Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Stumbling block for the Pharaohs?

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Egypt might have won the last two African Nations Cup tournaments but the Pharaohs seem to have hit a stumbling block when it comes to the World Cup.

For all their prowess at the last two continental championships, and their glittering array of successes at club level, Egyptian soccer is becoming increasingly haunted by the spectre of continued failure to make it to biggest footballing showpiece of them all.

That means a pressured preparation for the country ahead of the start of the vital final phase of qualifiers for the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Already protesting supporters have managed to disrupt training during the week in Cairo as the Pharaohs prepared for Sunday’s Group C game against Zambia.

Does Madonna do Malawi any favours?

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Malawi, an impoverished Southern African nation, rarely makes international headlines. But when rumours spread that U.S. pop star Madonna, who adopted a child from the country, will visit, it makes news. Malawian officials say she will visit again this month.

Madonna has said she may adopt a second child from Malawi, despite the controversy over the earlier adoption. Critics accused the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in Malawi, which has been badly hit by an AIDS epidemic.

Who can stop Al Ahli?

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 There was a familiar feel to the African Champions League again last weekend as holders Al Ahli of Egypt made their entrée into this year’s competition.
 It was yet another rudimentary win for the Cairo club in their first game in defence of their title; a 3-0 triumph over Tanzanian opponents Young Africans achieved with several high profile stars rested and the minimum of fuss.
 Al Ahli had a bye in last month’s first round, along with several other leading contenders, but while many of the other top north African clubs struggled in their first games, the Egyptians again glided through.
 Al Ahli will travel to Dar-es-Salaam for the second leg of the tie on April 4, confident of again brushing aside the early preliminaries and making sure of their place in the lucrative league phase, which starts in July.

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Did Dalai Lama ban make sense?

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Organisers have postponed a conference of Nobel peace laureates in South Africa after the government denied a visa to Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who won the prize in 1989 – five years after South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu won his and four years before Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk won theirs for their roles in ending the racist apartheid regime.

Although local media said the visa ban followed pressure from China, an increasingly important investor and trade partner, the government said it had not been influenced by Beijing and that the Dalai Lama’s presence was just not in South Africa’s best interest at the moment.

Can local resources power Rwanda?

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Africa is the least electrified continent on the planet and getting power into the homes of millions of people who don’t have electricity is an enormous challenge.

Rwanda is Africa’s most densely populated country and 9 out of 10 people there don’t have electricity. The government is now tapping its own natural resources such as the methane deposits under Lake Kivu to try to meet the country’s growing energy
demands. 

Getting children into school in Ghana

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More than a million children in Ghana don’t go to school because they have to work to help their parents pay the bills.

One woman in the capital, Accra, is trying to persuade working kids to give up their jobs and go to school instead.

Africa back to the old ways?

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The overthrow of Madagascar’s leader may have had nothing to do with events elsewhere in Africa, but after four violent changes of power within eight months the question is bound to arise as to whether the continent is returning to old ways.

Three years without coups between 2005 and last year had appeared to some, including foreign investors, to have indicated a fundamental change from the first turbulent decades after independence. This spate of violent overthrows could now be another reason for investors to tread more warily again, particularly as Africa feels the impact of the global financial crisis.

Madagascar: a slow-motion coup

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It seems Madagascar’s slow-motion coup has at last come to a head with the removal of President Marc Ravalomanana, announced almost casually in a text message from one of his aides.

The change has been a long time coming — the first outbreaks of violence were in January — and it’s all rather different from what many would regard as the traditional African coup d’etat.

Welcome to Ugawood

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Welcome to Ugawood, Uganda’s fledgling movie industry.

The country’s film-makers may only have limited production skills and equipment but they’re determined to grow the industry until it can compete with Nigeria’s Nollywood and other more established film industries in Africa.

“We’ve just started, I believe Nigerians are somewhere … but we will get there as time goes on,” film director Joseph Mabirizi told Reuters Africa Journal.

Madagascar: How bad can it get?

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How bad can things get in Madagascar? Dissident soldiers said they had deployed tanks in the capital on Friday and the president urged the population to repel the mutineers.

In a worst case scenario, tanks in Antananarivo could lead to battles between the police and the presidential guard — who remain loyal to President Marc Ravalomanana — against mutinous troops and members of the military police.

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