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Global Focus

RFI France

A weekly programme looking at issues challenging our assumptions and way of life across all the continents. This as the world is going through deep and rapid changes.

A weekly programme looking at issues challenging our assumptions and way of life across all the continents. This as the world is going through deep and rapid changes.
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RFI France


A weekly programme looking at issues challenging our assumptions and way of life across all the continents. This as the world is going through deep and rapid changes.




French chef Lucas Felzine chases umami across continents

Chef Lucas Felzine has twinkling eyes and a kind smile. He's a chef that uses words like soul, emotions and feelings when talking about how he cooks, a cook who is constantly after the elusive umami taste and takes pleasure in mixing the unexpected to bring new sensations to his customers When he was a chubby three-year-old, Felzine used to drag a chair next to the stove where his grandmother was cooking, climbing on top of the chair to add whatever took his fancy to the pot and...


Zambian gemstone jeweller looks to dazzle the Chinese market

Lusaka-based gemstone company Jewel of Africa is taking aim at the Chinese market after establishing exports to the US, pushing their “home-grown” precious stones. The family-run business runs its own mines, cuts and polishes gems and runs retail outlets, employing around 100 locals. The Zambian jeweller is looking to further its expansion into the lucrative Chinese market. “People are getting to know more about gemstones and about the quality and value of Zambian gemstones,” Sandra...


Djibouti emerges as arms trafficking hub for Horn of Africa

The rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea has repercussions that go beyond diplomacy on the Horn of Africa. A recent investigation shows that while Eritrea is no longer isolated, Djibouti is emerging as the new regional arms trafficking hub. The small strategically located state acts as a transit location for weapons trafficking between Yemen and northern Somalia through the AMISOM mission among others actors in the trade. The findings are the result of an investigation carried out by...


The funny yet serious world of black comedian Daliso Chaponda

Malawian comic Daliso Chaponda says his way of coping with the world is through humour. He does so with much irreverence while getting laughs out of sensitive and complex issues. Chaponda is convinced laughter has a better chance of shifting views. On an average day two to three strangers will come up to Daliso Chaponda asking for a selfie, that modern translation of autograph. For the time being he finds it delightful, as not that many people recognise him as the comedian and Britain’s...


Overcoming personal struggles, refugee students in eastern Chad hit the books

Adam Barka University in Abéché, the fourth largest city in Chad, is teeming with students, including a few non-Chadian undergraduates. These are refugees from Darfur, Sudan, and from the Central African Republic, who have been given scholarships by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with contributions by the German government. RFI's Laura Angela Bagnetto sat down with three students to find out about their lives as refugees, and university students. "My father said, 'you have to study because...


Saudi French deal-making with a backdrop of soft and hard power

The recent official visit of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Paris and his meeting with France’s youthful leader, Emmanuel Macron, seems to have sealed that “new partnership” both countries were seeking. Have they found new strategic partners in each other? The French combination of soft and hard power appeals to the Saudis and 14 billion euros-worth of deals, to begin with, means the business community is on board. “Saudi Arabia’s ties with France go back nearly a century as...


Botswana's new 30-year-old minister unlocking private sector growth and investment

Botswana’s new president unveiled his cabinet at the start of April and named a 30-year-old woman as his minister of investment, trade and industry. Bogolo Kenewendo is said to be Botswana’s youngest ever government minister and boasts an impressive CV, having taken part in Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative and obtained a master’s degree in economics. Social media users welcomed her appointment, heralding it as an example of the potential of young Africans on a continent with...


Powerful theatre reveals horrors of FGM closer to home

When UK playwright Charlene James wrote Cuttin' It in 2014, she meant it to be the starting point for conversations about Female Genital Mutilation. Although illegal in UK since 1985, FGM is still being practiced on young girls. Cuttin' It toured a number of secondary schools in London and Birmingham for a month earlier this year. The play won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2015 and the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play in 2014. This time round, it was staged...


