Deputy Bureau Chief, Southern Africa
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Jun 29, 2015

U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ after former Lesotho army chief killed

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The United States said on Monday it was “deeply concerned” after Lesotho’s former army chief was shot dead last week, an incident that risks sparking instability in a small mountainous kingdom of strategic importance to South Africa.

Former Lesotho Defence Force commander Maaparankoe Mahao was shot dead by soldiers in his village home on June 25, according to local media reports. Lesotho’s government and military spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment.

Jun 17, 2015

Black challenger threatens ANC across South Africa’s racial divide

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Young, charismatic and pro-business, South Africa’s first black opposition leader, Mmusi Maimane, could be the poster boy for the racially inclusive, socially equal “Rainbow Nation” envisioned by the late Nelson Mandela.

Unfortunately for Maimane, two decades after the end of apartheid, South Africa is still racially divided, starkly unequal and his party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), is struggling to shake off its image as a white, elitist movement.

Jun 14, 2015

South Africa court bars indicted Sudan leader from leaving

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A South African judge barred Sudan’s indicted president from leaving the country on Sunday, in a deepening rift between Africa and the West over what Pretoria called anti-poor country bias in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

President Omar al-Bashir, visiting South Africa for an African Union summit, stands accused in an ICC arrest warrant of war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict. He was first indicted in 2009.

May 20, 2015

Amid yachts of rich elite, Angola’s poor crushed by oil price drop

LUANDA, May 20 (Reuters) – A halving of oil prices last year
has increased hardship in Angola, one of the world’s most
unequal countries, and stirred resentment towards President
Eduardo dos Santos, the leader of Africa’s second largest crude
exporter for the last 36 years.

Angola’s government, which relies on oil sales for 95
percent of foreign exchange revenues, slashed a third off its
budget after a glut in global production caused a halving of oil
prices last year.

May 19, 2015

Angola’s blooming banana plantations offer new hope for farming

CAXITO, Angola, May 19 (Reuters) – After decades of civil
war destroyed Angola’s fertile farmland and a booming oil
industry pushed out all other commerce, Santa Rodrigo wondered
how she could ever bring up her five children in the poverty
that surrounded them.

Angola’s government spends more on its military than any
other department, and is often criticised for failing to answer
the needs of its population – there are many like Rodrigo -
while industries like manufacturing and food production have
collapsed.

May 14, 2015

Journalist trial puts Angola’s reputation in the dock

LUANDA (Reuters) – An Angolan journalist who accused generals of human rights abuses in the illicit diamond trade faces libel charges in court on Thursday in a case that is putting the spotlight on a major African oil-producer keen to improve its reputation abroad.

Rafael Marques de Morais’ 2012 book “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola” detailed more than 100 alleged killings and torture of civilians and workers at diamond mines owned by senior Angolan army officers.

Apr 28, 2015

Xenophobia row exposes rivalry between South Africa and Nigeria

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The recall of Nigeria’s top diplomat after a spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa follows several similar spats that expose the two countries’ deep rivalry for economic and political dominance in Africa.

Nigeria’s Acting High Commissioner to South Africa Martin Cobham said on Saturday he had been “invited” to Abuja to discuss this month’s anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa, which have killed at least seven people.

Apr 7, 2015

South Africa detains girl trying to join Islamic State

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African authorities detained a 15-year-old girl who was travelling to join Islamic State, the state security ministry said on Monday, the country’s first known arrest linked to the militant group.

The ministry said it was investigating whether Islamic State had a recruitment network in South Africa.

Mar 24, 2015

Battle for African Internet users stirs freedom fears

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Google and Facebook are at the forefront of a scramble to win over new African Internet users, offering freebies they say give a leg-up to the poor but which critics argue is a plan to lock in customers on a continent of 1 billion people.

Africa’s Internet penetration will reach 50 percent by 2025 and there are expected to be 360 million smartphones on the continent by then, roughly double the number in the United States currently, Mckinsey Consultants data shows.

Mar 16, 2015

With iCow and M-Farm, smartphones reboot African agriculture

JOHANNESBURG, March 16 (Reuters) – Wider smartphone and
Internet access has allowed technology firms to reach remote
African farmers with apps providing veterinary diagnoses, crop
planting guidance and virtual marketplaces.

Human food production will need to increase 70 percent by
2050 to meet rising demand and Africa is home to more than half
of the world’s unused arable land, according to United Nations
research.

    • About Joe

      "Joe is Reuters deputy bureau chief for southern Africa, covering ten countries in the region out of Johannesburg. Joe has previously been based in Abuja, Nigeria and London."
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