all the company’s assets to be frozen.
Diamonds Intelligence

U.S. Imposes Sanctions Tied to Conflict in Central African Republic
The U.S. imposed a round of sanctions on militia leaders it says are responsible for violence in Central African Republic, as well as on two companies that are allegedly facilitating trade in blood diamonds.
The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said Friday it targeted Alfred Yekatom and Habib Soussou, leaders of Anti-Balaka armed groups, and Oumar Younous, a leader of the Seleka armed group. Treasury also targeted Badica, one of the largest diamond companies in the Central African Republic, and Kardiam, its branch in Antwerp, Belgium.
Wall Street Journal



Mozambique’s new Penal Code, which came into effect in June this year after being approved by the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, last year, is a welcome step forward towards a country free from discrimination that the founders of the nation dreamed and fought for. Continue reading

SALO is deeply saddened by the passing of solidarity activist and regular workshop participant, Mr. Patrick Baleka

Mr. Baleka was an activist and internationalist, in solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world. He was very involved in solidarity movements such as the “Free the Cuban 5” campaign, and served as the coordinator of the Western Sahara Solidarity Forum (South Africa).
Prior to this, Mr. Baleka dedicated his youth to the struggle for freedom in South Africa. He was one of 21 fellow freedom fighters accused in the Delmas Treason trial during the apartheid era.
SALO sends condolences to Mr. Baleka’s family, friends, comrades of the ANC alliance movement and fellow activists. His insightful participation in our dialogue workshops will be missed.
A memorial service will be held for Mr. Baleka on the 22nd July, 2pm at Johannesburg City Hall

Africa – 16 July 2015

Groups press Obama to meet activists on Africa trip
Washington – More than 50 African and global human rights groups on Tuesday called on US President Barack Obama to publicly meet democracy activists when he visits Ethiopia and Kenya later this month.
In a letter delivered to the White House, groups welcomed Obama’s planned visit but voiced concerns about “grave and worsening human rights challenges” in his host countries.

WHO calls for African emergency centre
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a central national emergency operations centre to be established that will be on stand-by to deal with future disease outbreaks and related emergencies.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, made the call when addressing a meeting of about 200 high-level experts from governments, development agencies, civil society and international organisations at the Building Health Security Beyond Ebola conference at the Westin Hotel in Cape Town yesterday.

1000 African Entrepreneurs Gather In Nigeria For Tony Elumelu Foundation Boot Camp
1000 entrepreneurs from across Africa gathered in Ota, Southwest Nigeria, between Friday and Saturday for an intensive two-day boot camp hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The 1000 entrepreneurs were all part of the inaugural class of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), a multi-year programme of training, funding, and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs traveled from across Africa – from Lusaka to Lomé and Cape Town to Casablanca for the event which was one of the largest gatherings of African entrepreneurs in recent times.

The most powerful African you’ve never heard of
Dr Ayo Ajayi is probably the most important African that you’ve never heard of. The genial Nigerian physician is head of the Africa Team at the Gates Foundation, which puts him in charge of the Foundation’s work on policy, advocacy and government relations on the continent.
What’s so special about that, you might think – sounds like typical NGO fluff.
But this isn’t any old NGO. The Gates Foundation has an annual budget of $5 billion, most of which goes to developing countries – and most of these are in Africa. To put that in perspective: if the Foundation were a country, its budget would be only marginally less than Ethiopia’s, a country of 94.1 million people; and considerably more than the likes of Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.
Daily Mavericks

Swaziland – 16 July 2015

No Let Up in Call for Democracy
The Commonwealth is to continue to pressure Swaziland to democratise and allow political parties to contest elections in the kingdom.
It is also urging a review of the kingdom’s constitution to ensure that the country meets international standards of democracy.
This was confirmed during a week-long visit by a Commonwealth mission to Swaziland.

Swaziland frees opposition politicians after a year
SWAZILAND on Tuesday freed two prominent opposition politicians arrested over a year ago for allegedly calling for the overthrow of absolute monarch King Mswati III, rights activists said.
Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini were detained shortly after criticising the king and the government during a May Day rally organised last year by anti-monarchist trade unions.

Zimbabwe – 16 July 2015

Zimbabwe govt, municipalities have $3mln locked up in collapsed Allied Bank
Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped government is set to lose nearly $600,000 which is locked up in Allied Bank — majority owned by transport minister Obert Mpofu — while municipals and other state departments are owed over $2,5 million following its collapse early this year, with chances of recovering all the money slim, The Source has established.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in January cancelled the bank’s operating licence as it was no longer in a safe a sound condition.
According to the bank liquidator’s interim report, the financial institution collapsed due to, among other factors, negative core capital, illiquid toxic assets, management shortcomings, gross undercapitalisation, persistent losses, abuse of depositors’ funds, high volume of non-performing loans and bad corporate governance.
The Independent

Zimbabwe Is Proposing to Return a Select Number of Farms to White Landowners
The decision comes 15 years after the state encouraged violent seizures of white-owned properties. A decade and a half after the Zimbabwean government seized large swaths of land from white farmers in the country, President Robert Mugabe has tentatively declared that he will return certain properties to their original owners.
Under the suggested policy, the leaders of the country’s 10 provinces will draft a list of farms in their respective districts that they deem to be “of strategic economic importance,” the Zimbabwe Mail reports. The government will also establish a European Union–backed commission to evaluate the landgrab practices commenced in 2000, which were frequently violent.

