– NEWS –
Opposition candidate Bio wins election in Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone’s opposition candidate, Julius Maada Bio, has rushed to take his presidential oath in a hotel after winning the run-off election. Bio was sworn in on Wednesday, less than two hours after being declared the winner of Saturday’s vote. He narrowly beat ruling party candidate Samura Kamara, who has alleged irregularities and says he will challenge the outcome in court. Kamara’s tenure was punctuated by tragedy, including an outbreak of the Ebola virus and a deadly mudslide, in a country that is still recovering from a civil war that ended in 2002 after the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In recent days, the candidates exchanged accusations of tribalism and even charges of attempts at “ethnic cleansing.” Sierra Leone, a former British colony with a population of nearly seven million, has long been divided along tribal and regional lines.
South Africa court adjourns Zuma corruption case to June: Former South African president Jacob Zuma appeared in court on Friday to face corruption charges relating to a $2.5 billion arms deal, later telling a crowd he would be proven innocent in the long-running case that resurfaced after his fall from power. Zuma’s nine years in office were marked by economic stagnation and credit downgrades. He faces 16 charges including fraud, racketeering and money laundering. In a procedural appearance that lasted less than 15 minutes, state prosecutors and Zuma’s lawyers asked the Durban High Court to adjourn the case until June 8 so both sides could prepare submissions. Judge Themba Sishi approved the request. A potential trial would take several more months to prepare.
Winnie Mandela dies at 81: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who emerged as a combative anti-apartheid campaigner during her husband Nelson Mandela’s decades in jail but whose reputation was later tarnished by allegations of violence, died on Monday at the age of 81. Madikizela-Mandela died peacefully surrounded by her family following a long illness that kept her in and out of hospital since the start of the year, family spokesman Victor Dlamini said in a statement. A crowd of around 200 people congregated outside Madikizela-Mandela’s Soweto home soon after her death was announced, singing and dancing. The cause of death or nature of her illness was not disclosed. Ministers and national figures paid tribute. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was among those who offered his condolences from abroad.
Netanyahu scraps deal to resettle African asylum seekers: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday scrapped an agreement with the United Nations to resettle thousands of African asylum seekers in the West, giving in to pressure from immigration hard-liners who saw the deal as rewarding illegal migrants. On Monday, Netanyahu announced an understanding with the UN refugee agency that would move more than 16,000 migrants to Western nations. The same number would be given temporary residency status within Israel. After speaking to residents of southern Tel Aviv, a traditionally working-class area where many African migrants settled in recent years, Netanyahu said he decided to cancel the agreement. Without the UN deal, thousands of Sudanese and Eritrean migrants will be left in legal limbo within Israel. Around 38,000 live in Israel, most of whom entered the country illegally via the land border with Egypt before a fence was completed in 2013. Activists say many would face persecution if they were returned home.
Ethiopia’s new prime minister cleans house: Ethiopia has closed a prison notorious for decades for holding opposition figures, journalists and activists, a state-affiliated media outlet reported, as the country adjusts to a new prime minister who has said it is time to “make up for all the wrongs done in the past.” Ethiopia installed new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as Africa’s second most populous nation tries to recover from months of the most serious anti-government protests in a quarter-century. The protests demanding more freedoms began in the Oromia and Amhara regions in late 2015 and spread elsewhere, bringing many businesses and transport networks to a standstill and leading to a state of emergency. The new prime minister is from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, and has vowed to solve “lots of problems.”
Security Council renews UN mission in DR Congo news.un.org
Three suicide bombers kill 18 in Nigeria’s Maiduguri: police reuters.com
Africa’s scientists encouraged to become the next Einstein borneobulletin.com
– BACKGROUND –
Campaign calls for more money for cocoa farmers: More chocolate is sold in the US than any other country in the world, the majority coming from Ivory Coast and Ghana. In December of 2015 activists from Make Chocolate Fair! handed over 122,826 signatures to the the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO) in Brussels, thereby demanding fair payment to cocoa farmers and their workers, adherence to human and labor rights along the entire cocoa supply chain, and opposition to exploitative child labor. Sabine Nafziger, Secretary General of CAOBISCO, received the signatures and declared that chocolate manufacturers will contribute to a living income calculation for cocoa farmers. Thereby the European chocolate industry responds to one of the most central demands, which the campaign Make Chocolate Fair! has been pressuring for during the past two years. The campaign views such a calculation as a crucial first step so that cocoa farmers will receive a fair price for their cocoa in the future.
Afrofuturism in Dortmund: By now, many moviegoers have enjoyed futuristic visions of a high-tech African culture in the blockbuster “Black Panther.” But a Dortmund exhibit shows that innovation is an everyday reality on the African continent. By juxtaposing the speculative narratives unfolding in the Afrofuturism artworks on display — including the “The Afronauts,” a part-fictional art book of African space travel that serves as kind of precursor to the film “Black Panther” — with actual inventions from different African countries, “Afro-Tech and the Future of Re-Invention” aims to reinforce the fact that Africa has long been a continent of technical innovation. The exhibit features a video installation, for example, that shows a hand prosthetic created from a 3-D printer, a South African invention that is a world leader in its field. Also showcased at Dortmunder U is M-Pesa, a mobile digital payment and microfinancing service that was developed more than 10 years ago in Kenya. By allowing people in isolated rural areas to make transactions with their mobile phones — without having to rely on a bank account — the technology has revolutionized money exchange in the developing world.
– WORKSHOP –
Afropean Bridges in Venice: On April 20th and 21st, the workshop “Afropean Bridges – Identity, Representation, Opportunities” will take place in Venice. The aim is to open a discussion about the achievements of the Africa-EU partnership and to address social and cultural issues related to the post-colonial relationship between European and African countries. The international workshop will take place in April in support of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 – 2024). The workshop is organized by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, in the framework of the activities of its International Center for the Humanities and Social Change and in partnership with the NGO Progressi.”
– NUMBER –
According to estimates by the IMF, the Middle East / Africa region is expected to grow by 3.6 percent in 2018. This exceeds expectations. In 2017, growth was only at 2.7 percent.
– QUOTE –
“The day we’ll say, ‘I am a Mauritanian citizen’ … That is my dream. I’m also dreaming for a Mauritania that will be just and in which we will all be equal, without a first- or second-class [of citizens].”
Mohamed Ali Ould Bilal, activist and director of the Teranim Centre for the Arts, advocates the equal treatment of Haratin in Mauritania, descendants of slaves in the eastern Sahara. Some 43,000 people still live in slavery in Mauritania.
– AT LAST –
Is Africa splitting into two?: Are plate tectonics about to tear Africa in two, along the Great Rift Valley? The 50-foot deep crack in the earth that began to develop near Nairobi in Kenya on March 18 could be a sign of impending continental split, some experts warned. Others think the gully, which gapes as much as 60 feet wide, was caused by rains washing away loose soil, nothing more, and suggest fixing the road and moving on. The chasm that split agricultural fields and the Narok highway in southwest Kenya near Nairobi could theoretically have been caused by rifting as the African Plate in the west separates from the Somali Plate to the east. To be sure, the Kenya crack definitely is in the Rift Valley, which starts in Mozambique, passes through most of eastern Africa all the way to Israel – the Red Sea, Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee all sit in it.