Mon. Jan 20th, 2020

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Grand Support as Ahmed Returns Home

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopians gave a hero’s welcome to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his return from Oslo, Norway where he received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Award earlier this week. Major roads from the Bole International Airport to the National Palace were blocked this morning as hundreds of thousands line up along the streets to cheer the Prime Minister. Many people were seen waving photos of the PM, others had flags running along the entourage and giving security forces a hard time as they attempted to catch a glimpse of Abiy. The laureate was in the front seat of a car waving to the teeming crowds that were cheering him.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

Nigeria Relaxes Visa Policies for African Visitors

Nigeria Visa Policies

Nigeria says it will give all African travellers visas on arrival from January, dropping the requirement that they apply in advance. President Muhammadu Buhari said it showed Nigeria’s commitment to “free movement of Africans within Africa”. The announcement comes five months after Nigeria signed a deal aimed at promoting free trade on the continent. But Mr Buhari’s critics accuse him of being a protectionist, undermining the vision of pan-African unity. Research released by the African Development Bank (ADB) last month shows that Africans need visas to travel to just under half (49%) of other African countries. They could get visas on arrival in just over a quarter (26%) of states and did not need visas in a quarter (25%) of countries.

SOURCE: BBC

Rwandan Lawmakers Set Out a New Path

Rwandan Lawmakers

Three months after discussions to scrap all the country’s colonial-era laws kicked off, parliament has passed a law scrapping over 1,000 pieces of the legislation said to be outdated. Among the colonial laws is one that made it possible for Catholic Church missionaries to acquire so much land for the Church and until now it is still in its hands. That massive land grab by the Church was made possible by a decree of January 24, 1943, on free assignments and concessions to scientific and religious associations and public utility establishments by the Belgian government.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

Niger Army Ambushed in their Barracks

Niger Army Ambushed

President Mahamadou Issoufou cuts short trip to Egypt due to ‘tragedy’ at military camp in Inates, western Niger. At least 71 Nigerien soldiers have been killed in an attack on a military camp in the west of the country, according to the defence ministry. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which is believed to be the deadliest against Niger’s military in living memory. Niger is part of a five-nation task force known as the G5, set up in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad. Niger’s council of ministers has extended for another three months a state of emergency in place since 2017 in several regions to fight against rebel attacks, handing additional powers to security forces.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

A Chicken Eatery with a Taste for African Art

Nandos SA

South African chain, Nando’s started collecting art in partnership with arts consultancy Spier Arts Trust in 2001 and has since become owner of the world’s largest collection of Southern African contemporary art and design. The collection is designed to support regional artists, create unique spaces for restaurant customers, and make investments that should gain value over time, according to the chain. Nando’s restaurants, located in 24 countries, showcase a selection of the pieces, from furniture and light fittings to paintings and mosaics.

SOURCE: CNN

Facebook’s Achievements Since Push into Africa

Facebook's Achievements

Facebook released its ‘2019 Year in Review’ infographic, showcasing just some of its investments across Sub-Saharan in 2019.  Committed to giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together, throughout the year this translated into significant support and investments into growing the ecosystem of developers, entrepreneurs, creatives, and many other communities. During 2019, Facebook Africa: trained over 7,000 woman-owned businesses in digital skills across sub Saharan Africa; celebrated 79 Community Leadership Circle meetups with over 2 ,650 people attending; reached its 45th Developer Circle, with circles now in 17 African countries and representing more than 70,000 members.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

A Turbulent Year for African Airlines

African Airlines

African airlines continue to suffer due to high costs and are projected to show a loss of $200m next year, similar to the loss expected for 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association. The industry body said this is largely due to government taxes and fees, as well as low load factors. Furthermore, aviation markets in Africa are seen as “very fragmented and inefficiently served in the absence, so far, of a single African air transport market”, according to data. Data recently released by Iata showed that African carriers posted the fastest cargo growth of any region in October 2019, with an increase in demand of 12.6% compared to the same period a year earlier. Strong trade and investment links with Asia contributed to the positive performance.

SOURCE: FIN24

Microlenders Come for Women in Sierra Leone

Women in Sierra Leone

The world’s largest NGO has been forced to conduct an internal review of a money-lending scheme it runs for the poor in Sierra Leone after some borrowers amassed significant debts and were reported to police when they couldn’t repay loans. A Guardian investigation into a microfinance programme run by Brac found that the NGO’s staff were failing to fully explain the conditions of the loan to borrowers, or ensure they could afford the high interest rates associated with such loans. Brac, an NGO that provides financial services for people living in poverty, has 5.6 million borrowers globally, almost 90% of whom are women.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Rwanda Makes Feminine Hygiene More Affordable

Rwanda

A tax on sanitary pads has been scrapped in Rwanda to make them more affordable, the ministry of gender has announced. “Moving to the right direction, from now onwards, the Government of Rwanda has added Sanitary Pads to a list of goods that are VAT exempted in a bid to ease their affordability,’ Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion-Rwanda tweeted. Previously, an 18 per cent value added tax was placed on the pads. Consumers are yet to see if the move will reduce the price of sanitary pads in the shops. A pack of ten pads currently sells for around $1.07.

SOURCE: THE EAST AFRICAN

An Exclusive Look at Counter-poaching Efforts in Gabon

Counter-poaching Efforts

More than 70% of the African forest elephant species has been wiped out, primarily by poachers slaughtering them for their ivory.  Park rangers are on the front lines defending them. But in the Central African country of Gabon these park rangers, also known as eco-guards, aren’t going it alone. Now the U.S military is joining the fight by helping to train the rangers who protect the elephants.

SOURCE: VOA