South Asia and Beyond

Understanding The World’s Second-Largest Continent

 Understanding The World’s Second-Largest Continent

Islamic State Extends Control Over Northeastern Mali

Jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State have taken Tidermene in Mali, further isolating the regional capital Menaka. Tidermene’s fall follows months of fighting by Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) to seize the northeastern village of a few thousand inhabitants some 75 kilometres (47 miles) north of Menaka. All the region’s main administrative subdivisions are now under the group’s control. The regions have seen intense battles between ISGS fighters and the Al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM), as well as with former Tuareg independence fighters who signed a peace deal in 2015, and loyalists who once fought the independence fighters. Experts believe the jihadists stepped into a vacuum left when French forces departed last year.

Source: Africa News

South Africa Plans Appeal After UAE Denies Gupta Extradition

South Africa has responded to news that an extradition request for Rajesh and Atul Gupta, long wanted in connection with its years-long “state capture” corruption investigations, was denied this week by authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In a statement issued by Chrispin Phiri, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services, the South African government said it was only now notified of a February 13 decision in UAE courts. The UAE said it was denying extradition on money laundering charges because the alleged crimes occurred in both South Africa and the UAE, so the UAE can retain jurisdiction. And on the charge of fraud, the arrest warrants had been canceled. “We still intend to engage our counterparts as requested in March to ensure that the decision of the court is promptly appealed.”

Source: Africa Times

Fighting Rocks Khartoum As Army Battles Paramilitaries

Explosions rocked the Sudanese capital Khartoum Saturday as paramilitaries and the regular army traded attacks on each other’s bases, days after the army warned the country was at a “dangerous” turning point. The eruption of violence comes after weeks of deepening tensions between military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his number two, paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, over the planned integration of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into the regular army. The RSF said its forces had taken control of Khartoum airport, after witnesses reported seeing truckloads of fighters entering the airport compound.

Source: The East African

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AfDB says African faces annual GDP shortfall of $127.2b by 2030

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says the African continent faces an annual GDP shortfall that could exceed 127.2 billion dollars by 2030. It stated on Friday that the shortfall would occur if current trends in climate finance flow into Africa continued. “Africa may lose as much as 12 percent of GDP by 2100,” warned the African body. “In comparison, projected losses for the United States of America and other industrialised countries represent less than 1 percent of GDP.’’ The AfDB also stated that it would organise a pre-Annual Meeting news conference in Abidjan on April 20 to herald its 2023 Annual Meeting at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. “The theme of the 2023 Annual Meeting is: “Mobilising Private Sector Financing for Climate and Green Growth in Africa.”

Source: World Stage

IMF Wants Reforms From Ghana Before $3 Billion Bailout Is Given

Ghana’s creditors are expected to meet next week to discuss a debt restructuring that could pave the way for a $3bn bailout from the International Monetary Fund by the end of June, IMF and Ghanaian officials said at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank. President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government secured a staff-level agreement in December as the country defaulted on most of its foreign debt amid the worst downturn in a generation. The country expects its bilateral lenders – which include China and Paris Club members – to provide financial assurances by next month, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said on 13 April, setting the stage for the IMF to approve a new loan in the second quarter of 2023. Beyond progress on debt restructuring, the IMF expects Ghana to make a number of structural reforms before it gets its latest bailout, its 18th since 1966.

Source: Africa Report

Ugandan President Introduces Bill That Says Homosexuality Will Be Punishable By Death

The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, recently called on Africa to “save the world from homosexuality”, suggesting he would sign into law a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bill passed by parliament last month. In Uganda and abroad, activists are mounting last-ditch efforts to try and stop the legislation. The bill imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and life imprisonment for “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex acts. It has been widely criticised internationally, with the UN high commissioner for human rights urging the president not to sign it. Nicholas Opiyo, one of Uganda’s top human rights lawyers, says President Museveni, who has 30 days to sign the bill, is in a difficult position on the issue as he faces potential sanctions from his international partners. “Museveni seems mostly preoccupied with what he calls the promotion of homosexual activities. Nonetheless, he has to deal with a constituency that has always highly supported the anti-homosexuality law, but he also has to take into account the view of the rest of the world.”

Source: All Africa