– NEWS –
Merkel in South Africa: German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to discuss trade, climate change and the war in Libya. Merkel called for collaboration in handling the ongoing Libya crisis. Ramaphosa acknowledged that the Libyan problem was a unique one because there were a number of other countries outside of Africa involved in the conflict. Merkel and Ramaphosa also talked about how South Africa, a country largely dependent on coal, can transition to renewable energy.
German cabinet extends two Africa missions: The cabinet has approved the extension of two military operations in Sudan and South Sudan. This means up to 70 soldiers are supporting the peace missions led by the United Nations. In South Sudan, UN troops are trying to protect the civilian population and create conditions for the return of refugees. In Darfur, in western Sudan, the mission is intended to monitor a ceasefire agreement. The situation here is still not stable, according to the German military, which is present with only four soldiers. The parliament still has to approve the extension of the missions, a first debate is planned for next week.
Conflict between Turkey and Assad escalates: Turkey has hit targets in northern Syria, responding to shelling by Syrian government forces that killed at least eight Turkish soldiers and civilian contractors. Turkish forces hit 54 targets and “neutralised” 76 Syrian soldiers – a term the Turkish military typically uses to describe combatants who have been killed, captured or wounded. The exchange of fire between Turkey and Syria came hours after a large Turkish military convoy entered the northwestern province of Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled a Syrian army offensive in Idlib, the opposition’s last stronghold. Many have moved towards the border with Turkey, which supports the opposition. Turkey and Russia – an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – agreed a de-escalation deal for Idlib in 2017, but it has been repeatedly violated.
France boosts anti-terror force in Sahel: The French government has announced that it will be strengthening its military presence in Africa’s Sahel region to counter jihadi violence. French Defence Minister Florence Parly said the majority of reinforcements would be sent to the border zone connecting Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The move is intended to bolster France’s military in response to an upsurge in violence in the Sahel region that has led locals to feel increasingly insecure.
– BACKGROUND –
Burkina Faso to arm civilians: Burkina Faso’s parliament has approved legislation allowing the military to use civilian volunteers in the fight against Islamic extremism. Defense Minister Cheriff Sy said all recruits would undergo two weeks of training, with topics ranging from how to use weapons to matters of discipline. Volunteers must be 18 years old and will undergo an investigation before being allowed to serve. Demobilization bonuses will be provided to each volunteer in an effort to reintegrate them in the future. Health benefits will be paid to those who are wounded while on duty. Burkina Faso’s military, despite training and assistance from France and the United States, has struggled to contain the spread of extremism.
Great interest in cryptocurrencies in Africa: The main Bitcoin economies in Africa are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe, according to gobitcoin.io, a website dedicated to Bitcoin news in Africa. The BBC adds that cryptocurrency is gaining ground in Uganda. In a global comparison of Google searches for the term “Bitcoin”, the portal “Kryptoszene” found that internet users in Nigeria are the ones who most frequently searched for this digital currency. Overall, the data analysis showed that it is primarily people in areas at risk of crisis that are interested in digital currencies.
Concern over coronavirus in Africa: So far, no infections with the coronavirus have been confirmed on the African continent. That would mean that Africa is the only continent that has been spared by the virus. However, there have been a few suspected cases that show how nervous the authorities currently are. At Addis Ababa Bole international airport, four suspected cases of coronavirus were put into isolation. Of these, two did not show any sign but came from areas in China affected by the virus. The other two showed flu-like symptoms. The Ivory Coast Ministry of Health reported that a student returning from China might be infected with the virus. A suspicious case was also reported in Kenya. Some countries on the continent may benefit from their recent experience with another deadly virus. During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that claimed more than 10,000 lives, several countries — including Ivory Coast — developed early warning systems.
ethiopianmonitor.com, taz.de, dw.com
– NUMBER –
The painting “Christine” by Nigerian painter Ben Enwonwu scored 1.3 million euros at an auction in London.
– QUOTE –
“I have spoken about winds of hope. But today a wind of madness is sweeping the globe.”
– AT LAST –
Painting by Nigerian artist sells for $1.4 million: A painting by renowned Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu has been auctioned for $1.4 million in the United Kingdom. Enwonwu painted the masterpiece in Lagos in 1971, christening it “Christine”. Just three months ago the painting was valued by Sothebys at around $200,000, but on Tuesday the portrait sold in London for over seven times the estimated price.
cnn.com, africanexponent.com, qz.com