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EU removes Gabon from Euro airspace blacklist after 11 years (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Gabonese airlines have been removed from an European Union blacklist that meant that flights from the country could not access the European airspace. The EU Commission said it had “withdrawn them (Gabon) from the list following improvements in aviation safety in that country.” The decision announced earlier this week makes it possible for airlines as the National Regional Transport (NRT), Solenta Aviation Gabon, Tropical Air Gabon and Afrijet Business Service to commence flights to Europe. EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “I am pleased to announce that the European Commission was able today to clear all Gabonese air carriers from the EU Air Safety List. “Gabon was on the List already since 2008, so it is very good that we can recognise the efforts the aviation safety authorities in Gabon have made.” Gabon can heave a sigh of relief but not so for other African country’s that remain banned. Carriers based in Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea remain blacklisted. Eritrea, Liberia, Libya, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan complete the affected countries. In the case of Angola all carriers (with the exception of TAAG Angola Airlines and Heli Malongo) remain banned, “due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities of these States,” the EU Commission confirmed. The EU Air Safety List, compiles airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. By so doing, it seeks to ensure the highest level of air safety for Europeans and all other passengers travelling in the European Union.
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Ex-president to sue Botswana govt for defamation (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Ian Khama, president of Botswana till April 2018, says he will sue the government for defamation. A recent government report cited Khama and others for corruption. In a press conference from next door South Africa, Khama denied the findings in the report describing them as part of a smear campaign by the government. The said report claimed the former president, other top government officials at the time and a South African business associate had embezzled billions of dollars. The anti-graft agency said the accused persons had set up bank accounts in Hong Kong and South Africa in order to finance terrorism. Khama respected ruling Botswana Peoples Party, BDP, tradition of handing over power to his successor Eric Masisi a year to the 2020 general elections. He, however, clashed with Masisi months after stepping down over certain policy positions. In what became a threat to the BDP going into the vote, Khama openly backed the opposition candidates and campaigned against the ruling party. The party, however, won a first-round victory in the polls whiles maintaining their parliamentary majority. Khama has since been on the quiet till the corruption allegations surfaced.
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Supporters of exiled Gambian president hope for his return (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Three years after his ouster from power, supporters of Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh still hold him in high esteem and continue to dream of his eventual return. Jammeh left the country in January 2017 accepting an offer to live in Equatorial Guinea after losing the 2016 elections. He conceded defeat in the December 2016 polls before attempting to overturn the results citing irregularities. Talk of his return has routinely popped up in the West African country where he is wanted to respond to accusations of corruption and human rights abuses. The party he led to govern for over two decades, APRC, has routinely accused the government of president Admama Barrow of unjustly demonizing Jammeh despite his absence. One of his supporters said: “He is the only president who can develop the country, he is the only president whom you know that, when we speak with him he will know what we are talking about, he will understand what we are talking about.” Fabakary Tombong Jatta, APRC party head stressed Jammeh’s right to return but does not give specifics: “He has the right to come back and he will come back inshallah, he will soon come back, it’s just a matter of time. But he is almost on the way coming.” Gambia has set up a truth, reconciliation and reparations commission to investigate crimes committed under the Jammeh regime. It has heard shocking testimonies, including from hit-men who say they carried out dozens of murders for the regime. But Jammeh’s supporters reject these accusations. With evidence against his regime continuing to stack up, if Jammeh ever does decide to return to Gambia, he would almost certainly be risking prosecution.
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Al-Shabaab attack on Somalia military base claims 5 lives (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Barely a day after a terrorist attack on the presidential palace and a popular hotel in Somalia was foiled, a new attack was launched on an army base in north of the capital Mogadishu, according to reports. Five people were killed, and two injured in the Al-Shabaab attack on Hilweyne military base, on Wednesday evening. Local sources said a military officer and four civilians died in the attack. The militants burned two vehicles but didn’t take any equipment as they vacated the base. Back in Mogadishu, people were rebuilding from the carnage of Tuesday. Despite being in a sorry state, the SYL hotel is coming back to life according to reports. At least five people were killed. Three civilians and two members of the security forces. One of the survivors shared his sentiments. “So, after sunset and Maghreb prayers, armed men attacked the hotel, then jumped off the walls. Now we thank Allah for saving us. Eighty people were rescued by security forces after several hours of fighting with the terrorists inside the hotel. It was the fourth time since 2015 that the hotel had been attacked.
