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Mozambique: floods death toll risen

More than 1 000 people were feared dead in Mozambique four days after a cyclone slammed into the country, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the floodwaters, the nation’s president said.

“It is a real disaster of great proportions,” President Filipe Nyusi said.

Emergency officials in Mozambique have cautioned that while they expect the death toll to rise significantly, they have no way of knowing how high the death toll will be.

A cyclone that hit Mozambique last week has damaged or destroyed 90% of the city of Beira, the Red Cross  confirmed, and the death toll in the country and neighboring Zimbabwe has risen to 157.

The European Union has granted 150,000 euros (about 170,000 US dollars) to assist the victims of floods and of cyclone Idai in central Mozambique.

The aid should directly benefit 7,500 people in Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia provinces. A further 17,000 people will benefit from sanitation and health services in accommodation centre.

Terrorist attack in Mali left 16 dead

Gunmen attacked and briefly seized a Malian army base overnight, killing at least 16 military and destroying five vehicles in central Mopti region, said two local officials in the area where the attack occurred. Army spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone  confirmed the attack took place but declined further details.

The base is in the village of Dioura, the mayor of the nearest town Kareri, Youssouf Coulibaly, confirmed, that the Central Mali has in the past few years been overrun by Islamic radicals with links to Al Qaeda.

I’m currently inside the base and there were many deaths here. We’ve counted 16 so far,” Mr. Coulibaly said. (Below interactive map of fatalities and violent episodes in Mali since August 2014).

EU condolences to Ethiopia

We are saddened to learn of the plane crash that took place today in Ethiopia

https://mobile.twitter.com/MajaEUspox/status/1104734254653755392

 At this difficult time, the European Union expresses its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the passengers and crew of flight ET302.”

https://mobile.twitter.com/AP/status/1104720232449478661

Image: illustration

AMENDED:

Ethiopian officials confirmed there are no survivors among 157 passengers on board.

https://mobile.twitter.com/Reuters/status/1104708607906594816

11.03.2019 AMDENDED

Two black boxes of Boeing 737 have been found, and send to experts.

EU committed to Africa agri-food sector

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector. The Task Force for Rural Africa delivered its final report, an agri-food and rural agenda for the new ‘Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’ unveiled by President Jean-Claude Juncker in the 2018 State of the Union speech.

 

 

 

According to the recommendations of this group of African and European experts, Africa and the EU should develop a partnership operating at three levels: people to people, business to business, and government to government. It would institute a multi-stakeholder dialogue at all levels, starting locally, and enable a closer connection between African and European societies, business communities and governments.

Agriculture and rural development policy is leading the way in EU-Africa political cooperation. The Task Force Rural Africa is at the centre of this work: its recommendations explore ways to boost public and private investment, to exchange best practice and share knowledge, and to deepen policy cooperation across the board;” agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said.

 

 

 

 

This is a very important day for the Africa-Europe Alliance. Today we have seen the hard work of the Task Force on Rural Africa culminate in concrete recommendations. Now it is up to us to come together, take these valuable recommendations forward and devise solutions that can deliver what we all want: a positive rural transformation, and an inclusive and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector,” International development and cooperation Commissioner Neven Mimica said.

African Union (AU) Commissioner for rural economy and agriculture Josefa Sacko said: “The Task Force report recognises the new reality of Africa and Europe as global partners on an equal footing. It demonstrates that farmers and the food industry should work hand in hand to take on the new opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade Area will offer and also, build the regional markets needed for Africa’s long term food security.”

Launched in May 2018 by the European Commission, the Task Force was set up to provide advice on strengthening the Africa-Europe partnership in food and farming. The European Commission will ensure follow-up and implementation of several actions recommended by this group of experts to support the development of African agri-food sector and rural economy.

Building on some of the short term recommendations made by the Task Force, the European Commission will start implementing the following projects:

  • Twinning and exchange programmes between African and European agricultural bodies: the Commission has just launched a Pilot Vocational Education and training initiative with Africa of €5 million. Additional funds from the EU budget will be made available for other twinning programmes for rural women’s organisations, farmer organisations and cooperatives, businesses and public entities with their peers.
  • AU-EU Agribusiness platform: recognising the key role the private sector can play for structural transformation in Africa, the Commission proposes to set up a platform to link European and African businesses. This platform is expected to help identify challenges and opportunities for private investment and trade between the two continents.
  • Innovation hubs: to support ‘agripreneurs’ and the African agri-food sector, innovation hubs can be established or strengthened with the aim of applying practical knowledge. These hubs would bring together national research, higher education systems, farmers, their organisations and the private sector to facilitate –amongst others- digital innovation and skills development.

