JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – He has been a policeman, car assembly worker, trade unionist and platform sweeper at London’s Victoria station. To that list, Michael Sata, the man Zambians like to call King Cobra, can now add the job of president.
Coming just 10 years after he split from the former British colony’s ruling party to go it alone on a largely nationalist ticket, Sata’s victory over incumbent Rupiah Banda on Friday represents an astonishing ascent of the political ladder.
JOHANNESBURG/EAST OF SIRTE, Libya, Sept 21 (Reuters) – The
African Union (AU) said it was recognising Libya’s de fact
ruling council, removing another diplomatic support for the
ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The AU, which frequently has been criticised for its
ponderous reaction to events on its doorstep, said in a
statement it was ready to support Libya’s National Transitional
Council (NTC) in its efforts to build an inclusive government.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The African Union (AU) recognized the National Transitional Council (NTC) as Libya’s de facto government on Tuesday, removing another piece of diplomatic support for ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The pan-African body, which has frequently been criticized for its ponderous reaction to events on its doorstep, said in a statement it was ready to support the NTC in its efforts to build an inclusive government.
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 13 (Reuters) – African farm yields may
fall as much as 20 percent in the next four decades because of
climate change, placing a huge burden on a continent whose
population is set to double by 2050 to two billion people, a
conference heard on Tuesday.
Most experts say the poorest continent has to double its
food output by the middle of the century to feed itself, but
faces an uphill battle as more droughts and floods compound the
existing problems of poor access to finance and markets.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – An acute government funding crisis in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, is disrupting supplies of HIV/AIDS drugs and hampering the fight against the virus in the country with the world’s highest infection rate, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) said Friday.
Stocks of testing kits and related chemicals were “almost dry,” making it next-to-impossible to chart the progress of the 70,000 patients on therapy or more than 130,000 other people carrying the virus, the aid agency said.
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 2 (Reuters) – A cash crunch gripping
Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, intensified on
Friday after South Africa admitted it had not paid the first
slice of an emergency 2.4 billion rand ($342 million) in August,
as previously expected.
The absence of the loan, seen as the final lifeline for an
unelected administration that appears to have run out of money,
may mean civil servants receiving their pay late — if at all –
piling more political pressure on King Mswati III.
LILONGWE (Reuters) – Unlike the Internet-based popular protests that have swept North Africa and the Middle East, the biggest threat to embattled Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika may be from Christian churches.
With two-thirds of the impoverished southern African nation’s 13 million people living in villages and only now having basic mobile phones, let alone Internet-enabled ones, the power of technology to mobilise mass opposition is limited.
In November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Reuters a sharp devaluation of the birr at the start of September was a “one-off affair”.
The currency’s recent history suggests otherwise.
Since the middle of 2008, the currency of Africa’s second-most populous nation has tended to trade broadly flat against the dollar for 5-6 months, before devaluing sharply.
The cycle has held true four times in the last two years, over which time the unit has lost more than 40 percent of its value. It now stands at around 16.6 to the dollar, and the clock is ticking — it’s now 4-1/2 months since the birr last fell out of bed.
To celebrate the transition to “democracy” after 48 years of unbroken army rule, Myanmar’s generals have tweaked the country’s official title and introduced a new flag. Nothing unusual about that – changing name and appearance to make a break with the past has been a part of human and diplomatic society for centuries. What is not clear is why the former Burma’s secretive generals chose to make their new flag look quite so African.
Out has gone the red and blue de rigeur in southeast Asia, in favour of a white star on yellow, green and red stripes that to the untrained eye looks like it comes from a Bob Marley album cover or small West African republic.
Amid the flurry of changes in African economies and markets over the last 10 years, one of the most enduring constants has been the six-monthly assurance from Angola’s secrecy-obsessed leaders that a stock market will open next year.
The mantra received an alternative twist on Monday when oil minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos told an energy conference in New Delhi that Africa’s most tantalising bourse would now have to wait until inflation hit single digits.