West and Central Africa Correspondent
David's Feed
Mar 5, 2015

Blackstone eyes opportunities in African power shortages

DAKAR (Reuters) – Private equity will play a key role in developing Africa given the massive needs for capital on the continent, says Blackstone Group (BX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which is focusing on infrastructure projects involving power generation and transmission.

CEO Steve Schwarzman said he would continue to seek partners like Aliko Dangote — Africa’s richest man, with whom Blackstone has a $5 billion joint venture — to ensure that Blackstone’s experience and deep pockets are matched by local nous and relationships.

Feb 22, 2015

‘Timbuktu’ director wants more cinema from West Africa

DAKAR, Feb 22 (Reuters) – The Oscar nomination of
“Timbuktu”, a film about the occupation of the Malian desert
town by al Qaeda-linked Islamists in 2012, should not mask the
lack of established cinema from West Africa, its director said.

Up for the Best Foreign Language Film at Sunday’s ceremony,
Abderrahmane Sissako’s film has already won two awards at this
year’s Cannes Film Festival and seven at the Cesar Award’s,
France’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Jan 20, 2015

Dutch UN attack helicopters strike Mali rebels in north

DAKAR (Reuters) – Dutch United Nations attack helicopters carried out air strikes on Tuareg rebel forces in northern Mali on Tuesday, the first such engagement by Dutch forces serving in the U.N. mission in Mali.

The U.N. mission, known as MINUSMA, said it was responding to heavy weapons fire directed at its peacekeepers in the town of Tabankort. It said the helicopters only destroyed a rebel vehicle after firing warning shots that were ignored.

Jan 15, 2015

African states must overcome distrust for Boko Haram force to work – U.N.

DAKAR, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The four African nations most
threatened by Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram must put aside
mutual distrust and agree on a command structure and strategy
for a fledgling regional force if they want to defeat the
militants, a top U.N. official said.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, U.N. Special Representative for West
Africa, said the international community could only help Nigeria
and neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon once they clearly laid
out the assets they lacked to fight Boko Haram.

Jan 7, 2015

FBI questions U.S.-based Gambian civil society leader over coup plot

DAKAR/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Gambian civil society leader based in the United States said on Wednesday he had been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over a failed coup plot allegedly planned on U.S. soil.

Federal prosecutors have already charged a Texas businessman and a former U.S. Army sergeant over the failed Dec. 30 plot to oust President Yahya Jammeh while he was away from the tiny West African nation.

Dec 4, 2014

Insight – While diplomats fret, Burkina backs military to drive reform agenda

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – When Colonel Isaac Zida swapped his military fatigues for a blue suit to chair his first cabinet meeting as prime minister of Burkina Faso, his intended audience may have been the West and its African allies.

While some diplomats have voiced unease about the military’s role in politics since protests toppled long-time ruler Blaise Compaore in October, few Burkinabe are concerned as long as the soldiers protect their ‘revolution’ and push through demanded reforms.

Dec 4, 2014

While diplomats fret, Burkina backs military to drive reform agenda

OUAGADOUGOU, Dec 4 (Reuters) – When Colonel Isaac Zida
swapped his military fatigues for a blue suit to chair his first
cabinet meeting as prime minister of Burkina Faso, his intended
audience may have been the West and its African allies.

While some diplomats have voiced unease about the military’s
role in politics since protests toppled long-time ruler Blaise
Compaore in October, few Burkinabe are concerned as long as the
soldiers protect their ‘revolution’ and push through demanded
reforms.

Nov 16, 2014

U.N. scraps clinic contract as Ebola exposes Mali readiness gaps

DAKAR (Reuters) – The United Nations mission in Mali has canceled plans to renew a contract with a private clinic providing care to its peacekeepers after a case of Ebola was missed and spread from there.

This second Ebola alarm in Mali, coming just as it seemed to have contained its first case last month, raised doubts about the country’s ability to protect itself from the epidemic that is ravaging three other states in West Africa. More than 5,000 people have died, almost all in Liberia, Sierra Leone and in Guinea, which shares an 800 km (500 mile) border with Mali.

Nov 2, 2014

“One game too far” – the downfall of Burkina Faso’s president

DAKAR, Nov 2 (Reuters) – In the build-up to this past week’s
mass protests in Burkina Faso that ended Blaise Compaore’s
27-year rule, statesmen from French President Francois Hollande
to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent him messages
with increasing urgency.

The meaning was clear: step aside with reputation intact and
a high-profile international job, or risk an undignified exit.

Oct 24, 2014

Fear and indifference leave West Africa desperate for Ebola staff

DAKAR, Oct 24 (Reuters) – When Australia offered more than
$2 million last month to the medical charity leading the fight
against Ebola in West Africa, Medecins Sans Frontieres bluntly
rejected it.

What was urgently needed from rich Western countries, MSF
said, was not more money but doctors and nurses.