Blog entries from: Baobab

RSS feed for the Baobab Economist blog.

1 to 10 of 99

October 5 2014

From Baobab Sun Oct 5 2014, 15:33:41

LITTLE more than four years ago we launched our  Africa blog, Baobab, with little fanfare. Instead we dived straight into coverage of the issues of the day with a post from an election monitor in Somaliland. The time has now come to say farewell. The continent is as newsworthy and exciting as ever and we will continue to write additional articles to those that appear in the print edition every week. But these pieces will now be posted on the Middle East and Africa page. Our aim is to make our website easier for new visitors to navigate by reducing the number of blogs, many of which have rather esoteric names; it is not immediately obvious, even to hardened Economist fans, that the place to look for Africa news is a blog called Baobab. Our new online-only articles will ...

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September 18 2014

From Baobab Thu Sep 18 2014, 13:28:45

AN EDICT issued by South Sudan's ministry of labour on September 16th caused international havoc by telling all foreigners working in the country (save diplomats and government aid agencies) to leave within a month. But the next day the foreign minister, responding to the ensuring uproar in diplomatic, humanitarian and business circles, back-pedalled by saying that foreigners could stay if no qualified local person could be found to do the job. If the original edict had been enacted, it could have spelt economic and humanitarian disaster for a fledgling country already mired in civil war, penury and administrative chaos.

Tariq Riebl, director of Oxfam GB in South Sudan is one of many influential foreigners who had immediately urged the government to change its mind, arguing that the ...

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From Baobab Thu Sep 18 2014, 13:28:45

AN EDICT issued by South Sudan's ministry of labour on September 16th caused international havoc by telling all foreigners working in the country (save diplomats and government aid agencies) to leave within a month. But the next day the foreign minister, responding to the ensuing uproar in diplomatic, humanitarian and business circles, back-pedalled by saying that foreigners could stay if no qualified local person could be found to do the job. If the original edict had been enacted, it could have spelt economic and humanitarian disaster for a fledgling country already mired in civil war, penury and administrative chaos.

Tariq Riebl, director of Oxfam GB in South Sudan, is one of many influential foreigners who immediately urged the government to change its mind, arguing that the measure, if ...

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September 12 2014

From Baobab Fri Sep 12 2014, 07:32:22

OSCAR PISTORIUS, South Africa's celebrated disabled athlete, was found guilty of negligently killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The trial and verdict shed light on both the country's gun culture and high levels of crime as well as a judiciary once synonymous with apartheid that has since become a jewel of its democracy.

Few of the facts of the case were contested. Both prosecution and defence agreed that late one night in February 2013 Mr Pistorius fired four shots from a gun through the closed door of his bathroom, striking and killing Ms Steenkamp. But prosecutors and Mr Pistorius disagreed over why he fired and whether his actions were reasonable. Mr Pistorius says he thought that there was an intruder behind the door and feared for his life.

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September 10 2014

From Baobab Wed Sep 10 2014, 15:25:32

EQUITY Bank, whose micro-loans offerings have helped increase the number of Kenyans using formal financial services, is looking to break into Kenya's booming mobile telecoms market, with the bank saying it will use the Mobile Virtual Network Operator licence it was granted in April to make financial services even more accessible and affordable. Kenyans transacted US$19.6 billion through their mobile phones in the first 11 months of 2013 alone, and Equity is looking to tap into this growing base by employing innovative Taiwanese-made ultra-slim subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

The 0.1mm-thick SIM cards sit on top a user's existing SIM, allowing subscribers to access voice and mobile money services from two competing operators without having to own a dual-SIM phone or have two ...

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From Baobab Wed Sep 10 2014, 05:16:07

LAKE Victoria is the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world, and it is at Agnes Nansubuga's front door. So naturally, that's where she used to fetch her drinking water. Unfortunately, it is also a place that many of her fellow villagers also use as a bathroom. When she drank water from the lake, "I used to get stomach pains," she says.

Now, though, Nansubuga not only has access to clean water herself, she also provides it to others. She works as an operator on one of the pumps that provide clean water to her village, part of a system installed by a South Carolina-based Christian missionary organization, Water Missions International. Water is drawn from a pipe placed about 150 meters into Lake Victoria, then run through a solar-powered a water filtration system back on shore, where the ...

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September 9 2014

From Baobab Tue Sep 9 2014, 12:13:53

A LEAKED contract between Norway's Statoil and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) is raising questions about whether Tanzania will gain the full benefits of its sizeable gas deposits that have been discovered since 2010 deep in the Indian Ocean. Estimates put the country's reserves at little more than 50 trillion cubic feet of gas, a figure the government thinks may double as additional exploration wells are drilled, making them potentially a considerable potential source of revenue.

Arguments over how this is shared between the country and oil firms has already spilled over into public debate. In early September Tanzania's revenue authority said it would review and renegotiate mining and gas agreements. A few days later it quickly withdrew that proposal amid concerns it ...

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September 4 2014

From Baobab Thu Sep 4 2014, 12:23:16

IN a scruffy hall off the dusty main thoroughfare of Somaliland's capital, Nuruddin Farah, a Somalia-born novelist, is berating the audience at the Hargeisa International Book Fair over what he sees as the inherent cruelty of Somali society. Somali history, he says, "is a consequence of this cruelty...we can never be a democratic society until we change our behaviour towards those we consider lesser."

Despite being born in the south of Somalia and living in Cape Town Mr Farah, probably the most well-known Somali writer, feels quite at home in the internationally-unrecognised state in Somalia's north: "I have come to start a debate with my community". Debate permeated the fair in August and is now in its seventh year. Jama Muse Jama, formerly an Italy-based academic and businessman and now a ...

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September 3 2014

From Baobab Wed Sep 3 2014, 15:19:08

MORE than 1,900 people have so far died from Ebola in the four affected west African countries, but many more will suffer the economic consequences. Governments reckon the worst of those effects are yet to be felt, but they are still busy trying to calculate what the outbreak is going to cost them. Here are Liberia's thoughts:

The tiny post-conflict country has been growing at upwards of 8% over the last couple of years, but won't expect anything like that kind of luck now. The government is still number-crunching with the International Monetary Fund, but it reckons Ebola will shave more than 2% of growth rates this year, putting estimates at 3.5%.

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August 27 2014

From Baobab Wed Aug 27 2014, 17:12:18

NIGERIA'S war against Boko Haram is going from bad to worse. The country's army, on paper the strongest in west Africa, suffered its latest humiliation in late August when some 480 soldiers fled across the border to Cameroon after coming under attack from the jihadists. 

Cameroon's ministry of defence said the Nigerian troops crossed the frontier after militants attacked a military base and police station in Gamboru Ngala, in northern Nigeria. The deserting forces apparently holed up in Maroua, some 80km (50 miles) inside Cameroon, where they were disarmed by local troops. Nigeria's government insists this was but a "tactical manoeuvre".

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