Liberia: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 10:15 am
Many migrants who make it to Italy don’t tell friends and family about the hardship. A campaign that exposes the realities is now targeting potential African migrants on social media in 15 West and Central African countries — where most arrivals in Italy originate. Posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram give testimonials created by migrants in multiple languages. All end with the warning, “Be aware, brother” and “Be aware, sister.” A record 181,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2016 on flimsy boats operated by smugglers. Of those, 25,000 were mostly unaccompanied children. Arrivals in Italy are up 66% so far in 2017.
Dana Sanchez, 12:35 pm
Facebook beat Wall Street expectations for sales and user growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, and it credits Internet.org, its free basic version of the internet in developing countries, for helping make that happen. It added more users worldwide in the fourth quarter than any quarter since the company went public in 2012. Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is to get more Africans online. “This isn’t a purely altruistic venture,” an analyst said. Internet.org, is available in 23 African countries through partnerships with mobile operators.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:23 am AFKI Original
French cosmetics company L’Oreal has invested in organic beeswax in Mali, the surprise country for 2017. Economic growth should hover around 5-to-6 percent this year as agricultural production strengthens. Lack of investment or interest in the country in recent years means there are unexploited opportunities with many investors still sitting on the sidelines. Opportunities exist in cashews, biofuels, shea butter and cotton. This year should see some investors put cash into the country, especially in agriculture.
Dana Sanchez, 3:49 pm
A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara is the last unresolved African case on the U.N. Committee on Decolonization. The debate on readmitting Morocco to the A.U. was “an emotional call for the fight against colonization.” South Africa and Algeria were opposed. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said Morocco’s acceptance back into the A.U. was the will of the majority of member countries. Resolving the Western Sahara question will have to wait for another day. “Africa wants to speak in one voice. We need all African countries to be a part of that voice,” she said.
Dana Sanchez, 11:09 am
ECOWAS is credited with persuading Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to give up power. If there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that it takes some external persuasion to remove a dictator. “Forget Trump,” a commentator said. “We in Africa were watching the Gambia and the drama there as African leadership for once, stood up to a tyrant and insisted he respect the outcome of an election.” This regional intervention represents a paradigm shift in African governance, an exiled Zimbabwean judge said. It’s no longer dictatorship as usual in Africa.
Dana Sanchez, 1:15 pm
Tourism has been the fastest-growing sector of The Gambia’s economy until now, accounting for 18-to-20% of the country’s revenue. The country, population about 2 million, is marketed to vacationers as “the smiling coast of West Africa.” In the wake of the current political unrest, tourism revenue will likely fall 50%, a stakeholder said. The sector will have to rebuilt just as it was after the 1994 coup that brought longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh to power. “I feel sorry for everybody here,” an evacuating Brit said. “It’s going to take years for tourism to pick up again.”
Staff, 3:13 pm
Morocco’s investment in sub-Saharan Africa the past decade represents 85% of its overall foreign direct investment stocks. The story of its national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, testifies to its expansive economic ambition on the continent. Morocco has expanded economic ties with many African countries through trade and investments since it left the African Union. It now seeks to return to the A.U., boost these ties and settle the unresolved matter of the Western Sahara. It has support of 28 African countries. Leaving the A.U. was a “strategic mistake,” a stakeholder said. “Africa is our natural home.”
Staff, 1:38 pm
A four-page list of Africa-related questions from Trump’s transition team to the State Department suggests a U.S. pullback from development and humanitarian goals but not necessarily from trade. How does U.S. business compete with others in Africa? Are we losing out to China? How much U.S. funding is stolen due to corruption? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when people are suffering in the U.S.? Americans believe the U.S. spends 25% of its budget on foreign aid. In reality it’s closer to 1%.
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:03 am AFKI Original
Presidential term limits are a slippery thing. Occasionally they can seem like a good idea. Most of the time, not so much. That’s what makes these five upcoming African elections so riveting. Everyone is watching to see who replaces Liberia’s popular Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — Africa’s first female president. Will it be a former soccer player, or the ex wife of former Liberian President Charles Taylor? He was convicted of aiding crimes against humanity. She’s one of the most powerful woman in Liberian politics. Or it may be a former Coca-Cola executive, a former central bank governor or an attorney.
Dana Sanchez, 7:00 am
You need a visa to visit Eritrea, and another permit to go to Eritrea’s Dahlak Archipelago, a chain of 124 small islands and two larger ones in the Red Sea near Massawa. Off the beaten path doesn’t begin to describe it. You can expect pristine beaches and unparalleled marine life with few other tourists for miles. Dahlak’s pearl fisheries have been famous since ancient times. Charter yachts can be hired for scuba diving and pearl fishing. During years of war, fishery came to a halt in the area. The unexpected result of isolation? There are lots of fish and they aren’t shy.
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