News Briefs: 05 May 2017

Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo to top global mining sector growth

The Democratic Republic of Congo will vie with Peru as the fastest growing mining market during the next five years according to BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Group.

BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Group, reports that the Democratic Republic of Congo will benefit from low labour costs, high ore grades and vast untapped resources that will attract foreign investment into some of its largest gold and copper deposits, particularly from China.

Mining Review

Democratic Republic of Congo returns militia leader’s body

The family had unsuccessfully been asking for the return of his body since last year.

The Interior Ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has returned the body of the leader of the Kamwina Nsapu militia, whose death last August sparked months of fighting leaving 400 people in Kasai Central province dead.

The Interior Ministry in a statement late Sunday said the Kamwina Nsapu militia, named after its late chief, had appointed Jacques Kabeya Ntumba as its new leader, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.

The Citizen


3 soldiers arrested in shooting death of Somalia minister

Three soldiers have been arrested in connection with the killing of a Somalia government minister near the presidential palace, police said on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Qaasim Ahmed confirmed the arrests as an investigation continued into the circumstances around the shooting, which appeared to be accidental.

Police have said bodyguards for Somalia’s auditor general Nur Farah shot dead the public works and reconstruction minister, Abbas Abdullahi, on Wednesday evening. The car carrying the minister had been trailing the car carrying the auditor general, promoting his bodyguards to open fire.


Aid worker kidnappings soar in famine-threatened Somalia

Kidnapping of aid workers and extortion at checkpoints are on the rise in Somalia, the United Nations said on Thursday, hindering efforts to prevent the country slipping into renewed famine.

In the first 27 days of April, 13 humanitarian workers were abducted, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update, the highest monthly figure since 2011.

“The affected personnel are all frontline responders,” it said, without giving further details.

Four aid workers carrying out vaccinations were kidnapped by al-Shabaab jihadist militants, who are fighting to topple the government, in early April, according to media reports.


Central African Republic

Dozens of Civilians Killed in Central African Republic – Report

Armed groups in Central African Republic have killed at least 45 civilians in apparent reprisal strikes over the past three months, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Tuesday.

The violence pitted armed groups against one another in the central province of Ouaka, which is at the border of the mainly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south of the country.

“As factions vie for power in the Central African Republic, civilians on all sides are exposed to their deadly attacks,” said Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at the US-based human rights watchdog.


Aid groups in Central African Republic retreat amid threats

The U.N. humanitarian aid coordinator says four international aid groups will temporarily withdraw their workers from parts of northern Central African Republic because of increasing attacks targeting them.

Spokesman Jens Laerke says the country is one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult for humanitarian work, particularly in the northern province of Ouham.

Speaking Friday to reporters in Geneva, Laerke declined to specify the international NGOs but said they would move to the capital, Bangui, because threats against aid workers “have reached a climax.”

FOX News


Rights group urges US to pressure Sudan on rights violations

Human Rights Watch is urging the United States to pressure Sudan to take tangible actions to improve its human rights record before the American administration permanently revokes trade sanctions imposed on the east African country.

The New York-based group warned Wednesday of continued rights violations by Sudan’s government. The State Department designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 and Washington later imposed sanctions on the Khartoum government.

Under a January executive order, the Obama administration temporarily lifted the sanctions; the decision becomes permanent unless State Department revokes it in mid-July.


Western diplomats discuss Sudan political developments with dialogue forces

Western diplomats in Khartoum held separate meetings with the Sudanese opposition forces participating in the national dialogue process on Thursday to discuss issues of peace and their participation in the upcoming National Consensus Government (NCG).

The Popular Congress Party (PCP)’s Secretary General, Ali al-Haj has received at his home in Khartoum, the German and British ambassadors, Canadian Chargé d’affaires in Khartoum, and the Political and Economic Adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, David Scott.

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan

UN Condemns ‘Callous’ Attack on Base in South Sudan

Unknown assailants attacked a UN operating base in northern South Sudan overnight, showing “callous disregard” for civilians and aid workers, the head of the UN mission said.

The assault in the town of Leer, which lies in an oil-producing region, was repelled by Ghanaian peacekeepers. There were no reported injuries.

The assailants’ identity was not clear. David Shearer, head of the UN mission, said the attack overnight from Wednesday into Thursday was launched from the direction of a nearby government-held town.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to respect the sanctity of UN premises,” Shearer said in a statement.


South Sudanese government releases U.N. aid worker detained for a month

South Sudan’s government has released a United Nations aid worker after detaining him for nearly a month, a top U.N. official said late on Thursday.

Other aid workers have been detained since civil war broke out in 2013 in South Sudan, which is increasingly split along ethnic lines, and at least 82 have been killed, including six in a single ambush last month.

In February, the U.N. declared parts of the country were suffering from famine, the world’s first in six years. This week the government announced it was hiking annual registration fees for international charities from $600 (463.82 pounds) to $3,500.

“We are relieved to learn that Peter Alex, a World Food Program aid worker detained by the Government of South Sudan since April 10, has finally been released and reunited with his family,” Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said.


Western Sahara

SA detains cargo ship after Western Sahara request

outh African authorities have detained a Moroccan cargo ship after Western Sahara’s Polisario Front independence movement obtained a court order to seize 54 000 tons of phosphate on board.

