Africa – 1 December 2014

Namibia votes in Africa’s first electronic poll
The ruling South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo) is expected to win the poll and Prime Minister Hage Geingob to become president.

Opposition parties had challenged the Indian-made e-voting machines, citing concerns that a lack of a paper trail could encourage vote rigging.

But the case was dismissed by the country’s High Court this week.
About 1.2 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots at nearly 4,000 polling stations across the vast country.

Polling officers will verify voter cards on a device containing the national voters’ roll. In the booth, the voter selects their party of choice by pressing a button on an electronic ballot unit.

BBC News


Burkina Faso’s Isaac Zida dismisses African Union intervention

Burkina Faso’s interim leader has dismissed the African Union’s (AU) imposition of a two-week deadline to hand power to civilians.

However the AU says the deadline stands and has threatened sanctions if it is ignored. In response Lt Col Isaac Zida said, “we are not afraid of sanctions.”

The military agreed to hold elections next year but not on an interim leader.

It took power after President Blaise Compaore was forced to quit last week amid mass protests.
Following talks with opposition parties and civil society, Col Zida said the military “care[s] much more about stability” than the AU’s threats.

The AU’s deputy chairperson, Erastus Mwencha, told the BBC that the military was taking advantage of the indecision amongst Burkina Faso’s political parties about who should be the interim leader.

Mr Mwencha added that the parties should “try to reach consensus for the sake of the country”.
He said that if the AU was forced to impose sanctions on the military, the first would be to suspend Burkina Faso’s membership to the union.

BBC News


Germany provides funds to SADC for regional development

German Ambassador to Botswana and observer of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Rolf Ulrich on Thursday hailed the SADC as a valuable partner that will help improve the lives of many people in the region.
Speaking at the unveiling of a 26 million euro cash injection into SADC operations for the year 2014, ambassador Ulrich said Germany found it fit to align with SADC’s revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) so as to provide future direction.
The 26 million euro from Germany will cover areas including peace, security and good governance (3 million), trans-boundary use and protection of natural resources in the SADC region (8 million), regional fund for water supply and basic sanitation (10 million) as well as 5 million euros for the trans-frontier conservation area great Limpopo.
Part of the funds will also be used for SADC organizational capacity development. Within the various areas, increased importance will be given to support SADC’s priorities of industrial development and infrastructure in the region.
Shanghai Daily

Number of Ebola infections in west Africa passes 16,000
The number of people with Ebola in west Africa has risen above 16,000, with the death toll from the outbreak reaching almost 7,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
The number of deaths is more than 1,000 higher than the figure issued by the WHO just two days ago, but it is thought to include deaths that have gone unreported in the weeks or months since the outbreak began. Most of the new deaths were recorded in Liberia.
The WHO has warned that its figures could be a significant underestimation of the number of infections and deaths. Data from the outbreak has been patchy and the totals often rise considerably when backlogs of information are cleared. The latest confirmed data shows that almost half those known to have been infected with Ebola have died.
The Guardian


Africa Hopes Lima Meeting Will Re-Energize Climate Change Talks

At the upcoming UN climate change meeting in Lima (COP 20), African groups are hoping that progress can be made towards the goal of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
COP 20 – the acronym for the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – begins in Lima, Peru, on December 1, 2014. It is seen by environmental experts as a crucial springboard to COP 21 in Paris a year later, where it is hoped a binding and universal agreement on limiting the effects of climate change can be reached.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has been working to increase awareness across the continent of the importance of the Lima meeting. PACJA brings together a number of civil society organizations advocating for climate justice in Africa. Success in increasing awareness “goes a long way to influence a common African position in the climate talks,” PAJCA secretary general Mithika Mwenda told DW.
Another group, the African Group of Negotiators, which represents the continent at international climate talks, has also been calling for fair treatment from the international community to make the fight against climate change more effective in Africa.
All Africa