Women’s World Cup: South Africa take their first point

Linda Motlhalo of South Africa celebrates with her team-mates after her goal …   –   Copyright © africanews
Alessandra Tarantino/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

By Rédaction Africanews with AFP

Argentina, trailing by two goals, managed to come back to the score against South Africa (2-2) on Saturday in Dunedin in New Zealand, the two teams of group G still have a chance to see the round of 16 of the World.

On an offering, South African Linda Motlhalo opened the scoring (30th), before her teammate Thembi Kgatlana doubled the lead (66th). In a committed and rhythmic match, the Argentines continued to put pressure and returned in 13 minutes, first thanks to Sophia Braun (74th) and then to Romina Nunez (79th).

This draw allows South Africa to obtain its first point in the Women’s World Cup. “We are obviously disappointed because we could have taken three points. But we still have a chance. We will get back to work and work on our game,” said South African defender Karabo Dhlamini.

Banyana Banyana have lost all of their matches in the group stage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, as well as their first game for this edition They are more seasoned this time around, having taken the advantage against Sweden before bow 2-1.

Note that the captain of the South African team, Refiloe Jane, was evacuated in the 22nd minute for an apparent injury to the left ankle. The midfielder fell after hitting an Argentine player in midair, who seemed unharmed.

The game was played in front of just 8,834 spectators at Dunedin Stadium, but those in attendance supported both teams.

Gambia: government revokes pharmaceutical company’s import license

Tainted cough syrup from India   –   Copyright © africanews

By Rédaction Africanews

The Gambian government has permanently revoked the importation licence of Atlantic Pharmaceutical Company Limited.

This decision comes after a task force reported on the death of over 70 children from kidney failure caused by tainted cough syrup imported from India.

As a result, the government has sacked two executives of its Medicines Control Agency. The matter has been transferred to the police for an investigation into the main charges, as authorities consider the executives have failed at their job.

The Task force recommended, the Ministry of Higher Education Research Science and Technology prioritize the establishment of a School of Pharmacy at the national university in order to meet the growing demand of Pharmacists in the country.

Reacting to the task force’s recommendations, Gambian Minister of Health, Dr Samateh, specified that an experienced firm is currently carrying out a review of all health-related Legislation in the country.

But also to review the laws and regulations surrounding the granting of importation licences and to instil stringent conditions to ensure that importers are approved based on their qualifications with a sense of accountability and responsibility, rather than being principally driven by profit.

Kenya’s Odinga denounces ‘unprecedented police brutality’ against protesters

Veteran Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga denounces “unprecedented police brutality” against anti-government demonstrators   –   Copyright © africanews
TONY KARUMBA/AFP or licensors

By Africanews with AFP


Veteran Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday denounced “unprecedented police violence” during the anti-government and anti-expense protests that have been taking place in the East African country in recent months.

Since March, the opposition coalition Azimio has organized nine days of action against the policies of President William Ruto, sometimes resulting in looting and clashes with the police. According to Azimio, at least 50 people have been killed since March, some 20 according to official figures.

“We are witnessing unprecedented police violence,” said Raila Odinga at a press conference for foreign media in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

“Police and gangs have shot and killed or wounded dozens of people at point-blank range”, he claimed, maintaining that “all the victims were unarmed”.

According to him, the violence was particularly aimed at the Luos, the ethnic group from which he hails.

Accusing the opposition of inciting violence, President Ruto affirmed on Wednesday his support for the police, who “must ensure that they are firm against criminals, gangs, anarchists and all those who want to sow chaos”.

Human rights organizations denounced the repression carried out by the police, who sometimes fired live ammunition. A coalition of 29 NGOs, including Amnesty International, claimed on Friday to have documented 27 “extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions” during the five days of action organized in July.

Instead of “peaceful demonstrations”, Azimio called for “marches and vigils of solidarity for victims of police violence”. “We call on Kenyans to come out, light candles and lay flowers” in their memory, it announced in a statement on Monday.

Elected in August 2022, William Ruto is facing growing opposition. In particular, he is accused of adding to the difficulties of Kenyans, already struggling with ongoing inflation (+8% year-on-year in June), with a law enacted in early July introducing new taxes.

