Germany's outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Israel on a farewell tour Sunday, after a 16-year term during which she cultivated warm relations with the Jewish state.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said he and Merkel would discuss "regional threats and challenges, especially the Iranian nuclear issue", and maintaining Israel's "strength in all spheres".
It is Merkel's eighth and final visit to Israel as chancellor, as she prepares to retire from politics.
She arrived late Saturday, the Israeli foreign ministry said.
Merkel had initially planned to visit in August, but delayed her trip amid the chaotic exit of US and allied forces, including Germans, from Afghanistan.
The 67-year-old trained physicist is to receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa's Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology.
She will also visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and meet Israeli tech leaders, Bennett's office said.
The veteran of German politics will be the guest of the recently sworn-in Bennett, who ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 straight years as premier.
Merkel congratulated Bennett on taking office in June, saying Germany and Israel were "connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further".
Merkel's administration advocated for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But she stressed Israel's security as a crucial priority of German foreign policy.
Germany and Israel forged strong diplomatic ties in the decades after World War II, with Berlin committed to the preservation of the Jewish state in penance for the Holocaust.
In 2008, Merkel stood before the Israeli parliament to atone on behalf of the German people in a historic address.
Her administration backed Israel's "right to defend itself" in May, as Israel bombed Gaza in response to rockets fired by militants from the blockaded enclave.
Israeli strikes killed 260 people in Gaza including combatants, Palestinian health authorities said.
Standing beside the piles of dark red palm fruits ready for crushing for their essence, Nigerian farmer Micah Ojo hopes to cash in on the government's drive to revive the country's once thriving palm oil business. His farm is one of the small plantations scattered across southern Nigeria where the government is investing heavily in palm industry as part of its drive to diversify away from petroleum and help create jobs.
Entangled, since the fall in oil prices in 2016, in an economic crisis that has been further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa's most populous country must diversify its economy and create jobs for its more than 200 million inhabitants.
As Africa's largest oil producer and the continent's largest economy in terms of GDP, Nigeria has decided to invest massively in palm oil, of which it was the world's leading producer in the 1960s.
Now the world's fifth largest producer, it imports nearly half of the two million tons consumed annually in the country, further depleting foreign exchange reserves already depleted by falling oil prices.
But Micah Ojo, who farms one of the small plantations dotting Akwa Ibom and other southern Nigerian states, where rows of oil palms line the roads but many mills have been abandoned, complains that he does not benefit from the loans the government provides through the central bank to large farms and investors.
"This is a sector that needs a lot of capital, we need the government to come and help us", he pleads, the central bank loans "are not going to the local farmers (...) you only hear about it on the news".
In Edo State, the palm and rubber trees of the Okumu Oil Palm Company cover more than 33,000 hectares of land.
These plantations were partly financed by a loan of 14 billion naira (29 million euros), contracted as part of the various development plans launched in recent years by the government, for the purchase of new and better quality seedlings and to help producers develop new plantations and factories.
"This has helped us a lot to expand," Okomu's managing director, Graham Hefer, a South African executive who has been running the company since 2007, told AFP.
The Covid-19 pandemic has both exposed and made worse the critical infrastructure deficit in developing countries.
At the Paris Infraweek on Monday, African leaders, investors, lenders, multilaterals, and other players of the infrastructure finance community from around the world made a case for investment in the continent's economic and social infrastructure.
"Communications, telecommunications, energy, water, these are very high priority areas for us and obviously the social aspect of health and education," said Abdel Aziz Ould Dahi, the Mauritanian Minister for Digital transition and Innovation.
But there's also climate change. With severe weather events expected to become more frequent in the coming years, countries face a race against time to invest in resilient and bankable infrastructure.
"We are really stressing social impact in our conversations with countries," said Alain Tchibozo, the Chief Economist at the West African Development Bank (BOAD) during a panel discussion.
"In the past years, it was only roads, roads, and roads. But now we are talking about green energy, internet infrastructure, and food security. So the infrastructure needs are changing and so should financing," he said.
