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Africa in 2015: 10 things to consider Tags: News Politics Africa News 2015

Following the success of last year’s 10 things [you need] to know about Africa in 2014 blog post, Policy Researcher Jamie Hitchen looks at what the year ahead holds in store. 

1. Volatile Elections

With hotly contested, and possibly violent, elections expected in Nigeria, followed by Burkina Faso’s first elections in almost 30 years without Blaise Compaoré’s candidacy, this could be a defining year for West African states. Elsewhere on the continent, the polls are likely to mean the further entrenchment of the status quo in Sudan, Ethiopia and Burundi, while Tanzania will have a new president whatever the result, as President Jakaya Kikwete is standing down after serving the maximum two terms. (Find our Elections Resource page here – we will be keeping it updated throughout the year)

2. Commodity Price Crash

The continuing decline in the global oil price will have severe revenue shortfall consequences for major exporters, Angola and Nigeria. In November 2014, Nigeria devalued the naira by 10% in November 2014 to protect forex reserves. Conversely, for consumer states, like Senegal, Ethiopia and Kenya, the declining oil price may actually have economic benefits. In short, there will be winners and losers. Looking beyond oil, the drop in copper and iron ore prices is prompting some exporters to revise economic growth forecasts downwards. Could this prompt states to think more seriously about adding value to natural resources exports and creating more in-country jobs through local content provisions?

3. The End of Ebola

The World Health Organization estimated that 7,905 people died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014. According to Anthony Banbury, the man who led the UN’s response last year, the virus will be defeated by the end of 2015. An even more optimistic President Koroma has suggested that his country, Sierra Leone, will be Ebola-free by May 2015. Economic recovery and social reintegration will become the major focus of attention for the international community, as will reflecting on a response that has been heavily criticised for being slow, inadequate and poorly led.  But will any lessons be learned for the future?

4. China-Africa Cooperation

The Sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in South Africa will be the first since Chinese President Xi Jinping took charge. Jinping’s China has made a point of taking Africa’s priorities – such as agriculture, manufacturing and job creation – seriously. Although China has deviated from its policy of non-interference, as evidenced by its engagement with rebel forces in South Sudan, it remains to be seen whether it will adopt a financing model more amenable to Africa’s long-term interests. Alternatively, might Africa’s strengthening ties with Brazil, India and Turkey lead to a reduced engagement with China?

5. Presidential Term Limits

With the recent turmoil in Burkina Faso still fresh in the memory, African leaders seeking to amend constitutions to retain power may be feeling a little bit apprehensive. President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seems intent on staying in power beyond 2016 and similar efforts on the part of incumbents can be expected in Burundi, Togo and the Republic of Congo.  Will the citizens allow it?

6. A New Era for the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Donald Kaberuka, President of the AfDB will step down in May 2015 having been at the helm for a decade. Under his leadership, the bank’s credibility across the continent has been rebuilt.  Early front-runners to replace him include Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina and Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia’s longstanding Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Whoever ends up taking charge will need to help the beneficiaries of the commodity boom, the superstars of the Kaberuka era, recover from the current slump. In addition, the next president will have to deliver on the promise of securing the huge financing requirement for infrastructure and to ensure that infrastructure development is inclusive. The Ebola crisis has shown how vital it is for the Bank not to overlook the needs of fragile states.

7. Turning Away from the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni is hoping to make 2015 the year that African leaders withdraw from the ICC. Of the 21 cases before the court, all have African defendants. This fact will likely add to the growing impression across Africa that the court has disproportionately targeted the continent’s leaders while trampling on sovereignty. The decision to try a sitting president, Uhuru Kenyatta, angered many heads of states. The subsequent withdrawal of the charges has raised doubts about the ICC among Kenya’s citizens, who were generally in favour of the process. Museveni’s promise to hand over recently captured Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Dominic Ongwen to the ICC is not the sign of a thaw in relations, but a political calculation.

8. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The UN has acknowledged that sub-Saharan Africa will not meet many of the Millennium Development Goals before they end in 2015. The process of carving out a final list of SDGs from the current list of 17 goals and 169 targets is ongoing.  Three key prongs, which align with Africa’s own needs – job creation, peace and security, and infrastructure and governance – will drive the SDG agenda but is there a danger of overcomplication? What measures must be put in place to ensure that progress can be charted?

9. Tackling Terrorism: Nigeria & Kenya

Terrorist activities on the borders of Nigeria and Kenya, two of Africa’s leading states, have led to severe criticism of the governments’ responses. In Nigeria’s case, territorial integrity is under threat. Insecurity in the north-east, fuelled by Boko Haram’s activities, will be a defining issue in the 2015 Nigerian election with President Goodluck Jonathan viewed as unwilling or unable to act. In Kenya, an increasing number of attacks by Al Shabaab have put public pressure on President Kenyatta and he has so far responded by sacking the security minister.  Can either state address these threats in 2015?

10. Urban Infrastructure

Addis Ababa is expected to open its Chinese-backed metro rail system in January 2015 and a light-rail transport system is currently under construction in Lagos – although it is well behind schedule. Both of these developments speak to a gradual effort to address the economic cost of traffic jams that clog urban centres across the continent. A regular and predictable supply of electricity still remains a significant challenge. Load shedding, blackouts and so forth mean that businesses run on generators in many of Africa’s major cities. To encourage investment, this must change. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Grand Inga Dam in Congo and Kenya’s ambitious renewables programme, among others, are targeting the power shortfall.  2015 will be another year of increased urban development – and urban population growth.

Source: africaresearchinstitute

The Rhino And The Stranded Zebra -Unforgettable Story Tags: Wildlife News South Africa

As a wildlife photographer Roel van Muiden has seen many strange things in the bush. But the series of images of a rhino trying to lift a zebra foal out of a muddy watering hole is likely to stay with him for a long while.


Van Muiden was on a game drive in Madikwe Game Reserve in North West when he pulled up at the watering hole and spotted the zebra foal struggling to get free.

Other animals appeared oblivious to the foal's plight until a big rhino bull ambled into the area and began to prod the baby zebra with his horn.

Said Roel: "The rhino seemed curious and using his horn, he lifted the foal clear up and out of the mud, but then suddenly dropped it down again."

The bull then joined the rest of the rhinos, but returned a little later, where once again he proceeded to lift the foal out of the mud with his horn and drop it down. Roel said the foal became weak from all the rough attention, and as the heat of the day got too much to handle, eventually died from its injuries.

The rhino bull then dropped down beside the dead animal and rolled around, caking himself in a thick layer of mud before ambling off.

Source: Timeslive

Togo: 1000 Social Housing In Lomé Soon Tags: Togo Housing News 2015 News Lome

Good news for the Togolese workers. The Government has launched the building of a social housing project. An agreement was signed on Friday, 23rd January between the Togolese government and the Ivorian real estate development company (SIPIM) that will perform the work. A total of 1000 social housing will be built in the framework of this experimental project called “Cité Mokpokpo» (Hope).

Adidogomé, the Northwest suburb of Lomé will host 420 houses and 120 apartments on a surface of 12.5 hectares. The new estate will also have a school and green spaces. For the moment, only State officials (grades A1, A2 and B) will benefit from this project.

The housing will cost between 7 million and 17 million FCFA. According to Republic Of Togo, the acquisition will be done via real property loans over 15 or 20 years with reasonable interest rates. No initial contribution will be requested, said the Minister of economy and finance, Adji Oteth Ayassor. Orabank, Banque Atlantique and BIA are already committed to give financing to individuals.

Source: africatopsuccess.

African Priest, His Wife And Son Found Dead At Home In Houston In Suspected Triple Murder (VIDEO) Tags: News Pastor

HOUSTON – Dozens of church members gathered to honor a Ugandan priest, his wife and their 5-year-old son who were found dead in their Memorial City apartment.

