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African multi-millionaires hit 7,100

By News Desk,

There are 7,100 multi-millionaires living in Africa, each with net assets of $10 million or more.

There are over 320 centi-millionaires, each with net assets of $100 million or more; and 24 billionaires each with net assets of $1 billion or more.

AfrAsia Bank Wealth Report 2018, says that total private wealth held in Africa is also expected to rise by 34 per cent over the next 10 years, reaching $3.1 trillion by the end of 2027.

“We expect Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda to be the strongest performing wealth markets in Africa during this period (with 90 per cent to 150 per cent growth rates).

“Our projections for Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia are also relatively solid (50 per cent to 80 per cent growth rates),” the report said.

Tanzania, South Africa, Angola, Morocco, Egypt, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, however, have less favourable forecasts, albeit positive, at between 10 and 30 per cent, mostly due to policy and economic factors that are seeing high net worth individuals hold back investments within these countries.

The African luxury sector generated about $6 billion in revenue in 2017, mainly through the purchase of luxury cars, clothing and accessories, watches, private jets, yachts and luxury hotels and lodges.

It rated Rwanda and Uganda as countries in East Africa that are leading spots for wealth growth in Africa.

The countries are projected to have some of the strongest performing wealth markets in Africa in the next 10 years.

The analysis indicates that wealth held in Africa has risen by 13 per cent in the past decade, and by 3 per cent over the past year, with Mauritius topping the performing individual markets.

In terms of wealth growth in the past decade in East Africa, Rwanda led the region with 74 per cent rate, followed by Kenya at 73 per cent, then Tanzania at 66 per cent and Uganda at 56 per cent.

As at the end of 2017, Kenya topped the region with the highest wealth that are held by individuals at $104 billion, followed by Tanzania and Ethiopia at $60 billion.

Within the continent, South Africa tops in having the wealthiest individuals — holding $722 billion — followed by Egypt at $330 billion and Nigeria at $253 billion.

The new report also shows that the average African individual has net assets of $2,000, with more than 148,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) living in Africa, each with net assets of $1 million or more.

A large portion of luxury sector revenue in Africa comes from luxury hotels and lodges, with South Africa being the main tourist destination.

In terms of wealthiest city, in East Africa, Nairobi beat its regional peers, holding more than $54 billion of private wealth held by the high net worth individuals.

Dar es Salaam was second in the region, at $25 billion, followed by Kampala at $16 billion, and Mombasa at $8 billion.

On the continent, Johannesburg topped at $276 billion, followed by Cairo at $140 billion, then Lagos at $108 billion and Durban at $55 billion.

The major South African destinations for wealthy people are Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Umhlanga and Franschhoek.

In the rest of the continent, major destinations included Mauritius, Seychelles, Marrakech and Casablanca in Morocco, Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, Serengeti in Tanzania, the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, Livingstone Falls in Zambia and the Okavango swamps in Botswana.

In April, the Knight Frank’s Wealth Report showed that Kenya had created 180 new dollar millionaires last year, growing the number of persons with a net worth of over $5 million to 1,290.

Out of the 1,290 dollar millionaires, 90 were worth $50 million with less 10 individuals estimated to have a net worth of over $500 million.

Over the same period, 40 Tanzanians entered the club of dollar millionaire’s worth over $5 million, pushing the countries’ total to 250.

Djibouti nationalises Port de Djibouti

By News Desk,

Port de Djibouti SA which owns 66.66 per cent majority shares in the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) has been nationalised by Djibouti.

Djibouti cited an order from the president “to protect the fundamental interests of the nation and the legitimate interests of its partners” as reason for taking full control of the company.

The DCT’s strategic location near the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden enables it to serve as a busy maritime shipping lane for ships from Asia, as well as oil tankers heading to Europe from the Arab Gulf region.

According to Mariama Sow, Research Analyst – Africa Growth Initiative, said in his expose that the latest move from the Djiboutian government follows months of rising tensions with the port’s operator, a Dubai-based firm called DP World.

