KW 32: Zimbabwe compensates white farmers with billions, Return of Tanzania presidential hopeful sparks optimism, Gold prospectors in the Sahara

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Zimbabwe compensates white farmers with billions: Around 3,500 white farmers, who were evicted from their land almost 20 years ago under the Zimbabwean government’s land reform program, are set to benefit from a landmark deal: On average, each of them will receive 840,000 euros. This is the result of a $3.5 billion euro deal agreed upon by the Commercial Farmers’ Union and the government. Half of this sum is expected to be distributed within one year, while the remaining payments will be spread over the following five years. Zimbabwe lost a lot of international trust two decades ago after implementing the land reforms, which sometimes resulted in violent evictions. They were initially viewed as a more hopeful and peaceful alternative to the brutal system of Apartheid in neighboring South Africa. However, the increasingly aggressive and authoritarian demeanor of Zimbabwe’s long-term ruler Robert Mugabe transformed the country into a pariah on the world stage.

ECOWAS calls for unity government in Mali: West African leaders have urged Mali’s opposition groups to join the country’s new unity government in a bid to end a political stalemate that threatens to tear the country apart. The new government of six members has been tasked with solving the country’s protracted political crisis. Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been without a government since April. He made the appointments under pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has been involved in mediating the crisis. ECOWAS hopes the new government will end the ongoing political rift between Keita and opposition groups.

Thousands of refugees and migrants suffer extreme rights abuses: Thousands of refugees and migrants are dying, while many are suffering extreme human rights abuses on irregular journeys between West and East Africa and Africa’s Mediterranean Coast. A report released by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR and the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) at the Danish Refugee Council details how most people taking these routes suffer or witness unspeakable brutality and inhumanity at the hands of smugglers, traffickers, militias and in some cases even state officials.

Congo fears more M23 attacks: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the rebel group M23 has been increasing its attacks. Rumor has it that parts of the Rutshuru district have been captured. According to the Congolese army, three soldiers were killed during fighting in the region. The army has not yet confirmed whether the attackers were M23 members. M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa, who lives in Uganda, denied involvement in the fighting in Rutshuru: “What happened in Rutshuru yesterday is the result of social network fear that caused the army to fire warning shots to mark their presence and deter a potential enemy.”

Return of Tanzania presidential hopeful sparks optimism: Tundu Lissu, a prominent Tanzanian opposition figure who survived an attempt on his life, has returned to the country where he is expected to launch a bid for the presidency. Lissu had been living in Belgium since he was shot three years ago and has undergone more than 20 medical operations. Lissu’s return to the political scene has sparked a new level of enthusiasm among voters, according to Tanzanian journalist Jenerali Ulimwengu: “There’s a new hope that things may have changed.” Lissu is a critic of President John Magufuli who is vying for a second five-year term at Tanzania’s general elections in October. Though he has been praised for economic reforms and tackling corruption, Magufuli’s government is under increasing scrutiny for crackdowns on press freedom.,

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German popular in Africa: An increasing number of people from Kenya and the Ivory Coast are learning German. A total of 430,000 schoolchildren and students are currently learning the language in class in Kenya. That’s twice as many as five years ago, according to a study by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. The city of Bongouanou is considered to be the heart of German language learning in Kenya. Students here can start language classes in fifth grade.

Gold prospectors in the Sahara: A gold rush has broken out in the Sahara. The search for the valuable metal in the Sudanese Darfur region began in 2012. Gold is now being mined in Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania. It is estimated that there are around 250,000 gold prospectors in Mauritania alone. Among them are not just locals, but also increasingly people from surrounding countries, who mostly participate illegally in the gold rush and sometimes accept harsh punishments.

Deportations from Germany lead to political pressure in African countries: Germany wants to establish a new Africa institute that “is not just available to the German government, but to all those interested in Africa”, says Joachim Rogall, CEO of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. It will be financed both by private sponsors and by several ministries. The example of Gambia shows how important such an institute is to promote the mutual understanding of countries.


Only around 150,000 chimpanzees currently live in African forests.


“I have the feeling that the picture has become more diverse in recent decades – depending on the media, of course. In the mainstream there is still this picture of Africa being associated only with conflicts and hunger. But we still have a great diversity – despite the media crisis.”

Journalist Bettina Rühl, who works as an Africa correspondent and has been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit.


Cause of elephant deaths unclear: The cause of the mysterious deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana remains unclear. Initial studies indicate a natural poison that is believed to be responsible for the deaths of the animals. No new dead animals have been found recently.

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