Headlines from Africa

Categories // LA Focus, Top Stories Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Botswana: Continued efforts to shed its tax haven label have

proved to be fruitless for Botswana officials as the diamond-rich nation continues to be blacklisted as an uncooperative tax jurisdiction and thus excluded from the international business community.

Burundi: Burundi's parliament has passed a law imposing strict controls on international non-governmental organizations after President Pierre Nkurunziza accused such groups of backing an insurrection against him. The law will force international charities and rights groups to keep their accounts in foreign currency at the central bank, with a third of their annual budget to be placed there before the government agrees to cooperate with them.

Cameroon: Thousands of teachers and lawyers in English-speaking regions of Cameroon are on strike because they think the government is trying to marginalize them by imposing the French language on their schools and courts. The roughly five million

Cameroonians who speak English say their language and culture have been stifled for decades, adding that official documents are often only published in French.

Chad: Eight million people in Africa's Lake Chad basis face starvation and rates of child malnutrition have been described as 'terrifying' in a crisis aid agencies warn has been largely overlooked. The root of the problem is a disappearing Lake Chad, which has shrunk to a fraction of its size due to a variety of reasons including climatic phenomena, taking the regions biggest source of food with it.

Congo: The U.S. and European Union announced sanctions against nine Congolese officials accused of playing a role in the violent repression of recent years in the hopes of deterring further abuses and prompting President Kabila’s governing coalition to reach a deal with opponents that will pave the way for elections to take place as soon as possible.

The sanctions include travel restrictions and asset freezes.

Djibouti: Saudi plans to open a military base have raised concerns among Egyptian officials, as strained relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia show little sign of improving.

Ethiopia: Ethiopian authorities disclosed the release of some 9,800 people detained under six- month state of emergency during which anti-government protests were banned and restrictions placed on movement and on the use of social media and some conventional media. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the government was undergoing a period of self-examination following the crisis.

Ghana: In a surprise upset for incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, voters turned out strongly for opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who earned 54% of the vote and whose campaign for the presidency gave hope to thousands of jobless Ghanaians.

Kenya: Community leaders are breaking promises made just months ago to end the practice with public ceremonies celebrating female genital mutilation (FGM) going unchallenged by authorities in some areas of Kenya. Over the past month hundreds of girls have undergone FGM, while some witnessed groups of men (some armed) going door-to- door harassing the families of uncircumcised girls.

Lesotho: The Vodafone Foundation announced a mobile-based HIV program in Lesotho, where an estimated 23% of the population is HIV positive, many of whom live in extreme poverty in rural areas with no access to care. As many as 5,000 children under the age of 14 are estimated to be undiagnosed and living with HIV and their lives are therefore at immediate risk if they are not identified and put on treatment.

Mali: Malian and European Union officials signed a deal to expedite the return of migrants to the North African nation. Upwards of 10,000 Malian migrants have illegally entered Europe since 2015. The deal includes projects focused on cutting the tide of irregular migration from Mali and the creation of jobs for young Malians.

Rwanda: New technologies make Rwanda a frontrunner in enhancing regional trade. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report placed Rwanda at position 56 globally, making it the most attractive East African country to foreign investors.

Sierra Leone: A recent string of high-profile murders have raised serious questions about the ability of the Koroma government in running the country, as well as the capacity of the police in maintaining law and order in the capital Freetown.

Somalia: Somalia has decided to delay its presidential election for a fourth time amid allegations of fraud and intimidation and al-Shabab Islamic extremists opposed to Western-style democracy.

Uganda: Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has advised his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir to ensure early elections are held to give power to people in the war-torn nation. Aid workers say half-a- million refugees from volatile South Sudan continue to fill sprawling camps in northwestern Uganda.

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