– NEWS –
Bomb kills two in Alexandria ahead of Egypt presidential vote: The election in Egypt is being overshadowed by terrorism. Two policemen were killed in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in a bomb attack on Saturday that targeted the local security chief two days before the presidential election. Five other people were wounded by the bomb, which was left under a car and blew up as police Major General Mostafa al-Nemr drove past, the Interior Ministry said. Nemr was not hurt and said later he would not be deterred from doing his duty in safeguarding the vote. The government condemned the attack and suggested it would not affect the election in which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is set to win a second term. All credible opponents dropped out in January, citing intimidation by the authorities after the main challenger was jailed.
African countries agree free trade agreement: The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been signed by 44 African countries at a summit of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda. The summit was a step forward for the African Union’s (AU) 2063 project for closer African integration, with 27 member states also signing a commitment for the free movement of persons. The AfCFTA has the potential to bring over 1.2bn people together into the same market. The bloc of 55 nations would be the largest in the world by member states. By reducing barriers to trade, such as removing import duties and non-tariff barriers, African countries hope to boost intra-continental business. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said free trade and freedom of movement would result in prosperity for all Africans, as goods with added value and Made in Africa services were prioritized.
Deforestation in Africa: According to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Africa has lost 12 percent of its forests since 1990, or about 860,000 square kilometers. Nigeria, where 60 percent of the forest was cut down, is especially affected. Nearly 2.4 square kilometers of forest have been destroyed worldwide since 1990. The main reason for global deforestation is industrial agriculture. Above all, livestock and the cultivation of soy and palm oil in huge monocultures devour ever larger areas.
Germany extends Sudan deployment: The German government wants to expand and adapt its foreign military missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Mali, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet agreed on Wednesday. The German parliament will have the final say, as it does on all of Germany’s military operations. Germany also is planning for a year-long extension of the Bundeswehr’s contribution to the UN mission in Darfur, South Sudan, and its contribution to the Nato Sea Guardian mission in the Mediterranean, which is supposed to secure shipping routes.
Sarkozy detained over alleged Libyan campaign financing: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was taken into police custody to be questioned about allegations that part of his victorious 2007 campaign was illegally financed by Libya’s then-government. Sarkozy has always denied the allegations, saying there is a lack of credible evidence against him and alleging that the Libyans now denouncing him were motivated by revenge after he helped lead the 2011 western intervention in Libya that deposed then-leader Muammar Gaddafi. The claims first surfaced in 2014, the result of an interview recorded with Gadaffi three-years’ earlier. According to judicial sources, the decision to take Sarkozy into custody may indicate that judges have made inroads in their almost five-year investigation.
African leaders debate economic, social and environmental development at Crans Montana Forum euronews.com
20 Boko Haram fighters killed in Chad derstandard.at
Google is making good on its promise to bet more on African startups and developers qz.com
– BACKGROUND –
Industry vs. small-scale farming in Mozambique: 80 percent of people in Mozambique make their living off of agriculture. Most of them are small farmers that are only growing for their own consumption. Around 1.5 million people in Mozambique face the threat of starvation because droughts and floods endanger crops. There are currently several different approaches to tackling hunger. Monsanto sees genetically modified maize as the answer, and the company is being supported by the Gates Foundation and many governments. International large-scale projects are aimed at industrializing agriculture. “The farmers are the ones who grow the food. They need support and investments, their voices have to be heard”, said Luis Muchanga of the small farmers organization Uniao Nacional de Camponeses.
Train of the future: Public transport is in short supply in the metropolises of the southern Sahara. Residents either walk or squeeze themselves into overcrowded minibuses. According to an analysis by the World Bank, the lack of mobility means that economic growth is inhibited and that the economic power of the metropolises cannot develop. At the same time the population is growing. By 2040, it will have doubled to around a billion city dwellers. In Addis Ababa, a 756-km railway connects landlocked Ethiopia to its neighboring Red Sea nation of Djibouti. The railway, contracted by two Chinese companies China Railway Group and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, is currently managed by a consortium of Chinese companies for a period of six years. The tram is almost too successful: At peak times, 500 guests occupy a train that is designed for 370 passengers. More than 150,000 people are transported each day.
Last male Sudan dies in Kenya: The world’s last surviving male northern white rhino has died after months of poor health, his carers say. Sudan, who was 45, lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. He was put to sleep on Monday after age-related complications worsened significantly. His death leaves only two females – his daughter and granddaughter – of the subspecies alive in the world. Attempts to conserve some of the northern white rhino genes by mating 27-year-old Najin and her 17-year-old daughter Fatu with a southern white male also failed.
– NUMBER –
In Europe, the population of sub-Saharan migrants has been boosted by the influx of nearly 1 million asylum applicants (970,000) between 2010 and 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from Eurostat, Europe’s statistical agency. The factors pushing people to leave sub-Saharan Africa – and the paths they take to arrive at their destinations – vary from country to country and individual to individual.
– QUOTE –
“While recognizing that the country is facing an emergency situation… the activation of the top-level humanitarian emergency acts as a brake [for development].”
DR Congo’s Prime Minister Jose Makila said the Democratic Republic of Congo will not attend a donor conference in Geneva next month, complaining the country is being given a bad image.
– AT LAST –
Grace Mugabe linked to alleged ivory smuggling in Zimbabwe: Police in Zimbabwe are investigating a case of alleged ivory smuggling linked to the former first lady. Grace Mugabe, the wife of former Zimbabwean ruler Robert Mugabe, faced accusations that she had raided the country’s ivory stockpiles during her time as first lady and sent pieces as gifts to high-profile individuals in the Middle East and Asia. Mugabe is alleged to have smuggled the ivory under the pretext of giving diplomatic gifts. Police said they were initially tipped off by an unnamed whistleblower. Zimbabwe has a stockpile of ivory worth millions of dollars but cannot legally trade it without a permit issued by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.