Africa at a glance

Friday July 5 2019

Sudan protests

Sudanese wave their national flag at a rally outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum on April 13, 2019. The ruling generals and protest leaders reached an agreement on July 5 on the disputed issue of a new governing body. PHOTO | EBRAHIM HAMID | AFP 

The EastAfrican
By The EastAfrican
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  • Ministers thrash out Africa free-trade deal details

Ministers from across Africa are thrashing the finer details of a continent-wide free-trade area that will be launched this weekend in the Niger capital Niamey. With 52 of Africa’s 55 countries having signed on and Nigeria saying it will do so in Niamey, only Eritrea and Benin remain outside the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

However, agreement on institutional structures, the secretariat’s location, tariff withdrawal timelines and crucial regulations such as rules of origin are yet to be reached.

When operational, the bloc will create a free market of 1.2 billion people and integrate an economy of $2 trillion, encouraging trade and investments.

The agreement targets to raise intra-Africa trade from 16 per cent to 52 per cent by 2022 through removal of tariffs on continental exports that are typically six per cent higher than those on foreign ones.

  • Sudan parties agree on power sharing
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Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body Friday, in a breakthrough power sharing accord aimed at ending the country's months-long political crisis.

The landmark agreement came after two days of talks following the collapse of the previous round of negotiations in May over who should lead the new ruling body - a civilian or soldier.

"The two sides agreed on establishing a sovereign council with a rotating military and civilian (presidency) for a period of three years or little more," African Union mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt told reporters.

  • Somalia cuts off diplomatic links with Guinea

Somalia has severed friendly relations with Guinea after the west African country accorded head of state status to the leader of the breakaway Somaliland Republic Muse Bihi Abdi who is on a visit.

Mogadishu accused Guinea of violating sovereignty and unity of Somalia in the announcement made by foreign minister Ahmed Isse Awad following a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The action comes barely a week after Somalia protested over Kenya’s, with whom it has a maritime dispute set for hearing in September, reference to Somaliland as a republic.

  • South Africa's Malema to appeal apartheid law ruling

South Africa’s firebrand politician Julius Malema has said he will contest the dismissal of his case to have an apartheid-era anti-riot law declared unconstitutional.

The High Court on Thursday dismissed the case in which the Economic Freedom Party’s leader seeks to have 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act which governs public gatherings and incitement outlawed.

Malema, who has been charged two times under the law, said he would now take his battle to the constitutional court because “it does not have a place in a democratic South Africa.”

  • Illegal DR Congo miners demand artisanal rights

Hundreds of illegal miners forced out of a copper mine operated by Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a subsidiary of Swiss company Glencore, in Kolwezi wanted President Felix Tshisekedi to assign them rights to mine cobalt and copper on an artisanal basis.

Human rights organisations backing the artisanal miners want them allocated excavation sites to prevent them breaking the law and losing their lives digging in abandoned, privately owned mines.

Last month, the Congolese army ousted about 10,000 illegal miners from a site owned by Tenke Fungurume Mining of China in southeast DR Congo and more than 40 miners died when an off-limit mine collapsed.

  • Cameroon regulator fines telcos $6 million for breaches

The Telecommunications Regulatory Board has fined three companies – Orange Cameroun, MTN Cameroon and Viettel Cameroun a combined FCFA 3. 5 billion ($6.02 million) for failing to comply with a law on identifying subscribers.

Under the law meant to deter crime perpetrated through mobile phones, service providers are required to register all subscribers before they issue them with new lines. Orange was fined $2.6 million, MTN and Viettel $1.7 million each.

  • DR Congo banks raise dirty money alert

DR Congo lenders have agreed to raise their anti-money laundering game in the wake of US and European sanctions on Congolese officials over obstructing free and fair elections last year and violation of human rights.

The Congolese Association of Banks said it had urged its members to rigorously monitor the accounts of politically-exposed people".

Among those under sanctions is Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler, a close ally of ex-president Joseph Kabila, through whom the US Treasury department says DR Congo lost more than $1.36 billion in state revenues from under priced mining assets sold to his offshore companies between 2010 and 2012.

  • Kenya in dress rehearsal for World Rally Championship entry

More than competitors from seven countries, and a group of observers from three World Rally Championships (WRC) works teams are in Nairobi for a three-day test race whose success will lead to Kenya hosting a WRC event from next year.

It would be the first ranked rally in Africa since 2002 when the then Safari Rally was dropped by the International AutoMobile Federation (FIA) which regulates the sport over safety and organisation challenges.

Kenya has spent $2 million to host the 881 kilometre test rally which starts in Nairobi on Friday. It will run on closed roads and private farms and earn drivers points for the African Rally Championship.

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