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Spotlight on Africa


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.


Paris, France




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




Spotlight on Africa - Ethiopia's triple threat against locusts

Ethiopia is currently battling one of its worst locust invasions since 1958. But since then, the country has rolled out a defence system to make sure damage is minimal across the country. Find out more in this edition of Spotlight on Africa. Read more on Ethiopia's efforts to control the locust invasion


Spotlight on Africa - Searching for answers, 15 years after Ghanaians murdered in Gambia

In Accra, a new documentary out this January sheds light on the 2005 murders of 56 West Africans in The Gambia – most of them Ghanaians. In I cannot Bury My Father, director Nana-Jo Ndow explores the lack of closure – and the lack of information – the families of the victims were given. RFI speaks to Ndow and Isaac Mensah, one of the sons of the victims, who are looking for the remains of their parents – and looking for answers.


Spotlight on Africa - UN General Assembly president calls for respect for diversity while promoting shared values

The Paris Peace Forum is now underway with around 30 heads of state and leaders of civil society meeting to promote global peace. French President Emmanuel Macron opened the forum on Tuesday by saying that the global political system was in "unprecedented crisis", and called for new kinds of alliances to help solve problems. United Nations General Assembly President Tijani Muhammad-Bande spoke to RFI on the sidelines of the forum in Paris, and he expressed similiar sentiments, calling for...


Spotlight on Africa - France's Africa Ambition

The time to invest in Africa is now. That was the message hammered home at last week’s France-Africa business summit, which saw the French government position itself as a new investment hub for the continent. Yet, many French companies still shy away from African markets and bilateral trade has fallen. Can France make up for lost time with China and reclaim its status as Africa’s main European trading partner? And if so, on what terms? RFI’s Christina Okello reports. To listen to this...


Spotlight on Africa - Can France’s minorities learn from US slavery struggle?

In August, America marked 400 years since the arrival of the first Africans in 1619, which started the institution of slavery. In France, observers are questioning whether there are lessons to be learned for France’s African community. In a brightly lit room of the American library in Paris, members of the public pour in for a conference exploring the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to the British colony of Virginia. The guest speaker, a civil rights expert and...


Spotlight on Africa - Black model art show challenges France's colour blindness

A recent Paris exhibition honouring forgotten black models of modern art has shone a spotlight on black identity in a society where race remains a controversial subject. France has been multicultural "since the 19th and 20th century", says Denise Murrell, co-curator of Le Modèle Noir or Black Models. The landmark exhibition on modern art’s forgotten black models ran from March to July at Paris’ Orsay museum. On Friday 13 September, it was due to premiere at Pointe à Pitre in Guadeloupe. The...


Spotlight on Africa - What's behind Macron's courting of the African diaspora?

France has recently made overtures to the African diaspora, inviting them to be the bridge between France and their countries of origin. Critics say it's a move to regain a foothold in the former colonies. But France's African community could leverage its influence to ask for recognition at home. In France, there are no statistics on "race" or ethnicity. Racial categories that are commonplace in the US and UK such as white, black or Asian don’t exist. The logic is simple: to avoid racism,...


Spotlight on Africa - Teenage flight of fancy from Cape Town to Cairo

A group of 20 teenagers are set to make aviation history when they fly a light aircraft from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo in Egypt on 15 June. Together they will fly the length of the continent, covering over 10,000 kilometres in a plane they assembled themselves. Seventeen-year-old Megan Werner was behind the initiative, and founded U-Dream Global, an aviation outreach initiative that fosters “visionary thinking” to inspire young people to pursue their dreams. Speaking from...


Spotlight on Africa - Rwanda's challenging road to reconciliation

In the 25 years since the Rwandan genocide, the country has emerged to become one of Africa’s success stories. Its remarkable recovery has stemmed from efforts towards nation-building. But some critics argue this bid for ethnic reconciliation is far from complete. In this week’s Spotlight on Africa, RFI's Christina Okello travels to Kigali to explore how Rwanda has dealt with the trauma of its past. Tucked away in a courtyard away from the main commercial area in Kigali, is a small memorial...


Spotlight on Africa - One month on, Chadian diaspora still angry over French air strikes

Chadians living in France and Germany have been demonstrating against French air strikes supporting Chad’s longtime autocratic ruler, Idriss Deby. The strikes on 3 February were intended to prevent an armed group from Libya from toppling the president. Instead, they have sparked familiar accusations of French interference in African politics. French authorities have defended the strikes against Chadian rebels, insisting that it was Deby himself who invited them in. But is Paris overstepping...


Spotlight on Africa - Spreading the word of dementia amongst Nigeria's growing elderly population

With one of the largest populations in Africa, Nigeria has nearly 200 million people. And with that is a rise in the number of elderly people, but many are unprepared with seeing loved ones suffer from the problems of dementia. But with traditions still very intact, often those suffering from the effects of dementia are feared to be witches, wizards or possessed by a supernatural spirit. In this edition of Spotlight on Africa, hear about one woman's campaign to spread the word of dementia...


Spotlight on Africa - “No future in Sudan under Bashir” says opposition leader

Sudan is on the verge of a new revolution, as protesters angry at President Bashir's 30-year rule, demand change. At least 51 people have been killed since 19 December when anti-government demonstrations began, according to rights groups. Opposition parties have urged the international community to investigate the killings. "Business as usual is not possible," says Yasir Arman, deputy head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N). Arman is leading a coalition of opposition...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...


Spotlight on Africa - 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...