In February, Djibouti terminated its contract with DP World after refusing to renegotiate the terms of its 2006 concession and then seized control of the container terminal facility.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in July Port de Djibouti SA terminated its shareholder agreement with DP World.

Following this latest announcement, the government of Djibouti is claiming sole ownership over the DCT since it controls the public firm now running the container terminal.

DP World has stated it will sue the government of Djibouti over its claim to the shipping terminal.

The fight over the Doraleh terminal highlights the growing strategic importance of Djibouti, which is close to some of the world’s busiest maritime shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

In February, the Djibouti government seized the facility, stating that it had terminated a 2006 concession that allowed DP World control of the Doraleh terminal.

This July, Port de Djibouti SA terminated its shareholder agreement with DP World, according to the government.

The Doraleh terminal is now being run by a public company that is solely owned by the Republic of Djibouti, the government said.

Port de Djibouti SA had been owned by the Djibouti government and Hong Kong-based China Merchants Port Holdings Co mpany Ltd., which said in its 2017 annual report it has a 23.5% stake in the asset.

China Merchants didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

DP World has sought to remained involved in the Dorelah terminal. On Sept. 5, the company said it had obtained an injunction from the High Court of England and Wales that prevented the Djibouti government from pushing it out of the port, removing directors at Port de Djibouti SA directors or interfering with that entity’s management.

Representatives for DP World didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

“DP World’s ‘strategy,’ which consists in trying to oppose the will of a sovereign state, is both unrealistic and destined to fail,” the government of Djibouti said in its statement.

The government said it had not been warned that DP World had initiated the legal proceeding and described the injunction as “merely a provisional measure.” It added that “a fair compensation outcome is the only possible option for DP World, in line with the principles of international law.”

Nigeria’s HDI rises by 2 points in latest UNDP report

By News Desk,

A new report by  United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has shown Nigeria’s Human Development Index rising by two points and life expectancy also rising by eight years.

The report measured national achievements in Human Development Index in  health, education and income/standard of living in 187 countries. Nigeria’s rising population, put at 190 million,  appears to be a drag in the index computations.

The HDI report  showed that Nigeria’s HDI value for 2017 was 0.532. It was 0.530 in 2016. And it has shown a consistent increase since the measurement began in 2003. From that base year, when the HDI was estimated at 0.443, it has now increased to 0.532 in 2017, marking a 14.4 per cent over the period.

The country’s life expectancy at birth was also put at 53.9 years while between 1990 and 2017, Nigeria’s life expectancy at birth has increased by 8.0 years, the report showed.

But overall, Nigeria’s  ranking did not change from  157th  out of the 189 countries sampled.

There are other good news in the report.  Years of schooling increased by one year and expected years of schooling increased by 3.3 years, according to the report.

Nigeria’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by about 87.4 percent between 1990 and 2017, the UNDP report showed.

The report put Nigeria’s population at 190.1 million in 2017 while the country’s projected population in 2030 is 264.1 million

Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany led the ranking of 189 countries and territories in the latest HDI, and with the exceptions of 2007 and 2008, Norway has topped the HDI chart every year since 2001.

However, Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi have the lowest scores in the HDI’s measurement of national achievements in health, education and income, with Niger at the lowest for several years.

A child born today in Norway could expect to live beyond 82 years old and spend almost 18 years in school while a child born in Niger could expect only to live to 60 and spend just five years in school.

The HDI criteria are designed to be broad enough to be inclusive of countries’ social, political and economic diversity while being indicative of a country’s quality of life.

Key regional development trends, as shown by the HDI and other human development indices, showed that Sub-Saharan Africa region has seen a 35 per cent growth in HDI since 1990.

Rwanda ranked highest country in the world with most women in parliament. The country has held the top spot   since 2008 with the women holding more than half the seats in the parliament.

Out of the 189 countries for which the HDI is calculated, 59 countries are in the very high human development group and only 38 countries fall in the low HDI group.

