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Spotlight on Africa

RFI France

An in-depth look at an important story affecting the African continent today.

An in-depth look at an important story affecting the African continent today.
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Paris, France


RFI France


An in-depth look at an important story affecting the African continent today.




Merkel's Africa trip wasn't just about migration & investment, it was a signal to EU partners & German voters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrapped up a three-day tour to West Africa at the end of August visiting Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria. The trip was seen as part of a new German diplomatic effort to strengthen ties on the continent with a focus on migration and investment. At the end of the trip, Merkel said that “every country is different”, but she had seen that the continent has “a generation that wants a future in their own countries”. Discussions on irregular migration come at a time when...


Forest conservation efforts in Madagascar making poor people even poorer

New research investigating conservation efforts in Madagascar says some 27,000 people are suffering from restrictions aimed at maintaining tropical forest. The study, published in the PeerJ journal, suggests that people living in the protected area have not been fully compensated and their incomes are affected as a result. The Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, in eastern Madagascar, is part of a pilot project under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme...


Potentially game-changing malaria testing kit secures Ugandan inventors cash prize

A Ugandan team of inventors has won 28,000-euro prize for a device that could revolutionise malaria testing. The Matibabu device tests for malaria without drawing blood using a beam of red light that determines changes in the shape, colour and concentration of red blood cells. The African region has the highest share of malaria cases worldwide and it is hoped Matibabu will be easier and faster than examining blood under a microscope. Spotlight on Africa spoke to Brian Gitta, one of...


Zimbabwe's informal workers eye July poll for change

Zimbabwe’s informal workers hope to make their voices heard in the country’s presidential election in July. They've been doing so through town hall meetings across the country to urge candidates to take them seriously. They make up the bulk of Zimbabwe's workforce, and yet for many years, workers in the informal sector have operated on their own, outside traditional structures. Now they're hoping national elections on July 30 will give them a voice. Informal workers include vendors, street...


Community radio fights Uganda’s LRA legacy

During the 20-year war between the Lord's Resistance Army and government forces in northern Uganda, community stations like Radio Wa used “come home messaging” to encourage abducted children to defect. Today, their broadcasts for peace are working to heal the north's hidden scars. "When the radio began, there was a lot of insecurity," Radio Wa's director Magdaline Kasuku told RFI. It was in late 2001. "There was a lot of violence, there was a lot of killings and one of the biggest weapons...


Is this the man to beat Cameroon's President Biya in this year's elections?

Voters in Cameroon are expected to go to the polls in October for presidential elections that will challenge the 35-year-rule of incumbent President Paul Biya. And one man is hoping to bring Biya’s reign to an end. Akere Muna has been described by some as the most credible possible successor to the Cameroonian leader. The former vice chair of Transparency International has already declared himself as a candidate in the race for the country’s top job. He created the Now Movement aimed at...


Politically motivated violence ahead of Burundi's contentious referendum

Burundians go to the polls on 17 May for a controversial constitutional referendum to decide on changes that could extend the president’s term limits. The changes to the constitution could potentially enable President Pierre Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034 with an additional two terms of seven years. Nkurunziza has already been in power since 2005 and his 2015 bid for a third term in office led to bloodshed. There were protests, an attempted coup d’etat and crackdown by security...


Cameroon: Pardoned lawyer urges Anglophone groups to hold talks and reconcile diverging views

The various Anglophone groups in north west and south west need to come together and talk, setting aside their differences over self-declared independence, federalism or self-determination, according to a leading Anglophone lawyer. Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla, who spent 8 months in prison for organising Anglophone protests, has told Spotlight on Africa that infighting between the differing groups needs to stop. The crisis in Anglophone regions has worsened over recent months with allegations...


Africa’s economic growth on the increase driven by commodities, World Bank outlook

The World Bank this month published its latest analysis of Africa’s economic outlook. The international financial institution says growth in sub-Saharan Africa is picking up, although not quite as fast as it originally forecast last year. The increase in growth has been helped by rising commodity prices such as oil and metals. Spotlight on Africa spoke to Punam Chuhan-Pole, the World Bank’s lead economist for the Africa region… You say economic recovery is underway in sub-Saharan Africa –...


Playing for peace in the Central African Republic

The conflict in the Central African Republic has pitted sectarian militias against each other at the cost of thousands of lives. But could it be resolved through a game? That's the aim of one African developer called Teddy Kossoko, whose new game Kissoro Tribal Game hopes to create a virtual peace that could inspire the whole of the African continent. "Many people around the world don’t know that the Central African Republic even exists," Teddy Kossoko told RFI. It was partly to tackle...


