Recent developments: Growth in the Middle East and North Africa region is estimated to have slowed to 2.7% in 2016, reflecting fiscal consolidation in some countries and oil production constraints in others. Growth slowed sharply in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to 1.6% as oil sector weakness spread to non-oil sectors. Outlook: Growth in the region is forecast to recover to a 3.1% pace this year, with oil importers registering the strongest gains. Among oil exporters, Saudi Arabia is forecast to accelerate to a 1.6% growth rate in 2017, still modest by historical standards. Algeria should slow to a 2.9% pace on a decline in spending on public works and delays in tax and subsidy reforms.
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERTwo weeks after New Year’s Eve Cologne police have changed their report on who they identified on the night, saying most of the men were not North Africans but rather were from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Immediately after the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne two weeks ago police were slammed by politicians and left-wing activists for the use of the term “Nafri” which they used to describe North African men. Iraqi nationals were the most numerous of those checked by authorities with 99 men stopped. Syrians were a close second with 94 men, and Afghan nationals were third with 48. North Africans were also present as police recorded 17 Morrocans and 13 Algerians.
Kenyan international Jesse Were could be on his way to Tunisia after Club Africain expressed interest in his signature. According to Zamfoot, the Zesco forward wants to walk away from the Zambian league and Africain is speculated to be his landing home. If the transfer goes through, Were will get USD 10,000 as Zesco take home the transfer fee of USD 250,000. “The player (Jesse) is just waiting for Zesco and Club Africain to agree on the transfer fee,” said a source as reported by Futaa.
Birame ould Dah ould Abeïd, leader of the anti-slavery movement IRA (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement) has announced his comeback to Mauritania for Sunday January 15 after he conducted an eight-month international campaign to denounce the ongoing phenomenon in the North African country, the last country in the world still practicing the outdated human dominance. Analysts believe the decision to pass through the historical town is significant and will throw thousands of sympathizers in the streets therefore predicting confrontation between security forces and supporters. The activist, decried by the Mauritanian regime, left the country eight months ago on an international tour in Africa and elsewhere to marshal support and to denounce the phenomenon still ongoing in the North African country. Several members of his movement were arrested in June last year for mounting riot against security forces. A court in capital Nouakchott handed them heavy prison sentences ranging between 3 and 15 years.
Zine El Abedine Ben Ali ruled with an iron fist but he delivered growth, education and a sophisticated, modern country that functioned. Suddenly, Ben Ali was gone and his elite bodyguard, after a few violent skirmishes with the army that remained loyal to the nation, had been neutralised. If power is given, then the real power resides with the giver, not the recipient. This time, their earlier chants of “Ben Ali Out!” changed to “RCD Out!”. But perhaps his greatest contribution may well be that he unwittingly ushered Tunisia into an era of real democracy.
Kismayo, Somalia – U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed on Monday that elements of its command participated in a joint counter-terrorism operation against an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group known as Harakat al-Shabaab. The operation, which was executed on January 7th, included an unknown number of U.S. military advisors which accompanied Somali National Army troops along with Ugandan commandos assigned to the United Nations peacekeeping mission, the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM. The raid occurred in and around the villages of Bula-Gaduud near the southern Somalia port city of Kismayo. The area in and around Kismayo is historically been known as a ‘hotbed’ of al-Shabaab activity with the terror group recently retaking majority control over the towns and villages within the region. The joint raid was described as a ‘counter-terrorism operation’ with the intent of ‘disturbing’ al-Shabaab’s influence within the region and staunching the group’s recent uptick in terror attacks Somalia has seen in recent months.
King Mohammed VI will travel to Addis Ababa to attend the African Union summit on January 30 to make the case for Morocco’s strong determination to regain its natural place within Africa’s institutional family. The announcement was made by Morocco’s designated Head of Government, Abdelilah Benkirane, in a statement to the Press. Morocco withdrew from the predecessor of the AU, the Organization of African Unity, in 1984, on grounds of the biased decision of the organization. Morocco’s return to the African institutional family hinges on a simple majority vote by the member countries. So far, 39 countries, making more than the majority of the 54 African Union member states, have expressed support for Morocco’s return.