“These protests were about the cost of living and excessive taxes, and they will continue”, said the opposition leader, despite the low turnout for the latest days of mobilization on Thursday and Friday.

Last week, the UN, the Commonwealth Secretariat and leading Kenyan media called on Ruto and Odinga to engage in dialogue. “We have always said that we are open to dialogue”, assured Mr. Odinga.

The opposition had cancelled demonstrations scheduled for April and May, after William Ruto had agreed to hold talks. The talks collapsed, leading to the resumption of actions since the beginning of July.

Central African Republic: last week of campaigning ahead of referendum

The Central African Republic will vote on a new draft constitution on July 30 2023.   –   Copyright © africanews

By Rédaction Africanews

Ahead of voting on July 30, the Central African Republic is entering its last week of campaigning for a referendum on a new draft constitution.

The draft constitution, the creation of which was ordered by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra in 2022, proposes removing the two-term limit on the presidency. It also would see a ban on dual citizens running for the top office. 

The opposition has called on voters to vote against the draft constitution or abstain. 

Yet, the head of the opposition, Anicet Georges Dologuélé, believes the vote is already set in favour of the draft. 

Dologuélé points to the lack of an electoral register, as well as the means of voting by any document in the absence of a voter’s card. The opposition also believes that the electoral bodies, in particular the National Elections Authority and the Constitutional Court, are in the hands of the state. 

The opposition leader believes that voting ‘no’ will not change the referendum result, saying that the campaign has been too short. 

Campaigning has been punctuated by protests held by critics of Touadéra and the oppositIon. Hundreds of people defied a protest ban on July 14 and rallied in the capital Bangui, under heavy escort from CAR security forces and armoured vehicles belonging to United Nations peacekeeping mission MINUSCA. 

Earlier, supports of the president held their own rally in Bangui on May 31, where Touadéra addressed the crowd, saying, “As far as I’m concerned, I think that the new constitution we’re going to introduce will help our country, the Central African Republic, to develop. That’s why I’m asking you all, when the time is right, to do as we say. Vote so that we can move the country forward.”

The campaign has reinforced societal divisions in a country already hard hit by a years-long civil war.

Kenyan authorities seize illegal shipment of doping materials

FILE – In this Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 file photo, junior athletes run past a sign …   –   Copyright © africanews
Ben Curtis/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.

By Rédaction Africanews with AP

Kenyan authorities seized a smuggled shipment of medication which can be used by athletes as performance-enhancing drugs, the country’s national anti-doping body said on Monday.

A woman was arrested on suspicion of smuggling and will appear in court this week, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya said. She was arrested at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi in a joint operation by police and anti-doping officials.

The operation happened last Thursday, the anti-doping body said in a statement. It said the illegal consignment contained 150 boxes of triamcinolone acetonide and other “doping” materials, including more than 500 boxes of other medications.

Kenya is among the most successful countries in international athletics with a rich history of winners in middle- and long-distance races at the Olympics and world championships.

However, it also has a serious doping problem and is classed as a high-risk country by track and field’s international anti-doping body.

Triamcinolone acetonide is among the most commonly used substances for Kenyan athletes who fail doping tests.

Kenya has more than 60 athletes serving bans for doping-related offenses.

Two top distance runners, Boston Marathon winner Diana Kipyokei and Betty Wilson Lempus, were recently given long bans after testing positive for triamcinolone acetonide.

They were also found guilty of tampering with evidence in a doping investigation.

Kipyokei was given a six-year ban and Lempus a five-year ban.

Nigeria to kick-start Africa’s campaign this Friday at women’s world cup

omen’s FIFA world cup   –   Copyright © africanews

By Rédaction Africanews

With Australia and New Zealand as hosts, the ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is finally here, a one of a kind.

Nigeria, nine-time African champions will be looking to change their fortunes at the World Cup. They face Olympic champions Canada in their first opening clash on Friday at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. They will also meet co-hosts Australia and Ireland in a tricky Group B.