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Disappointment of sadio fans at the 2019 Ballon d'Or (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
On Twitter, several Internet users also expressed their disappointment that Sadio Mané did not appear on the podium. This is the case, for example, of the Ivorian football legend Didier Drogba himself, who arrived in 4th position in 2017 for the Golden Ball, who twitched, and I quote, “seeing you on the podium would have seemed so logical to me, but it must be said that as long as we do not show solidarity among Africans, we will never again have Golden Ball players like our big brother George Weah. Courage to you and keep making us dream, one day you will be crowned. “End of quote. 
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Black Friday travel offers: Was it a promotion? [Travel] (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
A large promotional campaign is carried out to encourage people to buy during Black Friday. And there’s no need to say if it works! Particularly considering the discounts offered by airline, one is tempted to take a trip to the other side of the world. Faced with numerous promotions with some offers too good to be true doubts creep into ones mind, the numerous complaints from some travellers, we noted two observations: The unreliable nature of airline ticket prices during Black Friday and the quotas offered by these companies, which were unable to sell even 10 seats. Intrigued, we interviewed Sami Chege, a travel professional. We asked him if Air Black Friday was really a promotion in view of the quotas made available by the companies?
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Saving Lake Chad Basin, Sahel: AU chief calls for African solidarity (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, AUC, has renewed calls for continental solidarity in helping combat twin scourge of terrorism and environmental degradation. Speaking at the Aswan Summit taking place in Egypt, the former Chadian Foreign Minister specifically mentioned the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin as two cases worthy of solidarity. He described the situation in both regions as “not normal.” “It is not normal that while the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin are burning, the rest of the continent is not showing greater solidarity towards these countries confronted with terrorism.” Terrorists ravaging the Sahel The Sahel regions expands across five countries dogged by terrorist activities by extremists who continue to carry out attacks across the vast desert region bordering the Sahara desert. Military interventions under the G5 Sahel group has failed to stem the course of violence over the years. The 5 nations involved are Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. The G5 force along with a French military mission have failed to stem the violence. The African Union and United Nations have repeatedly warned that the terrorists are gaining a foothold in the Sahel and called for global action to combat the scourge. The ever shrinking Lake Chad Basin In February 2018, a $6.5-million research and conservation programme to save the Lake Chad Basin was launched in the Nigerian capital Abuja. The participating countries were Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, whose borders meet on the lake, as well as the Central African Republic. Lake Chad is the principal source of freshwater for 40 million people. But climate change and water mismanagement have contributed to a staggering 90 per cent decline of the lake’s surface over the past 40 years. As it dries up and hunger rises, the region has become fragile and Boko Haram insurgents have targeted subsistence farmers and fishermen to fill their ranks. Troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria are fighting a battle against Boko Haram jihadists in the remote region. The ongoing Islamist insurgency has forced tens of thousands of people to cross borders in search of food and safety. The UN estimates that more than two million people have been uprooted from their homes and 10.7 million are in need of food handouts to survive.
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Visa on arrival for all Africans entering Nigeria, starting January 2020 (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Nigeria will issue visas on arrival for all African passport holders effective January 2020, president Muhammadu Buhari has announced. His tweet of the move this morning confirmed an earlier tweet on Wednesday by Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister. Ambassador Ahmed Awad wrote: “I wish to profoundly commend President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria who just announced at the Aswan Forum complete visa exemption for all Africans. “Starting January 2020 Africans will be able to arrive in Nigeria without visas. It’s such an exemplary decision. Thanks your Excellency.” But it was not till Thursday morning that Buhari tweeted the decision. stressing that it was part of Nigeria’s commitment “to supporting the free movement of Africans within Africa.” Nigeria is committed to supporting the free movement of Africans within Africa. Yesterday at the Aswan Forum in Egypt I announced that, in January 2020, we will commence issuance of visas at the point of entry into Nigeria, to all persons holding passports of African countries.— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 12, 2019 The regional bloc Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, of which Nigeria is part already guarantees free movement (visa-free entry) of citizens across the 16-member bloc. Analysts say the current move means that visitors will not need to fill out paperwork before they arrive. They can make the journey and get visas upon arrival at any of Nigeria’s entry points. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous and has the continent’s biggest economy. It was one of the last countries to sign up to the African Union’s continental free trade area deal. At the time, the president said it needed to consult with industry players before agreeing to the deal. From August this year, Nigeria unilaterally shut all its land borders creating a trade squeeze on its immediate neighbours. Niger, Chad and Benin were the worse affected countries to the blockade which Buhari says will be in place till the reasons for imposing them are eliminated – primarily the incidence of smuggling in and out of the country. Nigeria also boasts of Lagos, its commercial capital that is one of Africa’s biggest mega cities. Its bubbling tech and business landscape not forgetting its arts space has made it a key destination for investors and businesses. It, however, continues to grapple with the issue of bad roads and other infrastructure plus a notorious traffic situation in many parts of the city.