While no African country is in the “very high human development” rank, six  African countries are now in the “high human development” group. The countries are the small island nations of  Seychelles, 0.797 (62), Mauritius, 0.790 (65), Algeria, Algeria, 0.754(85) ,  Botswana, 0.717 (101), Libya, 0.706 (108) and Gabon, 0.702 (110). The surprise entry is Libya, despite the ravaging wars in the country.
Fourteen countries in the region are now in the “medium human development” group. They are  South Africa, 113 (0.699), Egypt, 115 (0.696), Morocco, 123 (0.667), Cape Verde, 125 (0.654), Namibia, 129 (0.647), Congo, 137 (0.606).

Others are Ghana, 140 (0.592), Equatorial Guinea, 141 (0.591), Kenya, 142 (0.590), Sao Tome and Principe, 143 (0.589), Kingdom of e-Swatini, 144 (0.588), Zambia, 144 (0.588), Angola, 147 (0.581), and Cameroon, 151 (0.556).

In the “low human development” group, countries that ranked higher than Nigeria are: Tanzania, 154 (0.538) and Zimbabwe, 156 (0.535). Nigeria followed at 157 (0.532).

Nigeria was rated better than Senegal(164th, Ivory Coast 170th, Rwanda(158th), Lesotho(159th), Mauritania(159th), Madagascar(161st), Uganda(162nd), Benin(163rd), Togo(165th). Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Congo DR, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Liberia. Others rated lower to Nigeria are  Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Niger, Burundi, Chad, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic.

At 101 per 1,000 live births, Sub-Saharan Africa’s adolescent birth rate is more than twice the world average of 44 per 1,000 live births.

While Sub-Saharan Africa’s maternal mortality ratio is 549 deaths per 100,000 live births, some countries in the region such as Cape Verde have achieved a much lower rate  of 42 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The UN said while health, education, and income levels have improved overall across the globe, “wide inequalities” both among and within countries, are casting a shadow on sustained human development.

“While these statistics present a stark picture in themselves, they also speak to the tragedy of millions of individuals whose lives are affected by inequity and lost opportunities, neither of which are inevitable,” said Achim Steiner, the Administrator of UNDP.

“Inequality in all its forms and dimensions, between and within countries, limits people’s choices and opportunities, withholding progress,” explained Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP.

No going back as Kenyatta rejects bill seeking delay

By News Desk,

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya defied parliament by rejecting a finance bill that sought to postpone a widely unpopular tax on fuel that has triggered strikes and public anger.

Parliament will hold a special sitting on the bill on Tuesday to reconsider the finance bill “together with the reservations of the president”, said the gazette notice signed by Justin Muturi, the speaker of the national assembly.

It did not say why the president rejected the bill as passed by parliament in late August.

Kenyatta’s acting spokesperson Kanze Dena told Reuters the president would address the country on the matter on Friday.

His government faced a strike by some fuel dealers, anger among commuters and a lawsuit after it triggered a hike in transport and fuel prices by imposing the 16 per cent value added tax on all petroleum products on Sept. 1.

The finance bill that was returned to parliament had also retained a cap on commercial lending rates, after lawmakers amended a move by the finance minister to repeal it.

Ghana bids farewell to former U.N. chief Kofi Annan

By News Desk,

Ghana bid farewell to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday in a state funeral attended by African leaders and international statesmen who hailed his record as an advocate for humanity and world peace.

Annan, a Ghanaian national and Noble laureate, died in a Swiss hospital last month at the age of 80. His body was flown to Accra on Monday for burial in his homeland, where he is seen as a national hero.

Around 6,000 mourners packed the auditorium for Thursday’s official service – the climax of a multi-day funeral ceremony, which has seen his coffin, draped in the Ghanaian national colors, displayed for public viewing.

Current U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was among the dignitaries in attendance, alongside former Ghanaian presidents, the leaders of Ivory Coast, Liberia, Namibia and Niger, and the Crown Prince of Norway.

In an address, Guterres hailed Annan, who served as the seventh U.N. Secretary-General between 1997 and 2006, as an exceptional global leader with a deep faith in the role of the United Nations as a force for good.