Zim has lost 20 yrs – Mnangagwa
VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has conceded that Zimbabwe has fallen far behind other countries in terms of development, saying the government needs to swallow its pride and review some controversial economic policies to attract foreign investment.
Speaking in an interview with CCTV, the Chinese national television broadcaster, last week during his week-long visit to the Asian country, Mnangagwa said government will have to literally “bite the bullet” for the country to catch up with its African peers.
He said the Zanu PF government was “working on a massive reform process,” including social and legislative frameworks, “to bring Zimbabwe back to the table of nations”.
News Day

Madagascar – 16 July 2015

UN dismisses Captain Kidd ‘treasure’ find in Madagascar
50kg (7st 9lb) bar of “silver treasure” recovered from the sea was in fact 95% lead, the UN statement said.
It was presented to Madagascar’s president at a special ceremony in May.
The wreckage that the ingot was found in was not that of the ship captained by notorious Scottish pirate William Kidd, the UN investigators added.

Madagascar wants more foreign firms to compete with state airline
Madagascar has held talks with foreign companies to introduce new air routes to the Indian Ocean island and is open to allowing foreign companies to compete with state-run Air Madagascar on domestic routes, the tourism minister said.
A four-week strike by Air Madagascar employees has hit the island nation’s tourism sector, emptying beaches and tropical rainforests of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of rare lemurs or flora and fauna unique to the island nation.

IMF cuts Madagascar 2015 growth forecast, says output may fall further
The International Monetary Fund said it had trimmed Madagascar’s 2015 growth forecast to 3.5 percent from 5 percent, citing poor weather and falling commodity prices and warned output may be even lower due to a strike at state-owned Air Madagascar.
Patrick Imam, the IMF’s Madagascar country representative, told Reuters the economy of mineral-rich Madagascar had been badly hit by extreme weather, including cyclones and droughts, and a decline in commodity prices on global markets.

Western Sahara – 16 July 2015

Referendum Will Solve Impasse Over Western Sahara – Algerian Ambassador
Algeria strongly believes that there is no other alternative for the settlement of this conflict than the holding of a free and fair referendum of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara, said Algeria ambassador in Kenya, Saad Mandi.
In an interview posted today by kenyan daily The Star, Mr Mandi said “Algeria continues to support the UN secretary general and his personal envoy, Chris Ross, in their efforts to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution which provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in accordance with the UN Charter and relevant resolutions. Algeria strongly believes that there is no other alternative for the settlement of this conflict than the holding of a free and fair referendum of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara”.

Sahrawis continue to denounce the EU- Moroccan fisheries Agreement
The national campaign “No to Plunder of Natural Resources of Western Sahara” Launched campaign on social networking sites against the joint Eu- Moroccan fisheries Agreement after two years of its signing to reach the Saharawi people’s rejection of such illegal activities and to shed light on this injustice to make media pressure on Morocco.
The mentioned agreement has entered into force on this day last year after the European Parliament ratified it in 2013, the Polisario Front, the sole legitimate representative of the Saharawi people has rejected it at the time as well as several European countries.
Saharan Press Service

WSRW Condemns San Leon’s Exploration Plannings in Western Sahara
Western Sahara Resource Watch has condamned San Leon’s drilling oil exploration operations the UK/Irish company San Leon is planning to do in the areas of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco.
“Western Sahara Resource Watch condems San Leon’s operations. We expect more from a UK/Irish company than a blind support to the occupation of this territory. San Leon needs to take into account the wishes of the people of Western Sahara and start respecting international law. It must immediately withdraw from this operation. San Leon fundamentally undermines the UN peace process in the territory”, said Erik Hagen, a campaigner in Western Sahara Resource Watch, in a statement posted yesterday by the association site.

South Sudan – 16 July 2015

UN Security Council renews mandate of peacekeeping force in Abyei
The UN Security Council on Tuesday extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Abyei — a contested region bordering Sudan and South Sudan — for five months, until Dec. 15.
The extension means that the 4,090 United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) peacekeeping personnel will continue to protect civilians in the resource-rich region, which straddles Sudan and South Sudan.
The UNISFA mission was established by a security council resolution on June 27, 2011 in response to concerns about violence, escalating tensions and population displacement in the weeks before South Sudan became independent from Sudan. The renewal is an extension of UNISFA’s current mandate which expires on July 15, 2015.
Shanghai Daily

South Sudan beefs up security in Juba ahead of new cabinet
The South Sudanese capital, Juba on Tuesday an unusually heavy deployment of joint security forces on major streets and surrounding areas, allegedly in preparation for the announcement by president Salva Kiir of new cabinet members
The unexpected move comes a day after president Kiir held a meeting with state governors and members of his ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.
Officers drawn from all police units as well as the army, predominantly members of the presidential guard division as well as plain-clothed security forces could be seen patrolling the streets of the country’s capital and surrounding areas within town.
Sudan Tribune