But who will pick up the bill for Africa's roads, dams, schools, pipelines, internet base stations, and railways?
The African Development Bank estimates that the continent’s infrastructure financing needs will be as much as $170 billion a year by 2025, with an estimated gap of around $100 billion a year.
Experts say countries must attract private finance to complement public resources.
"I think the money is to be mobilized. The channel has to be somehow widened and the effort accelerated. But I don't think we need to invent any new mottos. It's a question of actually running rather than just walking," said Thierry Deau, the CEO of Meridiam.
Google said on Wednesday it will invest $1 billion over the next five years to allow for faster and more affordable internet access and support entrepreneurship in Africa.
Internet reliability is a problem in Africa where less than a third of the continent's 1.3 billion people are connected to broadband, according to the World Bank.
But the continent, where nearly half the population is under 18, is a promising market.
According to Google and Alphabet boss, Sundar Pichai "huge strides" have been made in recent years, but more work is needed to make "internet accessible, affordable and useful for every African"
The investment will support digital transformation by ensuring improved connectivity and access, he said in a statement.
The funds will, among other things, go towards infrastructure development including the Equiano subsea cable that will connect South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena with Europe.
The deal expands Google's pledge announced four years ago to train around 10 million young Africans and small-scale businesses in digital skills.
"I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa's biggest problems than Africa's young developers and startup founders," said Google's Africa managing director Nitin Gajria.
Internet access is also hampered by the affordability of smartphones.
Google said it will partner with Kenya's telecoms giant Safaricom to launch affordable Android smartphones for first time users.
The project will later be rolled out across the continent with other carriers such Airtel, MTN, Orange and Vodacom.
Technology is changing agriculture in Kenya.
A new app allows farmers who cannot afford their own machinery to connect to tractor owners and hire their services.
Jehil Oliver is a former US investment banker, founder and chief executive of the company behind "Hello Tractor".
Various set up shots of Jehiel Oliver, founder and chief executive of "Hello Tractor", (an agriculture technology company that connects tractor owners to small holder farmers in need of tractor services) working in his office
"Nearly all farmers in the Africa region are reliant on rain fed agricultural systems. This means that they have to plant on time in order to maximise their yield. There is simply not enough labour available in these rural communities to ensure farmers have access to the labour that they need to plant on time and maximise their productivity. That is where Hello Tractor comes in", explains Jehil Oliver.
After installation on a smartphone, the app connects farmers to their nearest available tractor with the right equipment for the job required.
The app has improved business for both tractor owners and farmers as easy access to machinery can vastly increase production.
Dominic Kimani is a tractor owner that realises the benefits of the new system.
"In the old days we used to park our tractors at shopping centres and patiently wait for customers who would not show up sometimes. However, with the use of this application I can get customers from far and wide and it has been easy to find work", says the tractor owner.
Currently, the platform has access to around 3,000 tractor owners.
The company also recruits agents in the community tasked with signing up farmers and providing assistance.
Coming from at least 12 countries on the continent, young Africans have expressed their expectations and their frustrations on democracy and the relationship with France, during an unprecedented summit in Montpellier that prioritized the word of civil society.
They come from Burkina Faso, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco... and they have a lot to say to France, concerning the colonial heritage, the visa policy or development aid.
From the opening of the summit on Friday morning, to which some 3,000 people were invited, the round table "Citizen Engagement and Democracy" attracted many spectators and speakers.
"We hope that Montpellier will be a new beginning. Let us listen to the African field, the African youth, it has things to say to the world and to France," said Bakary Sambe, director of the Timbuktu Institute.
No head of state of the continent has been invited to this summit, which is held in a delicate context while the influence of France in its former pre-square is increasingly disputed, particularly by Russia, and Paris is in open crisis with two of its former colonies, Mali and Algeria.
Referring to the recent decision of Paris to drastically reduce the number of visas for Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians, Mehdi Alioua, a professor of Political Science in Rabat, deplored what he described as "collective punishment". Alioua to the applause of the audience denounced the visa policy as a "system of humiliation (and) vexation".