The first country from the Arab region to ever qualify for a FIFA Women’s World Cup, Morocco will hope to make a mark at Australia and New Zealand 2023 while Zambia face 2011 World Champions Japan in their Group C opener before meeting Spain and Costa Rica.

Africa Cup of Nations champions South Africa, ready to make their second appearance at the Women’s World Cup will be hoping to record a win with their first match up against Sweden on 23rd July.

Morocco will then face South Korea on July 30, before finishing the group stage against Colombia on August 3.

West African Economic and Monetary Union ends Mali’s suspension

By Africanews

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) announced on Saturday the lifting of Mali’s suspension from its bodies and institutions.

Since January 2022 that Mali had been suspended from the organisation to sanction the junta’s intention to remain in power for five years.

Mali was also suspended from regional bloc, ECOWAS, following the first coup in August 2020.

The trade and financial sanctions were lifted in July 2022 following the junta’s announcement of a transition period until March 2024.

In June, the Malian people overwhelmingly approved the draft of a new Constitution, an important step on the road to a return to civilian rule in March 2024.

The China-Africa Trade Biennale bears fruitful results

China Africa Economic and Trade Exposition (CAETE), June 2023.   –   Copyright © africanews

By Rédaction Africanews

The third China-Africa economic and trade expo on the theme of common development for a shared future concluded on Sunday in Changsha city, with 10.3 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of projects signed.

Guided by the spirit of the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference, the Expo will focus on the “Nine Programs” for China-Africa cooperation and organize various events in various forms, attracting thousands of participants to Changsha, including Chinese and African dignitaries and diplomats, representatives of international organizations, financial institutions, business associations, chambers of commerce, and media, entrepreneurs, experts, and scholars. 

The expo aimed to boost business links between both parties while opening the Chinese market to products Made in Africa.

“The economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa has been expanding from traditional trade and engineering construction to digital, green and financial fields. In particular, the import of agricultural products from Africa shows great cooperation potential. All of these have strongly promoted the high-quality development of economic and trade cooperation between the two sides,” shared Wang Dong, deputy head, Department of Western Asian and African Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

The four-day event has attracted over 100 000 visitors and resulted in 74 cooperative projects, a first in the expo’s five-year history, according to statistics from the organizing committee.

African visitors claim that the Chinese market has much to offer their businesses and populations.

“[Chinese clients are] very, very good to deal with because they are very proactive, and they want to do business,” says Buyer from Zambia.

“We can transfer these skills from China to Mozambique, for Africa in general,” added an Exhibitor from Mozambique.

“Chinese equipment and machines are helping African people innovate and start businesses, change their lives, and make their lives more beautiful,” told a Buyer from Benin. 

The China-Africa economic and Trade expo is committed to building a new mechanism for China-Africa economic and trade cooperation, a new platform for the implementation of economic and trade initiative and a new window for Sino-African economic and trade cooperation at the sub-national level. 

China is Africa’s largest trading partner and its fourth-biggest source of investment. Official data show that bilateral trade between China and Africa totaled 282 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Egypt to strengthen ties

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly left, and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi walk during a welcome ceremony in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 24, 2023   –   Copyright © africanews

By Rédaction Africanews

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off a two-day visit to Egypt on Saturday, a trip that underscores the growing ties between the two countries.

Modi’s flight landed at Cairo’s international airport Saturday afternoon, coming from a four-day trip to the United States where he held talks with President Joe Biden, delivered a speech to the US Congress, and met with top American and Indian executives.

It’s the first state visit to Egypt by an Indian prime minister since 1997.

Modi and Madbouly held talks on strengthening Egyptian-Indo ties, according to Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency.

The talks were attended by senior government officials from both countries, MENA reported.

Modi is scheduled to hold talks with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Sunday.

The two countries would also sign a set of memorandums aimed at solidifying their ties.

Also on Sunday, Modi will visit a historic mosque, Al-Hakim, in Islamic Cairo, which was recently renovated with the help of the India-based Dawoodi Bohra community.

He is also scheduled to visit the Heliopolis War Cemetery to pay tribute to Indian soldiers who fought in World War I.

