Africa at a glance – The East African

Africa at a glance – The East African

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Kenya retired bank notes to make $10,000 briquettes

The central bank of Kenya says about 210 million $10 bank notes that were retired on Monday will be shred and compressed into briquettes each with a face value of $10,000.

Thoughts that this was a novel attempt at conservation were quickly dispelled with the Governor Patrick Njoroge saying the briquettes could be burned.

With each briquette comprising $10,000 of the withdrawn notes analysts wondered whether the 210,000 pieces could be added to the growing list of unique collector items.

Egypt’s al-Sisi reaches out to the masses after protests

Egyptian authorities have freed Sudanese student Waleed Abdulraham who was detained during a crackdown on rallies against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Khartoum’s embassy in Cairo said Wednesday.


The release was one of al-Sisi’s attempts at winning over local and international critics with promises that his government was fixing the economy and open to criticism

Since returning from the US on Sunday he has announced restoration of sugar and oil subsidies to vulnerable groups and authorities have released some of the 2,000 people detained after the protests with no charge.

Zimbabwe’s central bank eases ban on mobile cash payouts

Zimbabwe’s central bank on Wednesday restored cash transactions involving mobile money services which it had banned on Monday.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said it had enhanced monitoring of the system to prevent abuse by agents who were charging commissions in excess of 40 per cent.

The country is short of banknotes and commercial banks ration withdrawals meaning most electronic financial transactions are carried out on cellphones.

Uncertainty, mistrust hits Western Sahara talks

Uncertainty has gripped talks aimed at resolving the Western Sahara conflict following the resignation of former UN evoy Horst Kohler in May on health grounds.

UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres said in a report to the Security Council that he hoped to sustain the momentum that Kohler had built in the political process through a series of roundtables involving Morocco, Frente Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania.

A ceasefire between the parties has held since April but without Kohler’s successor planned monthly meetings have been hit by “continued lack of trust between the parties,” Guterres said.

A successor to Kohler is yet to be found despite the UN renewing the mandate of MINURSO that is monitoring the ceasefire in the region seeking independence from Morocco.

eSwatini workers clash with police in salary protests

Angry teachers and government workers clashed with police in the kingdom of eSwatini on Wednesday as they rallied to demand better pay and lower living costs.

Civil servants took to the streets in Manzini, the absolute monarchy’s second largest town, continuing countrywide strikes that started last month.

They accuse King Mswati III of spending public money on expensive trips abroad and royal ceremonies at the expense of their salaries.

Seven pregnant women, girls escape Lagos ‘baby factory’

Police in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos said Wednesday they had busted another illegal maternity unit where captives were impregnated and forced to give birth to babies for sale.

Authorities found the compound in Isolo district after seven pregnant women and girls fled the centre.

The revelation came just a few days after police said they had rescued 19 expectant mothers from several similar facilities in another area of the city.

Baby boys are typically sold for 500,000 naira ($1,400) while girls fetch 300,000 naira ($840) after their mothers are lured to the “factories’ with promises of domestic work.

Developing country debt jumps to $7.8 tn in 2018

Sub-Saharan Africa debt levels rose by eight percent as total foreign debt held by developing nations jumped more than five percent to $7.8 trillion.

The World bank said in a report on Wednesday that the surge was driven by Chinese credit, up by 15 per cent, as well as the International Monetary Fund’s record aid to Argentina.

Half the developing countries have seen their external debt double over the past decade but World Bank president David Malpass flagged lack of transparency on debt levels and its composition.

WTO ruling portends new round of US-EU trade war

The United States says it will slap tariffs on $7.5 billion of goods from Europe starting October 18 in retaliation to illegal subsidies on Airbus.

The US action follows a favourable ruling by the World Trade Organisation that found that Britain, France, Germany and Spain extended subsidies to a range of Airbus products.

The ruling on the 14-year dispute was welcomed by President Donald Trump as a big win but Brussels said it would “do the same” if US imposed the counter measures.

The US has a leeway to impose duties of up to 100 percent but its trade officials said they would not go that far and were ready to negotiate a resolution.


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