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West Africa Infrastructure Projects, Gulf Companies Commit $19 Billion Tags: News West Africa Developments

African countries secured commitments from companies in the Persian Gulf totaling $19 billion to invest in roads, railways and airports at the first West Africa Investment Forum held in Dubai on Tuesday.

Construction firm Trojan General Contracting LLC, owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, committed to invest up to $16 billion in roads and railway projects across the West African Economic & Monetary Union, a group of eight African countries that organized the event in the U.A.E.

Officials from the union, which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, were in Dubai canvassing investment for 17 public-private partnership infrastructure projects in West Africa. The group said it also had received a $1.98 billion commitment from Essar Projects, the U.A.E. subsidiary of India's Essar Group, to co-invest in road, bridge, airport and thermal-power-plant projects in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Niger.

A further $700 million was committed by Oman's Hasan Juma Backer Trading & Contracting LLC in a dry-port project in the Ivory Coast, the union said. No additional financial details of any deal were disclosed. The union added that each party had six months to sign a firm deal based on their commitments.

On Monday, one of the Dubai government's major investment arms, Investment Corporation of Dubai, said it would buy a minority stake in Nigeria's Dangote Cement for $300 million, as Gulf entities ties to West Africa deepen.

Source: WP

A ‘gay-friendly’ mosque just opened in South Africa Tags: News South Africa Religious Muslim

On Friday in a suburb in Cape Town, South Africa, Muslim worshipers convened for the first time at a new prayer hall. Outside, a few protesters gathered against them. Inside, they were outnumbered by the news media crews sent to watch them.

The "Open Mosque" is intended a space of worship for all, irrespective of sect, gender or sexual orientation. It is the creation of Taj Hargey, a Cape Town-born academic and cleric based at Oxford University who has long agitated against fundamentalist interpretations of Islam. This new prayer space, open to all, was a direct challenge to the extremists he opposes.

Hargey delivered the sermon, inveighing against the unnecessary divisions between Christians and Muslims, according to Agence France Presse. He blamed "contaminated Saudi money" for promoting "toxic and intolerant manifestations of Islam."

South Africa is home to nearly 800,000 Muslims, who belong to communities that have a diverse origins and histories in the country. But Hargey says a growing Wahabist or Salafist influence -- the same strains that animate the extremism of Sunni militant groups such as the Islamic State -- are creeping into South Africa. "South Africans have become Arabized, they think they must wear the burka, must have face masks, that men must wear pyjama dresses," Hargey told the Daily Telegraph. "They think that is the only version of Islam."

He wants his mosque to prove otherwise. It opened not without opposition. "There's been threats about castrating me, beheading me, hanging me upside down. But South Africa has the most liberal constitution in the world -- they cannot stop us opening today," he told reporters. "I have a PhD in Islamic studies from Oxford University, unlike my opponents who went to some donkey college in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia."

Hargey, fiery and clean-shaven, is known for courting controversy. He wants British Muslims to better integrate into their society and supports a total ban on burqas in the United Kingdom. In a 2009 interview with the notoriously xenophobic Daily Mail, he lamented Britain's supposed multicultural tolerance of Islamist extremists, labeling it "the biggest disaster to happen to Britain since World War II."

Source: WP

8 Ebola Aid Workers Killed 'In Cold Blood' By Villagers Tags: Guinea Ebola West Africa Crime

CONAKRY, Guinea — The team of health officials accompanied by journalists came to the village to educate people about how to avoid contracting Ebola. Instead, a group of local residents turned on their would-be benefactors, attacking them with knives and rocks and killing eight of them, witnesses say.

Guinea’s government said in a statement Friday that six people have been arrested in connection with the attack earlier this week on the health and government officials who were doing disinfection and education on prevention methods.

The horrific violence in the village of Womey underscores the mistrust and fear that remains in the area nearly nine months after the first person here died from what was later discovered to be Ebola. The disease that can cause bleeding from the eyes, mouth and ears had never before sickened people in this forested corner of Africa. And when it did, villagers immediately feared that outsiders had brought it here.

There have been attacks on health centers in several affected countries but these are the first fatalities.

“The government strongly condemns the killings of these Guinean citizens including those officials who were carrying out their duties at the time,” the statement issued by the presidency of Guinea said. “These crimes are especially regrettable coming at a time when the international community is mobilizing to help the affected countries in their fight against the Ebola virus.”

The victims from Tuesday’s attack included the deputy administrative official in Womey and the head of the health care center there. Two top health officials from the nearby town of N’Zerekore were killed, along with a pastor and three radio journalists who had been covering the awareness campaigning. The son of the deputy administrative official managed to escape and survived, the government said.

Doctors Without Borders had to temporarily suspend operations in Macenta, Guinea back in April after a crowd attacked the facility. The mob accused aid workers of starting the outbreak. Some young people threw rocks at the aid workers, though no one was seriously hurt.

More than 2,600 people have died across West Africa from Ebola, including at least 500 people in Guinea.