Also, the issue of mobility remains a very important concern of African youth, who have not seen the promises of President Emmanuel Macron materialize, four years after his speech in Ouagadougou.
Another subject that was discussed a lot was the state of democracy on the African continent, and the "French interference".
"We are stuck between a condescending Western discourse that wants to educate Africans and a discourse of our governments saying that Westerners want to impose their values," said Habiba Issa Moussa, a young student from the University of Aix-Marseille, of Nigerian origin.
"We must rethink governance in Africa and not copy and paste the European model of governance," said Clément Dako, a Malian, pleading for "Africa to have its own democratic path.
"The essential issues here are not entrepreneurship or sports - largely discussed at the summit in Montpellier, editor's note - it is politics!" launched for her part the Burkinabe Sibila Saminatou Ouedraogo, criticizing "the relationship of dependence" of Africa to France.
In the afternoon, President Macron was to debate with a panel of twelve young African women, selected at the end of dialogues conducted for months across the continent by the Cameroonian intellectual Achille Mbembe, charged with preparing the summit.
"I would really like to believe in it," David Maenda Kithoko, a political refugee from the DRC in France, told AFP. "But I have many doubts. Concerning the relationship between France and Africa, there are a lot of big words on the one hand, and a lack of courage on the other," lamented the young activist, who is calling for recognition of mining "ecocides" in his country. "I would like that France engages in a frontal way on this subject, but French companies as Total profit from the mining", he reminded.
In his report, submitted to the French president on Tuesday, Achille Mbembe believes that France is too disconnected "from new movements and political and cultural experiments" carried by the continent's youth.
At the end of the summit, the French president, who is likely to run for re-election in seven months, could make general announcements based on Achille Mbembe's proposals. Among them, the creation of a fund to support initiatives to promote democracy, programs allowing greater student mobility, or the establishment of a "Euro-African forum on migration".
Seven million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have been administrated among Nigeria's of 206 million poupulation.
Alhaji Lubisalah, a religious leader welcomed the efforts made by the government to combat the virus but said the authorities should pay more attention to the continent's battle against malaria, which he said was killing more people than COVID-19.
At Kuje Mosque in Abuja, the deputy Imam received a Moderna vaccine after Friday prayers in an effort to promote getting the jab.
"Yes, in this aspect (vaccinating people against COVID-19) they (the government) are doing good but, we have more important sickness, more than this, I don't know why the government are emphasizing on this. Like malaria now is killing many people in this country but government says nothing."
_"If they (people that have doubts about the vaccine) are saying something different (other than that the vaccine is good) it means they don't know the impact of this. They don't have the knowledge of what it means to be vaccinated." said _Usheni Bako Zakaria, trader and Muslim worshipper.
The WHO endorsed the world's first malaria vaccine on Wednesday after clinical trials carried out in three African countries - Ghana, Kenya and Malawi - where more than 800,000 children have received the vaccine since 2019.
The news has been received with excitement in Africa which accounted for 94% of the world's malaria cases in 2019 with an estimated 215 million cases, according to the WHO World Malaria Report 2020.
After claiming to have had affairs with males for two decades, Aaron Adjetey Akron has disavowed the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) community, describing their practices as “unnatural”.
At a press briefing on Friday, Mr Adjetey Akron, now a pastor, argued that being attracted to the same sex is an abnormal choice and not genetic, as many LGBTQ+ movements claim.
According to him, “No one was born gay it is just a feeling,” thus, “It is possible [for gays and lesbians] to come out.”
On October 6, some top officials of the Church of Pentecost marched to Parliament to present a memorandum supporting the passage of the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.
Officially known as the Proper Human Sexual and Ghanaian Family Bill, 2021, the drafted legislation prohibits the activities and advocacy of LGBTQ+.
Opposers, however, argue that when the bill is passed into law, it will be in violation of the fundamental human rights of individuals who identify with the group.
But, the supposed reformed gay insisted that legalising what he described as “ungodly” will be signing the country’s death warrant.