Volunteer doctors care for Myanmar's Rohingya refugees

Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar are packed in crowded camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, where many urgently need medical attention. A group of surgeons has braved challenging conditions to help members of Myanmar’s Muslim minority in the Tangkali refugee camp. Many of the ailments the refugees are suffering from are easily treatable if properly diagnosed and given the right treatment at the start. But harsh living conditions in the refugee camps and the lack of basic health...


Taking a look at Sierra Leone presidential candidates and issues

Sixteen presidential candidates are campaigning in Sierra Leone for the country's top position as President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress Party steps down after two terms. Voters will go to the polls on March seventh to pick their next leader. RFI's Laura Angela Bagnetto speaks to Lans Gberie, a Sierra Leone political analyst with Martello Risk group, who outlines the top candidates and the issues voters want them to tackle.


African conservationists condemn savannah farming scheme

The African Development Bank has devised a plan to combat food insecurity in Africa - farm the savannah. According to the plan eight sub Saharan African countries will be trageted. In this week's Global Focus, RFI's Laura Angela Bagentto speaks to a Kenyan conservationist who disagrees. She also talk to an academic in Tunisia who has mapped water scarcity and availability across the African continent.


What is Net Neutrality and why does it matter?

US regulators voted in Devcember to roll back “net neutrality" rules which required internet providers to treat all traffic equally, a move opponents say would curb online freedom. Net neutrality backers argue that clear rules are needed to prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling services or websites for competitive reasons. But what about the rest of the world?


UN moves to take plastics out of marine environments

This week's Global Focus takes a look into how our oceans are affected by plastic pollution, but also how this could change thanks to a new UN initiative. Efforts to address global plastic pollution took a significant step forward this month as world governments agreed to establish a group of experts to look into the problem of plastic in our seas One recent report says that if nothing is done, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish, in the seas. At the third meeting of the United...


Israel continues charm offensive across Africa

In Global Focus this week, RFI's Laura Martel takes a closer look at the relationship between Israel and Africa. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahou announced last week the opening of an embassy in Rwanda and expressed a desire for Israel to become an official 'observer' member of the African Union. These are the latest stages of a diplomatic offensive launched by Netanyahou in February 2016 to strengthen ties with Africa, embodied in a catchphrase : "Israel is coming back to...


Mogadishu's iRise Hub offers an optimistic, innovative, hi-tech future for Somalia

There are aspects of Somalia that never make the headlines. A tech savvy Somalia. driven by a global diaspora returning home, bringing innovative projects with them. iRise Hub incubator in Mogadishu is one of them. iRise Hub is a tech incubator for start-ups and a co-working space for young tech entrepreneurs. A tech hub offers innovators, developers, investors, techies, and startups the working space to share ideas, connect and collaborate with each other iRise Hub was launched in...


Should Britain apologise for the Balfour declaration?

Celebrated by supporters, contested by its detractors,100 years on the Balfour declaration continues to divide opinion. The 67-word letter written by Lord Arthur Balfour, Britain’s then foreign minister, paved the way for the creation of Israel. Palestinians say it also dispossessed them of their land. A century after Britain first declared its support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, its motives at the time continue to divide opinion. The 67 words penned by Arthur Balfour paved the way...


What's on the menu at this year's United Nations Climate Summit talks

In Germany, delegates at the United Nations Climate Summit are halfway through this year’s meeting. Fabien Jannic Cherbonnel has more now on this week’s Global Focus.


Why things are getting tougher for Monrovia's fishermen

In today's Global Focus, RFI's Laura Angela Bagnetto goes to the Atlantic shores of Liberia's capital Monrovia to talk to fishermen who say they are going to suffer because a presidential decree has reduced their fishing zone by half.


Young people offer tech solutions to Africa’s problems

Two young tech innovators from Somalia and South Africa are working together to develop study guides for Somali youth. They belong to this dynamic generation of young African entrepreneurs who are bringing 21st century solutions to the table. From education, health to security, Africa’s youth are taking matters in their own hands with their innovative tech platforms. Africa has the youngest population in the world, according to the United Nations, with well over 226 million young people...


Could postal survey help the cause of same-sex marriage in Australia?

In this week's Global Focus, RFI's Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel takes a look at a postal survey taking place in Australia that could pave the way for gay marriage.