The deaths are being investigated as a triple murder.

“Sweet sweet people, my goodness,” said Ginger Fabian, a church member.

It was around 9:20 a.m. when a maintenance worker found a man, woman and small child dead inside an apartment located behind Memorial City Mall, Houston Police said. The discovery was made in the 870 block of Strey Lane.

The priest’s church issued a press release identifying the victims as Israel Ahimbisibwe and his wife Dorcus. The priest was a native of Uganda and served as vicar of Redeemer Episcopal Church, according to members of the church.

“They came up from Uganda, you can see the difference in culture but, were just really good people” said John Roberts, a church member.

Detectives did not say how long the bodies had been inside the apartment but did say there were no signs of forced entry.
Church leaders said they became concerned when the family didn’t show up for church on Sunday.

VIDEO

“Which is totally out of character for him not to let us know,” said Keeber Wallace, a church member and neighbor. “He didn’t respond to text messages or phone calls.”

Wallace said he stopped by the apartment and knocked on the door, but didn’t get a response. “We talked with their neighbors and they had not seen them since Friday,” he said. Wallace described the couple as well loved.

“Both of them are wonderful Bible teachers and people of great faith,” he said. “He’s a very gentle man. Well respected among the clergy and, you know, he was our pastor. We loved him enjoyed him serving with us.”

“They were an incredible example and loved everyone.people’s lives were truly changed by his ministry,” said Rt. Reverand Andrew Doyle.

According to a press release, Ahimbisibwe was ordained in the Church of Uganda and held master’s degrees from both Princeton Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School. After completing graduate research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he attended Rice University where he earned an additional master’s degree in religious studies in 2009 and a doctorate in 2011.

“This is a horrific and awful tragedy,” said Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, “We are in touch with the police and Israel’s family here in Houston. Please keep the Ahimbisibwe and Redeemer families in your prayers,” he said.

Police say the couple has two older sons. One son is in California at a private school. The other just graduated from Memorial High last year. He is supposed to join the Marines on Friday. Investigators have yet to talk to him before he leaves. Police are not releasing any other information at this time.

Source: KHOU

African First Ladies Unite to End Polio Tags: Africa Women News 2015 News

The African Union First Ladies made a call for action on 31 January 2015 for continent-wide efforts, leadership and political commitment to kick polio out of Africa. The First Ladies agreed to advocate for a polio-free Africa as a top priority for their governments in 2015 at an event jointly organized by the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (WHO, Rotary, CDC and UNICEF) at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The First Ladies pledged their personal and country commitment to deliver a polio-free Africa through heightened advocacy and personal participation in supplementary immunization and accelerated routine immunization activities, such as the African Vaccination Week. Calls for action were heard from the First Ladies of Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. ?If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together ? thank you OAFLA for going the distance with us to end polio," Dr Rebecca Martin, Director of CDC?s Global Immunization Division and the Moderator of the event, said acknowledging the important role of the First Ladies in leading advocacy efforts.

The WHO is in the process of formalizing a partnership with the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA). A memorandum of understanding and a joint action plan are being prepared. ?The draft agreement between OAFLA and WHO provides an opportunity for intensified engagement to protect all African children from polio and other disease" said Dr Pierre M'Pele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia at the meeting on 31 January 2015. Some of the areas for collaboration between WHO and OAFLA will be around continental and country level advocacy to mobilize resources to support HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health activities.

The OAFLA polio eradication pledge coincided with the 24th Ordinary Session of the OAFLA General Assembly and the 24th Summit of the African Union. The WHO Regional Director for Africa was represented by Dr Tigest Ketsela, Director of the Health Promotion Cluster at the 24th General Assembly of the OAFLA and by Dr Pierre M'Pele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia, assisted by the WHO Liaison Officer to the AU and ECA, at the AU Summit.

Source: Afro

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