“As we face the headwinds of our troubled and turbulent times, let us always be inspired by the legacy of Kofi Annan,” Guterres said.

“Our world needs it now more than ever,” he said.

The ceremony was projected onto big screens outside the auditorium for the crowds of mourners that could not fit inside the venue. Many commuters in the capital wore black as a sign of respect.

On Wednesday, Annan’s family and Ghanaian dignitaries were among hundreds to file past his casket amid traditional rites by local chiefs and clan leaders.

Annan, a Ghanaian of Ashanti lineage, was granted a royal title by the Ashanti king in 2002. The elders said the rites, including presenting him with clothing and water, were necessary to clear the path for a peaceful “travel” for their royal.

Some mourners, like New York-based community mayor Delois Blakely, had flown long distances to pay their respects.

Blakely, who served as an ambassador of goodwill to Africa at the United Nations, told Reuters: “I had known and worked with Kofi for close to 10 years. He spent his life trying hard to fix our broken society.”

Ethiopia releases 8,875 prisoners to celebrate New Year

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

The Ethiopian government on Tuesday released an unprecedented 8,875 prisoners as part of a goodwill Ethiopian New Year gesture.

The Ethiopian New Year, or Enkutatash in Amharic language, falls on Sept. 11 (or Sept. 12 during a leap year), as the East African nation uses calendar that counts its year seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar.

Presently the country is celebrating the arrival of 2011, which commenced on Sept. 11.

The prisoners were released from prisons located in Amhara, Oromia, Benishangul Gumuz and Gambella regional states and are part of the Ethiopian government strategy of fostering peace and reconciliation in the country.

The released prisoners are expected to re-join their families and re-integrate into the wider society, with the hope they become productive and law abiding citizens of Ethiopia.

The mass prisoner releases have included members of various rebel groups who had been jailed on offences ranging from membership in previously banned organisations to committing high treason.

The mass prisoner releases timed to coincide with the Ethiopian New Year 2011 are part of the Ethiopian government’s call for unity and peace among the country’s estimated 100 million population.

In a televised statement at the eve of Ethiopian New Year, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, urged Ethiopians to uphold unity and abstain from destructive acts during the 2011 Ethiopian New Year.

Noting the release of thousands of prisoners, return of various high-profile Ethiopian opposition figures, activists and government critics from exile after agreements with the Ethiopian government during the past four months period, Teshome also called for building the nation together.

The Ethiopian 2011 comes as Ethiopia seems to come out of almost three years of political turmoil following the coming of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the east African country’s leadership.

Ahmed assumed office in April.

Ahmed, in his New Year eve remarks to the Ethiopian people, also echoed the president’s message, saying that “Ethiopia is a country we share.

“We have to work for peaceful co-existence and prosperity.”

How 20,336 people were murdered in S/Africa in one year

By News Desk,

South African Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, said 20,336 murders were recorded in the country from 2017 to 2018 period, adding  “South Africa is close to being a war zone”.

19,016 murders were recorded between April 2016 to March 2017.

Presenting the statistics, Cele said: “never again can we come here to give such statistics.

“It cannot be that South Africans are put under such fear, such stress and such murder.”

He said murders of women and children had also increased.

Cele also said rape was up 0.5 per cent, with 40,035 recorded instances compared to 39,828 in 2017.

South Africa is known internationally for its violent crime, but annual statistics are often disputed, especially rape figures.

Curfew in English-speaking Cameroon

By News Desk,

Troubled English-speaking Cameroon has been locked-down as government imposed an indefinite dusk to dawn curfew following activities of separatists.

The curfew was imposed on the Northwest Cameroon after armed separatists attacked buses and blocked access into the regional capital, Bamenda late on Saturday.

Northwest governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique said the curfew between 6pm and 6am from Sunday will remain effective till further notice.

“During the said period, movements of vehicles, persons and goods shall be strictly forbidden. All off licences, snack bars and night clubs shall remain closed….and night travel suspended,” the governor’s order reads.

