Staff, 10:58 am
Authorities in Somalia have denounced the way refugees are being repatriated from neighbouring Kenya, after the Kenyan government announced it would close Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, by the end of 2016. Over the past five months, makeshift camps in Somalia’s southernmost border state have been swelling with families as thousands of refugees are repatriated as part of a UN scheme.
Staff, 7:23 am
The safari guide says there’s a leopard in a tree in the distance. “Now you’ve seen all the Big Five” the guide says with a grin. I see an overhanging fig branch. Come to think of it, that rhino looked more like a gray rock. Spotting the Big Five is the de facto safari bragging right, trumping anything bar the Great Migration. Big Five? Big tick, and mission accomplished. Isn’t this an outdated way to look at a safari? Truth is, the Big Five sells.
Staff, 10:20 am
The ICC’s reason for existence is to hold the most powerful accountable. Nine out of 10 of the ICC’s current investigations are in Africa, leading to allegations of bias. Despite 34 African nations voluntarily signing up to the court’s jurisdiction, in recent years a handful of governments have decided their idea of international justice is incompatible with the ICC. When Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was charged with crimes against humanity, the A.U. argued that heads of state should be entitled to immunity for the duration of their term.
Staff, 7:16 am
“Are you an Ashanti?” asked the teller at Ghana’s Kakum Rainforest Reserve. There are different entry fees at tourist attractions. The highest fees are reserved for foreigners. Students pay less. I had a brief flashback to my DNA test results, which traced 23% of my lineage to Ghana with Ashanti roots. I started to say “yes,” but I took too long. My guide answered for me. “No, she’s from the U.S.” Writer Starrene Rhett-Rocque reflects on her heritage and her first-ever trip to Ghana.
Staff, 7:00 am
Addis Ababa is fantastic for stylish coffee shops, but not so much for classic Ethiopian coffee ceremonies. So we headed to the walled city of Harar in the arid north of the country — not what you’d expect of one of the world’s leading coffee growing regions. Harar is an important trade center for coffee. Throughout the city, women were laying out beans to dry in the sun. We arrived at a small thatched hut with a dark interior that smelled of incense, earth, and the sweet aroma of coffee roasting in a pan over an open charcoal fire.
Staff, 3:04 pm
Efforts to set up a BRICS credit rating agency hit a roadblock Sunday. China is concerned and not in favor. Some members worry about lack of credibility and access to dependable data as they take on Wall Street’s Big 3 — S&P, Fitch and Moody’s. Fraud charges against South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan have raised fears the country is moving closer to a junk rating by Wall Street credit ratings services.
Staff, 1:08 pm
Russian and Egyptian airborne forces are conducting first-ever joint military exercises in Egypt, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday. The drill, code named “Defenders of Friendship 2016” is aimed at practicing joint anti-terrorist actions. Russia brought quad bikes to cross terrain inaccessible to tracked or wheeled armored vehicles. In 2015 the Russian and Egyptian Navies conducted first-ever joint naval drills in the Mediterranean.
Staff, 12:19 pm
Bitcoin remittances in Africa have not really taken off. The slowness of blockchain-based digital currency has been compared to the internet’s slow start, and how web use eventually became mainstream. Few consumer friendly applications have been created yet. Merchant adoption has been sluggish and there has been a lot of negative press regarding scams, money laundering and underground markets. Bitcoin growth is set to become exponential, especially in Africa. There are a number of reasons.
Staff, 7:19 am
Whale-watching season — June to September — just ended in South Africa. This is a good time to book for next year. Some of the best land-based whale watching can be found at De Kelders and De Hoop Nature Reserve. Don’t limit yourself to Hermanus. The Overberg region of the Western Cape is often overlooked, but it’s among the most beautiful destinations in South Africa with many luxurious escapes, five-star hotels, spas, boutiques, award-winning restaurants and wineries.
Staff, 7:54 am
On Tuesday, October 4, the Lagos State government appointed a convicted credit card fraudster and fugitive to head its Safety Commission. If approved by the House of Assembly, Hakeem Dickson, a former Internal Auditor at the now defunct Nigeria Airways, will resume as the Director General of the Lagos State Safety Commission despite fleeing from a 24-month jail term in the U.S.