By Darren Lewis, Nimi Princewill and Chris Liakos, CNN
Updated 10:17 AM EST, Tue February 7, 2023
International football player Christian Atsu has been found alive and is in “stable condition” at a local hospital following Monday’s earthquake in southern Turkey, the Ghana Football Association and Atsu’s agent said on Tuesday.
“We’ve received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment. Let’s continue to pray for Christian,” the Ghanaian FA posted on Twitter.
Atsu’s agent, Nana Sechere, told CNN on Tuesday that his client was in a “stable” condition at a local hospital after being successfully rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building. Atsu was not immediately accounted for in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Atsu, who plays for Hatayspor in Turkey, had been celebrating on Sunday night after he scored a last minute winner in his club’s 1-0 home league game against Kasimpasa, his agent said.
“There were lots of reports out of England and Ghana that Christian was safe, but the first official confirmation I had was on Tuesday morning,” Sechere said.
“I was told by the club that he was in hospital and that he is stable. He doesn’t have his phone and, like all of us, he can’t remember his numbers by heart so I have to continue to wait to speak to him,” he said.
Sechere said that Atsu had been playing poker until 3:30 a.m. local time with friends on Monday and got home around four in the morning.
The agent said he received a call from Hatayspor club officials at 5 a.m. saying the building Atsu was in had been completely destroyed and that they couldn’t get hold of him.
“The last I’d heard from Christian was midnight. I was hoping he was awake and that the earthquake hadn’t happened while he was sleeping,” Sechere said.
“His building was an 11-story building and he was on the ninth floor. The club officials were trying to help me find him, but it was so hard because, understandably, they were trying to find their own friends and families as well,” he added.
“But I even remember when he signed for Hatayspor and we went to the hospital for a medical. Even then it was busy with people queuing and people on the floor. So I can only imagine what it is like with this situation,” Sechere said.
Atsu’s former club Everton said on its official Facebook page: “We are relieved to hear Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued and is recovering in hospital. Our thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.”
More than 5,000 deaths have been confirmed in Turkey and Syria with over 21,000 people injured following earthquakes that rocked the region on Monday.
In Turkey, casualties were reported in 10 provinces, including Hatay, which is home to Atsu’s football team Hatayspor.
He had previously represented top English clubs such as Chelsea, Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle.
Media tycoon arrested over Cameroon journalist’s death
A media tycoon in Cameroon has been arrested in connection with the killing of the prominent radio journalist, Martinez Zogo.
The businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, the owner of L’Anecdote media group, was arrested just before dawn.
Zogo was abducted three weeks ago outside a police station in Yaoundé. His body was found heavily mutilated five days later.
The authorities announced last week that they had made several arrests in connection with the killing.
Three years ago another Cameroonian journalist, Samuel Wazizi, disappeared then died in state detention and an investigation into his death was not made public.
Cameroon ranks 118th out of 180 countries on the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.
“Although Cameroon has one of the richest media landscapes in Africa, it is one of the continent’s most dangerous countries for journalists, who operate in a hostile and precarious environment,” says the watchdog.
UN: Fake medicines kill almost 440,000 sub-Saharan Africans a year
By CGTN Africa
In sub-Saharan Africa, as many as 267,000 deaths per year are linked to falsified and substandard antimalarial medicines, a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report found.
In addition, up to 169,271 are linked to falsified and substandard antibiotics used to treat severe pneumonia in children.
Trafficking these products is also taking a direct economic toll on affected countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that caring for people who have used falsified or substandard medical products for malaria treatment in sub-Saharan Africa costs between 12 million to 44.7 million U.S. dollars every year.
International operations saw more than 605 tons of medical products seized in West Africa, between January 2017 and December 2021. Typically, these products travel through mainstream international trade channels, mainly by sea.
At the same time, the UNODC report states that investigations have uncovered a variety of actors involved in the illicit medical product trade. Traffickers include pharmaceutical company employees, public officials, law enforcement officers, health agency workers and street vendors.
The African Union established the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization initiative in 2009 to improve access to safe, affordable medicine. The effort is part of its Framework on Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa. In addition, all Sahel countries but Mauritania have ratified a treaty for the establishment of the African Medicines Agency.
Recognizing these achievements, the UNODC report offered recommendations. Among them was to introduce or revise legislation to prevent all related offences, such as smuggling, money laundering and corruption.
UN says calm returning to South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria province following clashes
By Jerry Omondi
Calm is slowly returning to South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria province, the United Nations mission in the country, UNMISS, said on Thursday, noting however that displaced persons remain fearful of returning home.
A sudden outbreak of clashes in Omoruo two weeks ago forced hundreds of people to flee their homes.
The area was attacked by neighbors from Lohilai and Lohiri, leaving many people injured.
Both sides accused each other of orchestrating targeted killings and road ambushes in past months.
Following the clashes, UNMISS deployed a team to quell the violence and restore calm.
The mission intensified patrols in the affected areas and increased calls for dialogue to solve disputes.