The World Bank Global Economic Prospects report released shows that the sub-Saharan African growth is projected to slightly increase by 2.9 percent “while the global economic growth would pick up moderately to 2.7 percent in 2017,” Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President cited. The report for 2017 projected stronger global economic prospects after years of disappointing global growth, the World Bank is encouraged to see stronger economic prospects on the horizon, Jim stressed. However, the World Bank prediction that Nigeria will get out of recession and grow its Gross Domestic Product by one percent is another forecast by a global body, as reputable individuals and companies also have an outlook for the economy. Also, the World Bank projects growth in advanced economies, which would edge up to 1.8 percent in 2017, and growth in emerging market and developing economies should generate up to 4.2 percent this year from 3.4 percent in 2016 amid steadily rising commodity prices. However, Ayhan Kose, the World Bank Development Economics Prospects Director reports that growth in the U.S. is expected to slightly increase to 2.2 percent, as the forecast is a borderline for policies in major economies.
BuzzSouthAfrica has been informed about the arrest of a gun-wielding ATM bomber by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in North West at Witbank. As learnt, the criminal is one of the most wanted suspects linked to cases of ATM bombing, cash-in-transit heist and hijacking. While investigations are still on-going, it is believed that the suspect could be linked to more cases of ATM bombing around the country. Come 16 January 2017, the suspect will appear before the Christiana Magistrate Court where he will be facing charges of ATM Bombing. “The suspects allegedly refused to leave and a court order was subsequently issued against them.
Cologne police set off a storm of controversy when they tweeted that hundreds of "Nafris" - North Africans - were stopped during New Year's Eve celebrations. Their original report after New Year’s Eve was that most were from North Africa. Police were accused of racially profiling North African men after New Year’s Eve 2015-16 celebrations, during which hundreds of women reported being sexually assaulted or robbed, and most of the suspects came from North Africa. The police force tweeted during this year’s celebrations that they were checking hundreds of “Nafris” - a term short for North Africans which critics saw as derogatory. Cologne police chief Jürgen Mathies conceded that the word Nafri should not have been used for external communications, but police also said that the men stopped had already been seen as likely criminals.
Wood Mackenzie: Seasonality takes centre stage in Egyptian gas marketFriday, 13 January 2017 07:56Cairo, the capital of Egypt. (Image source: Martin Steiger/Commons)Egypt could potentially position itself as a major seasonal player in the gas sector as the market dynamics begin to shiftAccording to research from global natural resources consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie, Egypt's gas markets market is poised to undergo profound changes in the next five years. This could have an impact on the global LNG market as Egypt positions itself as a prominent seasonal player. These new volumes will push the country's gas market back to surplus. Meanwhile, Egypt could export surplus volumes during the winter, taking advantage of northern hemisphere winter LNG prices.
To reassure its Nigerian participants, the popular Ponzi scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Movement popularly known as MMM decided to surprise everyone by re-opening its website a day before the promised date (MMM Crossover). It would be recalled that on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, MMM participants all over Nigeria went hysterical when the scheme froze all confirmed Mavros. Read the message for MMM members as contained on the website below:13.01.2017 We are now open!!! :-)) Actually, we promised to be open on January 14, but we”re open now, January 13, as you can see, which is a day earlier. :-))It”s related to the hysteria raised by the authorities and the mass media around MMM.
This follows several other asset freezes and travel bans against human rights organisations and their staff as part of the Foreign Funding Case. “A strong civil society is vital to Egypt’s long term stability and economic development. Restrictions and sanctions on civil society organisations take Egypt further away from implementing the freedoms set out in the 2014 Constitution. The impact of this decision on the work of those striving to protect women’s rights in Egypt is particularly troubling. “I encourage Egypt to lift restrictions on civil society organisations, and allow them to operate freely in line with the Constitution.”Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office
This follows several other asset freezes and travel bans against human rights organisations and their staff as part of the Foreign Funding Case. "A strong civil society is vital to Egypt’s long term stability and economic development. Restrictions and sanctions on civil society organisations take Egypt further away from implementing the freedoms set out in the 2014 Constitution. The impact of this decision on the work of those striving to protect women’s rights in Egypt is particularly troubling. "I encourage Egypt to lift restrictions on civil society organisations, and allow them to operate freely in line with the Constitution."
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERThe deportation figures come from the German Interior Ministry, who along with the regional governments are in charge of sending failed asylum seekers back to their countries of origin. However, the German government has not been able to resolve ongoing issues with repatriating failed asylum seekers to North Africa despite Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière travelling across the region last year to discuss the issue with Maghreb leaders. BAMF does not record how many asylum seekers arrive without identification or paperwork, but the agency has estimated the figure could be as high as 60 per cent of recent arrivals. One migrant who came to Germany from North Africa without paperwork was Anis Amri, the Tunisian-born migrant behind the Berlin Christmas market terror attack. Authorities are attempting to deport other known Islamists who are failed asylum seekers, like Mr. Amri, but due to the lack of identity documents some 62 dangerous Islamists are able to remain in the country.