Modi’s visit comes six months after el-Sissi attended India’s Republic Day parade as an official guest.

In January, el-Sissi and Modi agreed on measures to increase the two-way trade in five years to $12 billion, up from $7.3 billion in 2021-22.

During el-Sissi’s visit, the countries also signed agreements on expanding cooperation in cyber security, information technology, culture, and broadcasting.

India is one of the top five importers of Egyptian products, including crude oil and liquefied natural gas, salt, cotton, inorganic chemicals and oilseeds.

Major Indian exports to Egypt include cotton yarn, coffee, herbs, tobacco, lentils, vehicle parts, ships, boats and electrical machinery.

More than 50 Indian companies have invested around $3.15 billion in various parts of the Egyptian economy, including chemicals, energy, textiles, garments, agri-business and retailing, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry.

Additional sources • AP

President Ramaphosa tells ‘adamant’ Putin ‘the war must end’ in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during their talks after a meeting with a delegation of African leaders on 17th June   –   Copyright © africanews
Ramil Sitdikov/Photo host Agency RIA Novosti

By Rédaction Africanews

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is in Russia as part of a peace-seeking delegation, on Saturday, told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the conflict in Ukraine had to stop.

“This war must be settled… through negotiations and through diplomatic means,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that his delegation, consisting of seven African leaders, “would like this war to be ended.

“This war is having a negative impact on the African continent and indeed on many other countries around the world,” Ramaphosa said ahead of formal talks with the Russian president.

On Friday, the delegation held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

“We have come to listen to you and through you to hear the voice of the Russian people,” said Comoros President Azali Assoumani, who currently heads the African Union.

“We wanted to encourage you to enter into negotiations with Ukraine,” he said.

African countries have been divided over their response to the conflict, with some siding with Ukraine, while others have remained neutral or gravitated towards Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday gave African leaders seeking to mediate in the war in Ukraine a list of reasons why he believed many of their proposals were misguided, pouring cold water on a plan already largely dismissed by Kyiv.

The African leaders were seeking agreement on a series of “confidence building measures”, even as Kyiv last week began a counteroffensive to push back Russian forces from the swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine that they occupy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said after meeting them in Kyiv on Friday that peace talks would require Moscow to withdraw its forces from occupied Ukrainian territory, something Russia has said is not negotiable.

Putin opened Saturday’s talks with representatives of Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, Uganda, Congo Republic, Comoros and South Africa in a palace near St Petersburg by stressing Russia’s commitment to the continent.

But after presentations from the Comoran, Senegalese and South African presidents, he stepped in to challenge the assumptions of the plan – predicated on acceptance of internationally recognised borders – before the round of statements could go any further.

Putin reiterated his position that Ukraine and its Western allies had started the conflict long before Russia sent its armed forces over the border in February last year, something they deny.

He said the West, not Russia, was responsible for a sharp rise in global food prices early last year that has hit Africa especially hard.

He told the delegation that Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports that Russia has permitted for the past year were doing nothing to alleviate Africa’s difficulties with high food prices because they had largely gone to wealthy countries.

And he said Russia had never refused talks with the Ukrainian side, which had been blocked by Kyiv. Moscow has, however, repeatedly said any peace must allow for “new realities”, meaning its declared annexation of five Ukrainian provinces, four of which it only partially controls – a red line for Kyiv.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in televised remarks that Moscow shared the “main approaches” of the African plan, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying it was “difficult to realise”.

Peskov said Putin had shown interest in the plan, whose 10 points South African President Cyril Ramaphosa laid out in his presentation, and Russia would continue dialogue with the African countries.

Lavrov said they had not brought the Russian leader any message from Zelenskiy.

Putin said Moscow was “open to constructive dialogue with anyone who wants to establish peace on the principles of fairness and acknowledgement of the legitimate interests of the parties”.

There was no immediate word on the bilateral talks that Ramaphosa, host of a summit in August featuring Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, had said he would have with Putin.

Since the International Criminal Court indicted Putin in March on war crimes charges – which he rejects – South Africa, as a member of the court, finds itself in the awkward position of being obliged to arrest him if he sets foot there.

Additional sources • AFP