“Such conflicts disrupt trade, prevent the sick from reaching healthcare providers in time, and take a disproportionate toll on women and children,” said Francis Jeremiah, a Civil Affairs Officer from UNMISS.
“The only productive way forward is through dialogue; you all have a collective responsibility to nurture a sustained peace with your,” he told residents.
The area Member of Parliament from Eastern Equatoria’s State Legislative Assembly, Angela Quitino, said the government was working to restore security to help restore calm.
“Our role as the government is to make sure that these communities reconcile, the roads are safe and such attacks do not take place again,” said Quitino.
Egyptian pound sees largest single-day fall since IMF deal
CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian pound tumbled on Wednesday in its largest single-day slide since the cash-strapped government agreed to a $3 billion International Monetary Fund deal in mid-December, authorities said.
The pound fell from around 24.7 for $1 to just over 26.3 against the dollar, some three weeks after Egypt and the IMF formally ratified the support package, approved in exchange for a number of economic reforms implemented by the country’s Central Bank, including a shift to a flexible exchange rate.
The package allows for a further $14 billion in possible financing for Egypt.
The Egyptian economy has been hit hard by years of government austerity, the coronavirus pandemic, and the fallout from the war in Ukraine. Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, with most of its imports having traditionally come from eastern Europe.
Since the start of 2022, the Egyptian pound has lost more than 60% of its value against the dollar, with the country currently facing a foreign currency shortage.
In recent months, Egypt has also been beset by rising inflation, with the annual rate reaching above 18% in November. The Central Bank has sought to curb the rise by raising interest rates.
The National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr — two of Egypt’s state-run banks — announced they were offering yield saving certificates with 25% interest rates, a move experts believe is another attempt to rein in inflation.
Most Egyptians rely on the government subsidies to afford basic goods such as bread, policies that have been in place for decades. Almost a third of Egypt’s 104 million people live in poverty, according to government figures.
This story has been corrected to show that the Egyptian pound has lost more than 60% of its value against the dollar since the start of 2022, not this year.
Malawi shuts schools over worsening cholera outbreak
AFP , Monday 2 Jan 2023
Schools in Malawi’s two largest cities are to remain closed until further notice due to a worsening cholera outbreak, the government said on Monday.
Students were due back in class after the holidays on Tuesday.
But the health ministry said the start of the school term for primary and secondary pupils in the capital Lilongwe and the southern city of Blantyre would be delayed by at least two weeks.
Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said in a statement the postponement was “due to the recent and continuing increase in the number of Cholera cases and deaths”.
Authorities regretted “any inconvenience caused by this late advice taken solely in the interest of the safety of our learners”, she added.
The impoverished southern African country has recorded almost 18,000 cases of the disease and 595 deaths since March in what the UN has said is the largest outbreak to hit the nation in 10 years.
Cholera is contracted from a bacterium generally transmitted through contaminated food or water.
It causes diarrhoea and vomiting, and can be especially dangerous for young children.
On New Year’s Eve, Chiponda renewed appeals to faith leaders to encourage followers to seek treatment as some were avoiding care on religious grounds.
In September, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that after years of decline, the planet was witnessing a “worrying upsurge” in cholera outbreaks, with climate change adding to traditional triggers such as poverty and conflict.
Worldwide, the disease affects between 1.3 million and four million people each year, causing up to 143,000 deaths.
Gabon’s PDG appeals to president Ondimba to seek re-election
The Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) ended a congress on Saturday with a call for the Head of State, Ali Bongo Ondimba, to seek re-election next year.
Gabon will go to the polls in august 2023 to pick a new president.
Many believe that President Ondimba is the right choice for the party.
“We have come not only to revitalise our party but also to seek Ali Bongo Ondimba’s candidacy for the future of our country”, said Prospere Abessolo Mengué, member of the Gabonese Democratic Party
The secretary-general of the PDG party, Steeve Nzegho Dieko, described Ondimba as the “natural candidate”.
“For us, the distinguished comrade president (Ali Bongo Ondimba, Ed.) is the natural candidate of our political party and we hope that by then the president will decide as soon as possible”, said Dieko.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba succeeded his father and party founder, Omar Bongo Ondimba, after his death in 2009.
Gulf countries eye Africa for trade
By CGTN Africa -3 hours ago
The African Continental Free Trade Area has increased the appetite of Africa’s trading partners and the rush to secure more economic cooperation opportunities. The United Arab Emirates is leading the pack of Gulf countries who are eyeing such opportunities with the African continent.
William Stenhouse Chief Executive Officer at Stenhouse and Associates said that looking at the United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai, it has become the epicenter when it comes to trade and investment in Africa.
“It’s easy to see why THE Financial Times listed the UAE as the second largest Middle East
investor in Africa in 2018. The region’s leading business hub, Dubai is home to nearly 25,000 African companies,” said Stenhouse.
Tim Olatoke Chief Executive Officer at OjaMEA said that the UAE has been instrumental in building their markets. He added that many African businessmen are now buying their goods from them and shipping them back to the continent.