Mr Adjetey Akron further cited the Holy Bible, indicating that LGBTQ+ activities are desires of the flesh; thus, individuals must practise self-control.
OFFICIALS OF the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), its licensed allied agencies and farmers, will henceforth enjoy police escort services to prevent further criminal attacks.
Inspector General of Police, Dr George Akufo Dampare, who disclosed this yesterday to journalists in Accra after he met management of COCOBOD and licensed buying companies to discuss security lapses within the sector and how the police could provide strategic assistance to the sector, said by the arrangement, officials disbursing funds, farmers receiving cocoa funds and trucks carrying cocoa beans from farming communities to the ports would be given escort services.
In attendance were members of the Police management board, senior police officers, officials of COCOBOD led by Dr Emmanuel Opoku, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Administration.
ACP Kwesi Ofori, who also briefed the media after a two hour close door discussions between the police and Cocobod officials, said the there had been reports on attacks on COCOBOD officials disbursing funds, farmers and trucks transporting the cocoa beans to the various ports over the past years.
“We have resolved to put in security measures in terms of conducting snap checks in these areas, providing escort services and providing security to the farmers who come into contact with money to ensure that they are safe and run their businesses without fear,” he noted.
Ambulance Service rubbishes video on 'abandoned' vehicles
The First Country To Kill A Homosexual Is The US; It Was A Mental Disorder (VIDEO)
COP Dr George Akuffo Dampare has been sworn in as the 23rd Inspector General of Police in Ghana. He was sworn into office by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday October 8 at the seat of government, the Jubilee House.
“He has demonstrated he will be an effective leader of the Police,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“We have a worthy successor to Mr Oppong-Buanoh (the immediate past IGP) and the others who have gone before him,” Mr Akufo-Addo added.
“Government will do its best to assist you,” he stressed.
He further euologised Mr Oppong Buanoh for his work during the his time in office as the IGP.
COP Dampare was appointed as Acting IGP on August 1.
A 27-year-old woman has allegedly beheaded her husband Lartey Daniel, 35, in a bizarre circumstance at My God Village at Tei Glover, a farming Community near Akyem Bosuso in Fanteakwa South District in Eastern Region.
The suspect, Rachel Tetteh has been arrested by Police while the headless body was deposited at the morgue for preservation and autopsy.
Kasapa News has gathered that a misunderstanding ensued between the couple and while the now-deceased husband was on his way to the farm, the suspect trailed and allegedly pushed him to the ground and took control of the cutlass to cut off his head.
The Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Regional Police Command DSP Ebenezer Tetteh told Kasapa News, Police upon receipt of information about the crime at about 7:30 am Sunday, October 3, 2021, dispatched investigators to the scene.
He said Police found the lifeless body of the deceased in ash trousers over white T-shirt lying dead in a prone position in a pool of blood with a severed head along the footpath to the farm.
Police took inventories of the crime scene and examined the body.
The body was retrieved and deposited at Akyem Tafo Government Hospital Morgue Pending autopsy.
DSP Ebenezer Tetteh added that Police proceeded to arrest the suspect, Rachel Tetteh, and retrieved the cutlass she used to commit the heinous crime
The suspect is currently in Police custody assisting investigation.
Two suspected armed robbers were gunned down by the Police on September 24, 2021, after attempting to rob a gold dealer at Manso Dawusaso in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti Region.
The government has initiated process to acquire a new and bigger presidential jet.
Superintendent of Police, Samuel Aboagye, the Krachi East Police Commander, has said investigations have begun into the alleged kidnapping of a 15-year-old girl at Tokuroano in the Krachi East Municipality of the Oti Region.
The victim, (name withheld), alleged that the three kidnappers dragged her about one mile into the thicket and tied her to a tree, when a snake bit one of them, enabling her to escape.
When the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the victim, she said one of the attackers was bitten by a snake, and the other two rushed to save him.
“They told me they were going to the hospital, after which they will come back and finish me,” she said.