The report handed over today is a landmark in the process towards more cooperation between the EU and Africa in the agri-food sector, identifying four strategic areas of action for the medium to long term: job creation, climate action, sustainable transformation of African agriculture and development of the African food industry and markets.

To make this an open and inclusive process, the Commission will launch an online consultation to gather direct feedback from African stakeholders on the Task Force’s strategic approach and on the state of play of the agri-food trade and cooperation between our two continents. Together with today’s report, the outcome of this consultation will feed into the third AU-EU agricultural ministerial conference in Rome, planned for June 2019.

Effective follow-up will also be ensured through the setting-up of an implementation group composed of ministerial and private representatives from both Africa and the EU. The group will be presented at the ministerial conference in Rome.

Bouteflika refuses to renounce 5th mandate

Despite Algerian demonstrations calling to renounce presidential ambitions, the incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (82) has registered on March 3 his candidacy. However, in case he is elected on April 18, he promised in written an early presidential election in less than a year. Many Algerians have déjà vu feeling, while hearing this promise to leave. In 2014 the leader announced: “‘I will amend the Constitution & hand over power to the youth”. Five years later he requests an additional year.

The fifth term and an early presidential election in less than a year, this is the imposed ‘proposal’ of Abdelaziz Bouteflika aimed at calming down the indignation of Algerians, who find themselves in a situation when their country is led from one of the Swiss clinics ward.

The package proposed by Abdelaziz Bouteflika is obviously designed to calm the revolt of Algerians who demand his definite departure.

On March 3, the last day of the registration for presidential candidates  the head of state has sent his new campaign director, Abdelghani Zaalane, to read a letter in which he says he is “determined” to re-election to “assume the historical responsibility for the realization of the basic requirement of the people, that is to say the change of the system“. In this letter, he also says he wants to organize “an early presidential election” in less than a year and agrees not to “be a candidate for this election that will ensure [his] succession”.

Nobody had doubts about Abdelaziz Bouteflika ambition to go for a fifth term, especially after his decision to sack his campaign director, Abdelmalek Sellal before the registration deadline.

Several hundred students chanting “Bouteflika get out!” or “No fifth term for Bouteflika!” have demonstrated in Oran, Constantine or Annaba, and in Algiers, where they marched to  President’s Palace el-Mouradia and to the Constitutional Council, the latter ruled that Bouteflika is not obliged to be physically present, while registering his candidacy. This opinion contradicted the electoral commission request to all candidates to submit the documents in person.

А call for a general strike has been launched for Monday, March 4. “A million and a half” invited to continue to demonstrate Friday, March 8 throughout the country.

 

Algerians protest against 5th Bouteflika mandate

Algerians went to streets calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to leave office in the country’s biggest anti-government demonstrations since the Arab Spring eight years ago.

The protests started as peaceful but degenerated to some clashes between police and demonstrates broke out in capital Algiers near the presidential palace.

Several protesters and policemen were wounded during clashes in Algiers, state television said. Local sources reported around 60 wounded, and 45 detained.

Bouteflika (82) has not directly addressed the protesters. Last week the officials said he would travel to Geneva for medical checks. Fading health of the President has been central to debate about his capabilities to function, as he has almost disappeared from public view since he suffered a stroke (2013). Citizens rarely had an opportunity to see the wheel-chair bound, and visibly frail President, however the the country’s powerful clans prefer him to stay on as a guarantor of their might.

 

EU admits Buhari election ‘consistency’

Nigerians have re-elected President Muhammadu Buhari, as the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission confirms. These results are consistent with independent civil society observations”, says the text of the statement attributed to a European External Actions Service (EEAS) spokesperson.

“Moreover, important lessons are to be learned, in particular ahead of the State elections next week. It is now the responsibility of all parties and candidates to strengthen democracy and unite the country.

“The EU Election Observation Mission will stay beyond the State elections and produce a final report with recommendations.”

The EU will continue to strengthen its partnership with Nigeria‘ – the statement concludes.

Election is not war, and should never be seen as a do-or-die affair. I pray that we all accept this democratic approach to elections, however contentious” wrote President-elect of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari in his Twitter micro blog.

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