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Global Focus


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.






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.




Seychelles, blazing a trail in marine conservation

As the world grapples with the climate emergency, Seychelles is leading the way in marine conservation – ten years ahead of United Nations deadlines. A marine expedition into its deep waters has analysed a huge swathe of unchartered Indian Ocean territory, providing invaluable research. “The Seychelles are a beacon for ocean conservation, ocean science and ocean management. They’ve really taken the lead where others are catching up,” says Oliver Steeds, founder and mission director of...


Pain of Yazidi genocide remembered in France

Yazidis gathered in the north of Paris to commemorate the genocide which began on 3 August 2014. The survivors and their children are refugees in France. They all have a vivid memory of that day when they left a part of themselves in the Sinjar mountains. The laughter and shouts of children playing on the narrow stretch of green grass liven up the Nelson Mandela Sports Centre in Sarcelles. They are playing next to the only monument in France commemorating the beginning of the Yazidi genocide...


Building tolerance towards elephants through empowering local communities

Elephants are at the centre of debates in which southern African countries demand control over their wildlife resources and want the ban on ivory trade to be lifted. Strategies are being devised to encourage tolerance and overcome human-elephant conflict as both species compete for natural resources. “In many ways, southern Africa has become a victim of their conservation success, as far elephants go,” says Dr Russell Taylor, the Transboundary Conservation Planning Advisor for the World...


18th century manuscripts reveal life in Louisiana under French rule

Eighteenth century documents in French and Spanish retracing life in Louisiana have been made available online, free of charge. The Colonial Documents Collection provides a unique window into the daily life of the people – free and enslaved – who then lived in Louisiana, and brings history closer, three centuries later. “The Council declares the negro Louis guilty as charged of stealing by day and by night and of repeated burglaries and of running away… condemns him to make a public...


2018 in retrospect: Science in France

2018 saw France host a landmark event in the history of science: the redefining of the kilogram. There were also Nobel-winning advances in laser technology, and we'll soon be getting a feel for Martian vibrations, as scientists land a seismometer on the red planet. On 16 November in Versailles, the General Conference on Weights and Measures adopted a resolution to update the definitions of the International System of units based on fundamental constants of nature. This means that the...


2018 in retrospect: Sport

France’s second World Cup triumph, exactly two decades after the first, leads the list of sporting highs of the past twelve months. Their victory in Moscow also saw Didier Deschamps become the third man in history to win international football's greatest prize as both player and manager. Les Bleus' 4-2 final victory over Croatia and Paul Pogba's subsequent dressing room celebrations feature in RFI's 2018 Sports Retrospective. Also, Caroline Wozniacki speaks frankly about her rheumatoid...


2018 in retrospect: Culture in France

2018 has been a colourful year of culture in France. Among the highs and lows: scandals and deaths, new worlds, old worlds. And even webbed worlds. The year opened and closed with dramatic cultural arachnids. In January, in La Monnaie de Paris, Louise Bourgeois’ famous giant metal spiders held court alongside other female artists in a show entitled Women House. 2018 closes with another look at the webs we weave, this time a full immersion in the world of spiders with Argentinian artist...


2018 in retrospect: France

France's year of blue and yellow - blue football jerseys in summer as the world's football champions. Yellow vests in winter for violent protests against government policy. Here is a look at the main events that marked French politics and society in 2018. France wins the FIFA World cup On 15 July 2018, France became "champions du monde" for the second time in World Cup history. France beat Croatia 4-2 in a match that media called one of the most exciting World Cup finals of the modern era....


2018 in retrospect: Africa

2018 was a bustling year on the African continent filled with elections and inaugurations that marked shifts in power from Liberia to Zimbabwe but also on a more grassroot level like in Tunisia where the capital elected its first female mayor. Moving away from years of tension also seemed to be on the menu for many countries, including Ethiopia and Eritrea, who resumed friendly exchanges after falling out two decades ago. However, regional unrest in Cameroon, Nigeria and DRC could not be...


2018 in retrospect: International News

2018 saw a thawing in relations between the two Koreas, women in Ireland being granted legal access to abortion and those in Saudi Arabia, the right to drive. Meanwhile in India, homosexuality was decriminalised. Some things did not change, such as the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, gun regulations in the United States and unrest in Syria and Afghanistan. And European countries remain at loggerheads on how to deal with refugees arriving on their shores. Wildfires in Greece, Sweden and...


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 instructing...


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 Kasaby,...


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 Got...


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...


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 a...


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 diplomatic...


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 by...


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.