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US military looks for West Africa ‘Plan B’ after Niger ousting

US military looks for West Africa ‘Plan B’ after Niger ousting

THE top U.S. general is making a rare trip to Africa to discuss ways to preserve some of the U.S. presence in West Africa after Niger decided to kick out the U.S. military in favour of partnering with Russia in a major setback for Washington. Air Force General C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters before landing in Botswana on Monday for a gathering of African chiefs of defence that he was going to speak with several partners in the region. "I do see some opportunities. And there's countries that we're already working within West Africa,"…
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I thought I would be next – survivor of migrant sea disaster

I thought I would be next – survivor of migrant sea disaster

ADFIFT on the Atlantic Ocean, the migrants from West Africa resorted to drinking seawater to quench their unbearable thirst. Then they started dying one by one. Disposing of the bodies became a daily trial for those still alive on the brightly painted wooden fishing boat. “I thought I would be next, that one morning, I too would be dead and in the sea,” said Birane Mbaye, one of 101 men and boys who set off from a fishing village on a wild stretch of Senegal’s coastline last July hoping to reach Europe. They never made it. Back home in Fass Boye,…
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West Africa’s Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone launch malaria vaccination

West Africa’s Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone launch malaria vaccination

BENIN, Liberia and Sierra Leone launched large-scale malaria vaccine programmes on Thursday under an Africa-focused initiative that hopes to save tens of thousands of children's lives per year across the continent. The three West African countries are the latest to participate after successful rollouts of routine malaria immunization for children in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, the global vaccine alliance GAVI said in a statement. The World Health Organization-approved vaccine is meant to work alongside existing tools such as bed nets to combat malaria, which in Africa kills nearly half a million children under the age of 5 each year.…
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US sanctions militant leaders over hostages in West Africa

US sanctions militant leaders over hostages in West Africa

THE U.S. imposed sanctions on leaders of militant groups over the taking of hostages, including Americans, in West Africa, the Treasury and State departments said. WHY IT'S IMPORTANT The sanctions on leaders of the West African branch of al Qaeda, called Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), and Islamist militant group Al-Mourabitoun come as Washington has sought to deter and punish detentions of U.S. citizens abroad. West African countries have been destabilized in recent years by Islamist insurgencies that took root in Mali in 2012 and spread across the Sahel region despite costly, international backed-military efforts. KEY QUOTES "We will not hesitate…
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West Africa’s falling fish stocks: illegal Chinese trawlers, climate change and artisanal fishing fleets to blame

West Africa’s falling fish stocks: illegal Chinese trawlers, climate change and artisanal fishing fleets to blame

AVERAGE fish catches by traditional fishing communities along the West African coast have declined significantly over the past three decades. Along the Gulf of Guinea, stretching from Côte d'Ivoire to Nigeria, fishers launch their wooden canoes from the beach to catch small pelagic fish, like sardines and anchovies, which they sell into local informal markets to make a living. They have done this for generations, but since the 1990s, a decline in the catch has put their livelihoods at risk. In Ghana, total landings of small pelagic fish fell by 59% between 1993 and 2019, despite increased fishing efforts. Landings…
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Senegal election a welcome boost for coup-prone West Africa

Senegal election a welcome boost for coup-prone West Africa

FOR all the drama and the sometimes violent protests in the run-up to Senegal's presidential election, the former French colony looked set for a peaceful transition of power on Monday - a welcome boost for democracy in coup-prone West Africa. Sunday's vote, which was delayed from its original date of February 25, went off smoothly with supporters of opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye celebrating in the streets overnight as preliminary results put him firmly ahead. On Monday, both Faye's rival in the ruling coalition, Amadou Ba, and outgoing President Macky Sall congratulated Faye for winning the election before any official results from the electoral…
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Senegal’s election: What is at stake for investors?

Senegal’s election: What is at stake for investors?

INTERNATIONAL investors will be closely monitoring the presidential election in Senegal, scheduled for March 24, after delays incited widespread protests. The country, usually one of coup-prone West Africa's most stable democracies, has been gripped by tension since early February, when President Macky Sall tried to postpone the vote that had been due to take place on Feb. 25 by 10 months, leading to warnings of democratic backsliding. WHAT ARE INVESTORS FOCUSED ON? Senegal has about $4.2 billion of outstanding international bonds, two issued in euros and three in U.S. dollars. For investors in those bonds, the current focus is on whether the presidential vote will be…
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Free movement in West Africa: three countries leaving Ecowas could face migration hurdles

Free movement in West Africa: three countries leaving Ecowas could face migration hurdles

FOR Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, a recent decision to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has thrown up questions about how they will navigate regional mobility in future. Ecowas covers a variety of sectors, but migration is a major one. The bloc’s protocols since 1979 have long been seen as a shining example of free movement on the continent. They gave citizens the right to move between countries in the region without a visa, and a prospective right of residence and setting up businesses. As multidisciplinary scholars, we have previously researched migration governance in west…
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More than 40 killed in artisanal mine collapse in southwest Mali – mines ministry

More than 40 killed in artisanal mine collapse in southwest Mali – mines ministry

MORE than 40 artisanal gold miners were killed in southwest Mali last week after the shaft they were working in collapsed, Mali's mines ministry said. Artisanal mining is a common activity across much of West Africa and has risen in recent years due to growing demand for metals and rising prices. Deadly accidents are frequent as artisanal miners often use old-fashioned and unregulated methods of digging. The incident in Mali occurred on Friday on a site in the Kangaba Cercle in the south-western Koulikoro Region, the mines ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that did not specify the number…
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