The victim said a man, believed to be in his 70s with grey hair and long beard, wearing facemask, came from nowhere and untied her and showed her the way home.
Madam Cynthia Adzoda, a female teacher the victim stays with, told the GNA that the incident was immediately reported to the police.
A visit by the GNA to the “crime scene” showed the victim’s slippers, cutlass and a scarf.
A Kenyan High Court judge, Teresia Matheka, has declared being a housewife a full-time job that should attract some form of compensation.
The judge, who was presiding over a matrimonial property dispute, said that it is unfair for courts to rule that housewives do not contribute anything to the financial progress of the family, K24 reports
For months, Acholo Jani was told to get a COVID-19 vaccination because it might save his life.
He hesitated, fearful of potential side effects, but the moment he was told it would save his job, Jani got in line.
"I was supposed to be at work right now, but now I'm standing here in the queue but they are not serving me very fast," said Jani.
The 43-year-old mechanic's employer is among many in Zimbabwe mandating shots for their staff, including the government, which is requiring the vaccine for its 500,000 employees.
That sets the southern African nation apart from nearly every other on the continent, where the most immediate challenge is still simply acquiring enough doses.
Zimbabwe, by contrast, says it has ample supply for now, mostly purchased from China, but that hesitancy is holding back its campaign - a problem that has also troubled other African countries, partly driven by a general distrust of authorities.
But Zimbabwe's strategy is raising worrying rights questions.
Critics say that, unlike in richer countries that have made use of mandates, Zimbabwe's rollout isn't up to the task.
Vaccination centers sometimes run out of supply, and poor urban townships and rural areas have often been starved of doses in recent months.
What's more, they say, it's cruel to put at risk the livelihoods of people who are some of the world's most vulnerable and already suffering during the pandemic.
At Jani's workplace, a vaccination card, a pocket-sized booklet with the government's emblem on the front, is now "your gate pass," he said.
Jani eventually got his first shot - after joining the line at 5 a.m. and waiting for seven hours - but others were not so lucky.
Some waited hours on end only to be told the vaccination center was closing early because of limited supplies or a lack of staff.
People eligible for second shots have also complained of being turned away from centers giving preference to those seeking first doses.
A new batch of vaccines arrived recently, and lines appear to be shortening.
Around 15% of Zimbabwe's 15 million people are fully vaccinated - well above the overall African rate of 4% but far from the government's goal of 60%
Zimbabwe's central bank has frozen the bank accounts of 30 people accused of illegally exchanging foreign currency through mobile phones and social networks, it said on Tuesday.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said in a statement on Tuesday it had identified 30 people "abusing mobile telecommunication services and other social media platforms" for "illegal foreign exchange transactions and money laundering".
Their accounts have been frozen and they are now banned from banking for two years. They also face being blocked by telephone operators.
The Zimbabwean government has been trying to promote the local currency since it was temporarily abandoned in 2009 in favor of the US dollar due to hyperinflation.
Faced with a lack of liquidity, the country printed new notes in 2016.
The local currency has continued to lose value and foreign currency is traded on the black market at cheap rates.
Zimbabwe is still reeling from decades of mismanagement during the Mugabe era. The southern African country has been in a severe economic crisis for years. Many Zimbabweans have watched helplessly as prices have soared and their savings have gone up in smoke.
Industry and exports have plummeted, while foreign currency is becoming scarce.
Angola and Spain are strengthening political and economic ties.
Angola's president João Lourenço visited Madrid on another stage of the international tour that has already taken him to the United States.
The Angolan president repays Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's visit in April, shortly after presenting an ambitious plan to increase Spain's influence in Africa.
João Lourenço was received at the Zarzuela Palace by King Felipe VI.
"With this visit, we intend to establish a true strategic partnership with your country. Strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation, and important areas of our economy" announced Angola's president, João Lourenço.
Pedro Sánchez reiterated the commitment of the Spanish government and the willingness of national companies to contribute to the diversification of the Angolan economy thus reducing its dependence on oil as explained by the minister for External Relations.