Source: AP

First African Legal Training Programme Opened Tags: News Africa

On September 2nd, the First African Legal Training Programme was opened in the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), attended by President Wang Lequan of China Law Society, Executive Vice-President Chen Jiping of China Law Society, Vice-President Zhang Mingqi of China Law Society, Deputy Prosecutor-General Li Rulin of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Minister George N. Manongi of Tanzanian embassy to China, President Peng Long of the BFSU, Director Zhao Daguang of the Administrative Division of the Supreme People's Court, Vice- President Du Shiping of Beijing Law Society, Mr. Shen Sibao, a renowned Chinese expert on law, president of China International Economic Law Institute, and representative of the teachers, and African students of the training programme.

President Wang Lequan of China Law Society, President Peng Long of the BFSU, Vice-President Du Shiping of Beijing Law Society, Antonio Binza Quilobo, Minister Public Magistrate of the Attorney-General's Office of Angola and representative of the African host for the fifth China-Africa Legal Forum, Venrandah Munyaro, State Counsel of the Attorney-General's Office of Zimbabwe and representative of the African host for the fourth China-Africa Legal Forum, delivered remarks. The inauguration ceremony is chaired by Executive Vice-President Chen Jiping of China Law Society.

President Wang Lequan made an address titled "Deepening China-Africa legal exchange and promote comprehensive development of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership", pointing out that in the new century, China-Africa relations should also keep pace with the times.

In 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established, becoming an important platform for China and African countries to carry out collective dialogue. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Africa, proposing the development of China-Africa relations with sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, bringing China-Africa relations to a higher level.

In 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Africa, putting forward the concept of "four+six+one" framework, to upgradeChina-Africa cooperation. China and Africa will enjoy a more beautiful future and broader prospect of cooperation.

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation - Legal Forum, as animportant part of FOCAC, has been held successfully four times, achieving fruitful results. And the mechanism has been improved with richer content, more pragmatic cooperationand growing influence.

The First African Legal Training Programme is the first training programme China has hosted for professionals of the legal community in Africa, which the Chinese government attaches high importance to. It is the enrichment and extension of FOCAC - Legal Forum, laying the foundation for providing legal guarantee and intellectual support for comprehensive China-Africa cooperation.

It marks a new stage in legal exchange and cooperation between China and Africa, and will leave its footprint in the history of China-Africa relations. President Wang hopes that African students present can become the participants of China-Africa legal exchanges, practitioners of legal diplomacy, promoters of China-Africa new type of strategic partnership, protectors and inheritors of China-Africa traditional friendship.

 


Wang ended by saying that the Chinese traditional mid-autumn festival is coming, hoping that African students can take the BFSU as their home, enjoying the happiness of the festival with their teachers and having a beautiful memory.

President Peng Long said that the holding of the First African Legal Training Programme in the BFSU by its Law School reflects the trust the leaders of China Law Society have on the BFSU, and the BFSU will work to ensure the success of the training programme.

Vice-President Chen pointed out that the programme has been in the making for three years by the China Law Society. It is the first training programme China organized for African professionals of the legal community. It is a concrete action to implement the Fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC - Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015) and FOCAC - Legal Forum Beijing Declaration.

Over 30 students from nearly 20 African countries attended the training programme, who are judges, prosecutors, lawyers and scholars recommended by African legal and law organizations that have close cooperation with the China Law Society, Chinese embassies to African countries, and African embassies in China. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, FOCAC Office have provided guidance and support to the programme.

At the opening ceremony, China Legal Diplomacy Research Center, China-Africa Legal Research Center, China-Africa Legal Training Basis were also inaugurated. Executive Vice-President Chen Jiping of China Law Society serves as honorary chairman of China-Africa Legal Research Center.

Vice-President Zhang Ming serves as chairman of China-Africa Legal Research Center. President Peng Long of the BFSU, Vice-President Du Shiping of Beijing Law Society, Executive Vice-President Wang Liming of Renmin University, President Huang Jin of China University of Political Science and Law, and Director General Gu Zhaomin of the Overseas Liaison Department of China Law Society serve as the deputy chairmen of the Center.

Chinese experts and officials on law including Director General Liu Hehua of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Supreme People's Court, Director General Lin Songtian of the African Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Shen Sibao of China International Economic Law Institute, President Fu Zitang of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, President Jiayu of Northwest University of Political Science and Law, Partner and Lawyer of King&Wood Law Firm Jiang Junluhave been invited to be the council members. At the inauguration, certificate conferring ceremony was also held.

Source: focac

Scores of civilians freed from Africa rebel group Tags: News Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda — A watchdog group says more than 70 women and children have been freed over the past month from the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group, whose leader is the subject of an international manhunt involving U.S. troops.

Invisible Children said Tuesday that 12 of the abductees managed to escape following clashes between rebels and security forces in Congo between Aug. 23 and 25.

The rebel group is increasingly degraded amid a hunt for its fugitive commanders in the jungles of Central Africa. Some commanders have recently defected and turned themselves in to Ugandan troops.

Kasper Agger of the watchdog group Enough Project said it was possible that rebel commanders are releasing women and children in order to give the group more mobility amid military pressure.

Source:AP

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