Tunisia must increase investment and push through reforms, says OECD

Tunisian authorities need to boost investment and continue with economic reforms to help create new jobs, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The international economic body has published its first economic survey of Tunisia since the 2011 toppling of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. “The Tunisian economy and society has changed quite substantially in the last few years,” Alvaro Pereira, the OECD’s acting chief economist, told Spotlight...


Fixing broken business financing in Africa with Ovamba startup

The ability of small and medium-sized businesses to access financing is described as one of the biggest challenges to economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. One startup is trying to change the landscape using innovative technology to reach entrepreneurs who would otherwise miss out on funding by traditional banks and credit organisations. “Ovamba provides small and medium enterprises with short-term capital to fund the purchase of inventory from both domestic and international sources,”...


Post-crisis Kenya seeks to affirm its status as East Africa's powerhouse

After months of uncertainty, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga agreed to put aside their differences on 9th of March, for the good of the country, but also the economy. Their dispute has cost Kenya around €800,000 and seen some of its trade re-routed to Tanzania. "When Kenya sneezes, East Africa catches a cold." The saying, which is widely known in the region and was often quoted by commentators at the height of Kenya's 2007-08 violence to explain the impact of the...


Cameroon: The president who likes to go on holiday

New research published this month reveals that Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has spent at least four and a half years on private travel during his time in power. A group of journalists analysed copies of the state-backed Cameroon Tribune newspaper spanning the last 35 years to determine exactly how much time Biya spends outside of the country. The reporters discovered that the Cameroonian head of state spends the bulk of these holidays in Geneva, France and the US. The report estimates that...


Telecom firms giving Africans less digital rights than Europeans

A new report published by advocacy group Internet Without Borders says that telecoms companies operating in Europe and Africa are affording their users different digital rights. The study compares Orange and Vodafone’s subsidiaries to ask whether users in Senegal and Kenya are given the same right to access, use and create digital media as well as access and use devices and networks. The research provides a detailed assessment of respect for freedom of expression and privacy, concluding...


Free speech 'non-existent' in Zambia, says exiled musician

Freedom of expression has deteriorated under Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu, according to a leading musician who fled the country after receiving death threats. Fumba Chama, who goes by the stage name Pilato, fled Zambia at the start of January following a series of intimidating messages. His song Koswe Mumpoto (Rat in the pot) was seen as critical of the government and resulted in menacing voice and video messages. Rights group Amnesty International described the threats to Pilato’s life as...


Tunisia's rulers fail to live up to Arab Spring promise

Nearly one thousand people have been arrested in Tunisia in the biggest wave of social unrest since the revolution. Anger at new austerity measures has brought hundreds of Tunisians back onto the streets with the same demands they did back in 2011. Seven years on, protesters say the government has failed to live up to the promises of the Arab Spring. Every January since the 2011 revolution, Tunisians have taken to the streets to vent their anger over high unemployment and corruption. Seven...


Picture what it means to be a Chadian woman

They work as pilots, potters or footballers, sometimes against incredible odds, to build a better future for themselves and their families. Now for the first time, more than two hundred women are being honoured in a new book called "Portraits of Chadian Women", by artists Salma Khalil and Aché Coelo, who are challenging the way society sees African women. It was a sweltering day in March when Salma Khalil first began work on her joint project with fellow artist Aché Coelo to capture the...


Why did Zimbabwe's war veterans ditch Mugabe?

What finally led to the fall of Robert Mugabe on 21 November? The liberation leader turned authoritarian president was toppled by his erstwhile allies, the war veterans. So what sparked their divorce? Zimbabwe was plunged into chaos on Tuesday 14 November when soldiers and tanks were seen heading towards the capital Harare. "There were soldiers at strategic points, no police to be seen, and that was a tip-off that something major was happening," Knox Chitiyo, an Associate Fellow at...


Has world forgotten Somalia's huge terror attack?

Tuesday 14 November marks one month since a truck bomb exploded in the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing hundreds of people – many of whom were never identified. It was the worst bomb attack in the history of Somalia. In Britain, home to the largest Somali community in Europe, members feel the world has already forgotten the tragedy. "We haven’t seen the kind of media coverage that we normally see when one person shoots another in downtown Manhattan, or even in cities like Paris and London,"...