"Strategic partnerships are very important because from two partnerships we can not only attract investments, but also attract knowledge that participates in diversification. Diversification also implies 'know-how' for people, for technicians, for the young people that we must undertake... so you have to be a quality worker for us to really achieve the transformation we want" said Téte António.
Angola has become a strategic country for Spain's external growth in Africa.
The Focus Africa 2023 plan will channel institutional support for investments by Spanish companies in the continent.
The ivory-billed woodpecker is among 23 species declared extinct by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
The service has proposed removing them from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which protects species under threat.
In all, 11 birds, one bat, two fish, one plant and eight types of mussel have been declared extinct.
The FWS said it had made the determination based on "rigorous reviews of the best available science for each of these species".
"Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our nation's natural heritage and to global biodiversity," Bridget Fahey, who oversees species classification for the Fish and Wildlife Service, was quoted as saying in the New York Times.
"And it's a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change."
The ivory-billed woodpecker was once the US's largest woodpecker species but the last commonly agreed sighting was in 1944 in Louisiana. The species was officially listed as endangered in 1967.
Another bird declared extinct is the Bachman's warbler, which was one of the rarest songbirds in North America. It too has been listed as endangered since 1967
The government is developing a standardised fee system for all public institutions to charge people seeking access to information under the Right to Information (RTI) Law, the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has announced.
According to him, the absence of a unified fee system was one of the challenges facing the implementation of the RTI Law, for which reason the government was working on a proposal which would soon be laid before Parliament for consideration.
“I am aware of one review application that has been occasioned by disagreement over fees and charges. A proposal on the fees and charges has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and will soon be presented to Parliament,” he said.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah announced this at Ghana’s commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to information (IDUAI) in Accra yesterday.
The event was organised by the RTI Commission, the statutory body mandated to safeguard the right to information, as enshrined in Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution and operationalised by the RTI Act, 2019 (Act 989).
September 28 was instituted as the IDUAI by the United Nations (UN)Ghana’s commemoration was on the theme: “Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989): A tool to ensure transparency, good governance, sustainable development in leveraging international cooperation”.
Act 989, which was passed in 2019 and came into force in 2020, helps people have access to information from public institutions.
Currently, there is no standardised fee system, which means public institutions use their discretion to peg their fees. This can, however, be reviewed by the RTI Commission.
General Assembly in 2019 to create awareness of the significance of access to information.
Ghana’s commemoration was on the theme: “Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989): A tool to ensure transparency, good governance, sustainable development in leveraging international cooperation”.
Act 989, which was passed in 2019 and came into force in 2020, helps people have access to information from public institutions.
Currently, there is no standardised fee system, which means public institutions use their discretion to peg their fees. This can, however, be reviewed by the RTI Commission
In July this year, the Minerals Commission charged the Fourth Estate, an online news portal, GH¢6,000 as fees for access to information.
The Fourth Estate had asked the mining regulator for a list of companies licensed to undertake mining in the country between January 2013 and May 2021, and companies whose licences were revoked or suspended within that same period and the accompanying reasons.
Following a petition by the Fourth Estate, the RTI Commission annulled the fees and ordered the Minerals Commission to charge the news portal GH¢2.
“The commission directs the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Mr Martin K. Ayisi, to ensure the application of a charge or fee of either GH¢1.80 multiplied by the number of pages of information to be printed or GH¢1.90 if the information in its entirety is to be e-mailed to the applicant in PDF format,” the commission ruled.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the Minerals Commission dragged the RTI Commission to the Accra High Court seeking an order to quash the ruling.
Another controversy regarding the fees was the case of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Mr Ernest Norgbey, who sued the Electoral Commission (EC) in July last year over the EC’s failure to grant him access to information on certain procurements in connection with the biometric voter management system (BVMS).
The EC argued that inasmuch as it recognised the MP’s right to the information under the Constitution and Act 989, it could not honour the said request because Parliament was yet to fix the fees one had to pay in order to request for information under Act 989.
The Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, upheld the MP’s case and ordered the EC to release the information to him at a cost of GH¢1,500.