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Security high as Algeria holds controversial presidential vote (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Polls have opened in Algeria today (December 12) in highly controversial elections meant to usher in a new president since the forced resignation of long serving Abdul Aziz Bouteflika early this year. The polls were delayed by the resignation of Bouteflika amid a mass movement that kicked against the candidature of the ailing leader. But the protesters have continued their push for a postponement of the vote with weekly protests even after Bouteflika’s ouster. Their main demand being that the entire ruling elite steps down and the military quits politics before any elections are held. The army, seen as the strongest political player, stresses the importance of the vote saying it was the only way to restore order in Africa’s largest country – by land size. Reuters reported that early in the morning, it was quiet at one central Algiers polling station, though police were patrolling the city’s streets on foot and in vehicles. عينة من الشعب الجزائري تؤدي واجبها الإنتخابي pic.twitter.com/LoAKgFNJeP— APS | وأج ?? (@APS_DZ) December 12, 2019 “The country has entered a critical phase,” said Aziz Djibali, 56, who went to vote at a polling station near the prime minister’s office. “It’s time for Algerians to voice their opinions peacefully.” Skirmishes has been reported in east of Algiers where protesters reportedly ransacked a polling station. There are five aspirants on the ballot, but that all of them being former government appointees has not helped matters. Protesters have called for a boycott of the process. Of the five, there are two former prime ministers and two former government ministers, seen largely as people who cannot stand up to the army’s central role in the polls. Army chief Ahmed Gaed Salah has over the months issued stern warnings to people who he said wanted to threaten the security of the nation. He has described the vote as the most viable path to legitimacy of any government. Algeria, a former French colony, is a major natural gas supplier to Europe and has a population of 40 million. The winner of the poll will be the first in 20 years, that is how long Bouteflika stayed in charge.
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Congo: Women challenged to take up more leadership roles (Thu, 12 Dec 2019)
Entrepreneurs, traders, business leaders coming from Rwanda, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon, all shared their different experiences with leadership. Adriana Talensi, Sivi Malukisa, Daphnee Mayet told of their journeys full of challenges at the 3rd edition of the Biashara networking in Pointe-noire, Congo. “By being myself, by being a woman who works, a woman who knows what she wants to do. I am in a company I created in which I am the only investor. But in other businesses, I am associated with men. It is true that sometimes there are challenges, trying to impose on you, to impose to your qualities. I am the youngest and only woman. Indeed, sometimes it can be painful. There are so many myths: that the woman is weak, we must protect her… The woman needs us to think for her and tell her what to do. All we have to do is…As the panel’s theme said, impose yourself but gently. “To impose oneself through ideas,” said Sivi Malukisa, CEO, Manitech Congo. Africa holds the world record for female entrepreneurship, with 27% of women entrepreneurs,according to the latest figures published by the International Solidarity Organization Women in Africa. They represent half of the African population and produce 62% of the economic goods, with only 8.5% of women employees. According to some women, Africa attracts and fascinates. For fashion designer Adriana Talansi, the continent is a true source of wealth that inspires on a global scale especially in the field of fashion. “I think that African fashion was really inspired by us, I assure you especially when I did the Dior exhibition, I saw John Galliano was inspired by us. I saw Masai-mara necklaces, and today Dolce Gabbana for her 2020 collection is in Raphia. I think that today the African has understood the importance of consuming African goods,’‘ said Adriana Talansi fashion designer/ founder, Talansi brand. These enterprising women want to go further and they do not hide their ambitions,extending and varying their activities higher amidst enormous challenges. Nevertheless, there has been a significant improvement in women’s access to decision-making positions. But the problem of accessing finance remains a challenge.
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