The seizure follows a European Union Court of Justice ruling in December that said EU agreements on closer ties and trade with Morocco should not apply to the disputed Western Sahara region. Morocco considers Western Sahara as its “southern provinces” after annexing the former Spanish colony in 1975.

The independence movement has seen the EU ruling as a victory, saying the people of Western Sahara must have a say in deals that include the exportation of the mineral-rich region’s resources


Morocco welcomes UN vote backing Western Sahara talks

Morocco on Saturday voiced satisfaction at a UN Security Council resolution endorsing a new peace initiative on the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

Friday’s vote came as UN military observers confirmed that Polisario Front forces, fighting for a breakaway Western Sahara, had withdrawn from the Guerguerat area near the Mauritanian border.

“This action should improve the prospects of creating an environment … to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said after the vote.

The Security Council also voted on Friday to renew the mandate of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara for a year.

“Morocco welcomes the resolution,” foreign minister Nasser Bourita said.

The Nation


Kingdom Faces LGBTI Rights Review

Swaziland’s discrimination against LGBTI people is being put under scrutiny by a United Nations group.

Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2004, which protects the rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people among others.

Now, after making no progress, Swaziland has been given a series of questions to answer by the ICCPR Human Rights Committee ahead of a review in July 2017.

ICCPR wants to know what measures in law and practice are in place ‘to protect persons from discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including in housing and employment, and to promote tolerance’.

Swaziland ‘is world’s most unequal country’, says report

The aid group Oxfam says that Africa has higher levels of poverty than previously thought because decades of economic growth have only benefited a small elite.

The report, which says that inequality stifles growth in Africa, was released at the World Economic Forum Africa which started in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban on Wednesday.

The report says Africa has seven of the 20 most unequal countries in the world and a further 250 to 350 million people could be living in extreme poverty within the next 15 years.



Zim’s protest pastor Mawarire set to rattle Mugabe… again

Zimbabwe clergy Evan Mawarire of #This Flag fame is bringing together social movements against President Robert Mugabe ahead of the 2018 polls amid increasing calls for opposition leaders to swiftly bring to finality a grand coalition.

Elections are tentatively set for July 2018 but the country’s opposition parties are still dithering on concluding coalition talks despite the main opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai signing  memorandum of agreements with other smaller parties, including Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party and Welshman Ncube’s political formation.

With the opposition still to conclude coalition talks, Mawarire’s move this week to bring together social movements, among them Tajamuka, is seen as nudging Mugabe’s nemesis closer.


Zimbabwe ‘not a poor country’: Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe insisted on Thursday that his country is not a failed state and accused the US of being fragile because of its economic dependence on China.

Mugabe pointed to Zimbabwe’s 90% literacy rate to support his claim that the southern African country, which has battled economic chaos in recent years, is one of the best resourced on the continent.

“We are not a poor country and we can’t be a fragile country, I can call America fragile, they went on their knees to China,” he said during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban.

“Zimbabwe is the most highly developed country in Africa after South Africa.”





Africa in General

Siemens partnerships for African progress

German technology conglomerate Siemens on Thursday entered into a partnership with Uganda, Ghana and Sudan to assist in the areas in power supply, transportation and healthcare.

Siemens said it hoped that the agreements – which were signed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Durban and witnessed by executives, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and German federal Minister of Economics and Energy Brigitte Zypries – would be worth more than a billion euros by 2020.

Siemens president and chief executive Joe Kaeser said that the agreements were important in unleashing the economic potential of the three countries.

Business Report

Zuma urges African youth to partake in Agenda 2063

outh African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday urged the continent’s youth to participate in the realisation of the African Union’s (AU’s) Agenda 2063, saying that it was in the youth’s hands to shape the future in which they wanted to live.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Durban, Zuma said young people needed to partake in all spheres of society, including politics, as he had done so himself by joining the struggle for freedom before he turned 20.

“It is absolutely important not to believe that for us to succeed, it is other people who must build. Th youth itself must participate, very seriously, to change the future for themselves together with the elders,” Zuma said. “The critical point is that you are able to identify the destination and commitment, and then work on what is the best vehicle or methods to achieve that would help you best shape the future.”

Zuma was fielding a question from a young Global Sharper from Mozambique who wanted to know how to speed up the ideals of Agenda 2063 and make youth partake in decision making processes because young people are impatient. Agenda 2063 is the AU’s strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years.

Business Report

South Africa second in African competitive ranking

South Africa might be reeling from junk status downgrades‚ but it could be worse. The country is still the second most competitive in Africa and in the Top 50 across the globe.

This was revealed during the release of the 2017 Africa Competitive Report at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban on Thursday. Mauritius was at the top of the pile when it came to competitive economies‚ with Rwanda‚ which is climbing fast up the rankings‚ in third.

Globally‚ South Africa has climbed from 56th to 47th position in two years – a rise that‚ according to the World Bank’s Barak Daniel Hoffman‚ is not insignificant. The competitive index looks at 12 “pillars”‚ ranging from strength of institutions through to quality of infrastructure‚ and from higher education and training through to innovation and labour market efficiency.