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Aug 11, 2013

Tough-talking ex-PM favourite as Malians vote to turn page on turmoil

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Malians vote on Sunday in the second round of a presidential poll with a tough-talking ex-prime minister the favourite to win an election meant to offer the country a fresh start after a coup and Islamist rebellion last year.

The victor in Sunday’s ballot will oversee more than $4 billion (2.58 billion pounds) in foreign aid promised to rebuild the West African nation, after France sent thousands of troops in January to break the grip of al Qaeda-linked rebels over its desert north.

Aug 9, 2013

Frontrunner in Mali election runoff pledges to reinforce peace

BAMAKO (Reuters) – The frontrunner in Mali’s presidential election wound up his campaign on Friday with a promise to restore peace and dignity to the West African country scarred by a coup and Islamist uprising last year.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 68, an ex-prime minister with a reputation for toughness, won last month’s ballot with nearly 40 percent of the vote – but fell short of a majority. He will face ex-finance minister Soumaila Cisse in a runoff on Sunday.

Jul 21, 2013

China brings goods and roads, now Africa wants jobs

DAKAR, July 21 (Reuters) – China has brought cheap consumer
goods, roads and schools to many parts of Africa over the last
decade but the continent’s leaders are increasingly pushing for
it to provide more of what many Africans want most: jobs.

From Pretoria to Abuja, governments have begun voicing
frustration that China’s use of Africa as a source of natural
resources and a market for its goods may be hindering the
continent haul its billion people out of poverty.

Jul 4, 2013

U.N. seeks $1 billion to feed Sahel, says Syria distracting

DAKAR (Reuters) – The United Nations appealed on Wednesday for more than $1 billion to help feed 11 million people at risk across Africa’s arid Sahel belt, warning that the crisis in Syria was distracting donors from the humanitarian situation there.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that this year’s war in northern Mali, where a French-led military campaign destroyed an Islamist enclave, had worsened annual food shortages across the region.

Jun 28, 2013

Senegal president asks Obama for more help against Islamists

DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegalese President Macky Sall said on Friday he had asked U.S. President Barack Obama to provide more help to African nations fighting an Islamist threat in the Sahara, particularly in the sphere of military training, hardware and intelligence.

Sall, who held talks with Obama in Dakar on Thursday on the first leg of a three-nation African tour, said they had discussed the menace from al Qaeda-linked groups in the vast and lawless desert region, which runs east to west across Africa.

Jun 27, 2013

In Africa, Obama lauds democracy but urges progress on gay rights

DAKAR (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, kicking off a long-awaited African tour, lauded a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage as a victory for democracy and urged African nations to end discrimination against homosexuals.

In only his second visit to Africa since taking office, Obama hailed the advance of democracy there and said he was looking at ways to extend the AGOA free trade agreement, due to expire in 2015, to create more jobs on the world’s poorest continent.

May 13, 2013

IFC boosts lending to Africa as private sector interest rises

DAKAR, May 12 (Reuters) – The World Bank’s investment arm
will increase lending to sub-Saharan Africa by up to a quarter
this year as private sector companies flock to the fast-growing
region, its vice-president said.

Jean-Philippe Prosper said the International Finance
Corporation (IFC) would make new investments of between $4.5 and
$5 billion for the fiscal year ending in June, up from $4
billion the previous year.

May 8, 2013

Chad emerges as African power broker as France steps back

PARIS/DAKAR (Reuters) – Chad’s President Idriss Deby, a survivor of countless rebellions, has stepped into a void left by Africa’s traditional heavyweights and turned his desert nation into a powerbroker as France disengages from its former colonies.

The success of Chad’s 2,000 battle-hardened troops in a French-led mission to hunt down al Qaeda fighters in the deserts of northern Mali has marked it out as the only African nation to quickly deploy an effective fighting force.

Apr 23, 2013

Senegal minister hopes ex-president son’s arrest sets example

DAKAR (Reuters) – The arrest of the former president’s son on corruption charges in Senegal should be taken as a sign that the age of impunity in public life is over, Justice Minister Aminata Toure said on Tuesday.

Karim Wade, the most powerful figure in his father Abdoulaye Wade’s 2000-2012 government, was arrested last week on suspicion of amassing up to $1.4 billion (918.4 million pounds) in assets via a network of shady holding companies.

Apr 9, 2013

West African bloc to grow 6.5 pct this year- cenbank chief

DAKAR, April 9 (Reuters) – Growth in the eight-nation West
African Economic and Monetary Union will hit 6.5 percent this
year thanks to a post-crisis recovery in regional powerhouse
Ivory Coast but governments need to press ahead with reforms,
the Central Bank chief said.

Speaking as part of a Reuters Africa Investment Summit,
Tiemoko Meyliet Kone said strong commodities demand from
emerging economies such as China and India would help the
currency bloc shrug off the effects of an economic slowdown in
Europe, traditionally its main trading partner.