For the UAE, Africa home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies represents the future, thanks to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement expected to create the world’s largest single market with some 1.3 billion people and synergies in food security—
crucial for the UAE which imports the majority of its food.
Trade between UAE and Africa is well positioned for the future partly due to ports operator DP World which recently acquired South Africa’s Imperial logistics—
expanding its capacity across the continent which—just a few years ago was responsible for 10 percent of DP World’s global revenue.
“Truly speaking, East Africa is part of the Middle East. The peoples in, in the Middle East and the Gulf region, are interconnected not only economically, but by culture and by blood. Many of the nationals from the Middle East have built relationships with people in the eastern part of Africa,” said Suleiman Dedefo, outgoing Ambassador Extra-Ordinary and Plenipotentiary, of Ethiopia to the United Arab Emirates.
Joe Osawaye an entrepreneur said that Dubai is catching up very fast. Adding that in
51 years the amount of achievements they have had tells so much about their vision and their leadership.
by Jim Stenman
‘Take care of our own security’: West African leaders to create regional force
AFP , Monday 5 Dec 2022
West African leaders agreed on Sunday to create a regional force to intervene against jihadism and in the event of coups, a senior official said.
Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States had decided to act to “take care of our own security in the region”, Omar Alieu Touray, president of the ECOWAS commission, told journalists at a summit in Nigeria.
They are “determined to establish a regional force that will intervene in the event of need, whether this is in the area of security, terrorism and restore constitutional order in member countries,” he added.
Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso have all been hit by military coups in the last two years.
Several countries in the region are also suffering from the spread of jihadism, including Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, and southwards to the Gulf of Guinea.
National armies, largely powerless against the jihadist forces operating across borders, have been cooperating with external actors such as the UN, France and Russia.
But Touray said this decision would “restructure our security architecture”.
The modalities of the planned regional force will be considered by defence chiefs in the second half of January, 2023, Touray said.
The funding of the force must also be decided, but the ECOWAS official stressed that such an operation could not be solely dependent on voluntary contributions.
Pressure on Mali
Addressing another regional problem, the West African leaders told Mali’s ruling junta to release 46 Ivorian troops it has held since July.
“We ask the Malian authorities to release the Ivorian soldiers by January 1, 2023 at the latest,” said Touray, at the Abuja summit.
The Gambian diplomat said the West African bloc reserved the right to act if the soldiers were not released by January 1.
If Mali fails to do so, ECOWAS will impose sanctions, a West African diplomat told AFP.
Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been mediating between Mali and Ivory Coast on the issue, will travel to Mali to “demand” the release of the soldiers, the diplomat added.
The Ivorian troops were arrested on July 10 on their arrival at the airport in Mali’s capital Bamako.
Ivory Coast says the troops were sent to provide backup for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and are being unfairly detained.
Mali says the troops are mercenaries and has placed them in custody on charges of attempting to harm state security.
ECOWAS had decided at an extraordinary summit in September to send a high-level delegation to Mali to try to resolve the crisis. But no progress was reported from this mission.
The West African leaders, concerned about instability and contagion, have been pressing for months for the quickest possible return to civilian rule in the three countries which have undergone coups in recent years.
Mali and Burkina Faso have both been severely shaken by the spread of jihadism.
All three countries have been suspended from the decision-making bodies of ECOWAS.
Leaders of the military juntas have pledged, under pressure, to step down after two years, allowing for a transition period during which they all say they want to “rebuild” their state.
ECOWAS has been looking to see what progress each nation has been making towards restoring constitutional order.
In Mali, “it is essential that constitutional order returns within the planned timeframe”, said Touray.
If Mali’s military meets the announced deadline of March 2024 — after months of confrontation with ECOWAS and a severe trade and financial embargo that has now been lifted — the “transition” will in fact have lasted three and a half years.
Touray urged the junta in Guinea to involve all parties and civil society in dialogue “immediately” on the process of restoring civilian rule.
The main political parties and much of civil society there have been boycotting the authorities’ offer of dialogue.
As for Burkina Faso, Touray expressed ECOWAS’s “serious concerns” about the security situation and the humanitarian crisis there, while pledging support for the country.
Kenya dollar bonds rise on IMF program review
Staff Writer, Reuters News
JOHANNESBURG – Kenya’s sovereign dollar-denominated bonds rose on Wednesday after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed in principle to release $433 million of funding, while Nigeria’s also chalked up gains amid improved emerging market risk appetite.
Kenya’s 2032 maturity rose the most, up 1 cent to 79.635 cents in the dollar at 1155 GMT, its highest in almost two months, according to Tradeweb data.
The IMF said yesterday it had reached a staff-level agreement with Kenya on the fourth review of its lending programme, with $433 million to be released when the fund’s board signs off on it.
Nigeria’s 2029 Eurobond was up 1.2 cents to 78.262 cents in the dollar, according to Tradeweb data, with hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve could slow the pace of interest rate hikes supporting some riskier assets.