The restriction that exempts administrative authorities, law and order agencies, persons and vehicles in possession of special authorisations and ambulances, came a day after armed separatists attacked buses and passengers and obstructed movement into and out of Bamenda.

Over 20 70-seat passenger buses were blocked at Akum on the outskirts of Bamenda Sunday morning, with some partially damaged.

A trader, Mr Gideon Fai, who was traveling to Douala, recounted on phone that gunmen stopped and ordered them out of their bus, then forced them to tear off the Cameroon flag from their national identity cards.

The men had dug a trench across the road with the help of an excavator from a road construction company. They later set the excavator ablaze.

Separatist groups claimed responsibility for the attack on social media, saying it was part of a plan to stop military reinforcement from other regions and also to disrupt the presidential election scheduled for October 7.

The Anglophone separatist activists who have been clamouring for secession and the creation of the Republic of Ambazonia, have warned that they would not allow any election organised by the Yaoundé regime to take place in “their country”.

They have also warned that no buses would be allowed into or out of the English-speaking northwest and southwest regions after September 15.

The almost two-year long violence that has gripped the English-speaking regions started as an industrial strike by lawyers and teachers, but escalated into an internal armed conflict with fears the Central African country could slide into a civil war if the violence persists.

Violence and unrest escalated in late 2016 after a series of strikes and protests against what teachers, lawyers and students viewed as further discrimination against Anglophones.

Between September 22 and October 1, 2017, large-scale protests were organised across the Anglophone regions to symbolically proclaim the independence of a new state of Ambazonia, but the government responded with violent repression.

Recurrent confrontations between armed separatists and government troops have led to the killing of dozens of people, hundreds others imprisoned while thousands have been forced out of their homes.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) estimates that some 160,000 people have fled their homes in the strife-hit regions into the bushes, while more than 21,000 have crossed to next door Nigeria as refugees.

Magufuli accuses oil firms of profiteering

By News Desk,

President John Magufuli of Tanzania has accused the international oil and gas companies of seeking huge profits at the expense of the country’s development.

The president accused the international oil companies following the collapse of government’s negotiations with the companies, which has left the $30 billion project in limbo.

Tanzania’s president is angry over setback suffered by liquefied natural gas project.

He told a rally that the country was unable to generate electricity from its natural gas reserves because the companies have taken full control of the resources and asked Tanzanians to back the Stiegler’s Gorge hydro project, which has been facing opposition from environment activists and aid agencies.

President Magufuli accused the companies of demanding a high percentage of the proceeds from the LNG, and said that the government would continue with its plan to develop the Stiegler’s Gorge project, which is expected to generate 2,100MW.

“Donors are opposing the project, asking why we are not using natural gas.

“But the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have taken over the natural gas… They take a high percentage of the proceeds because they participated in discovering the gas.

“That is why the capacity of the pipeline the government built from southern Tanzania to Dar es Salaam is only 30 per cent. That is the game being played by the people who want to colonise us economically,” President Magufuli said.

He said that even if donors froze funding for the hydro project being developed on the River Rufiji, his government would implement it using its own revenues.

“In fact,” he said, “we already have the money for it!”

Recently, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), which is charged with overseeing the implementation of the project, blamed the IOCs for failure work out on a commercial framework Agreement (CFA). A CFA is an accord between businesses, establishing the terms governing a contract.

The companies involved in the LNG project are Shell, Ophir, Pavilion, Statoil and Exon Mobil.

The companies’ original business plan was to generate gas for export to their existing markets, but the Magufuli administration wants a new business model that would see them export to the Southern African Development Community market.

Observers say that this will not only help deal with competition for the gas market from Mozambique, but also give Dar an upper hand in the region’s geopolitics.

Mozambique has more than 180 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves with the potential for this being doubled by 2030, compared with Tanzania’s 57 tcf. Mozambique has an 865km pipeline to South Africa.

TPDC acting director-general Kapuulya Musomba told The Citizen that although the process of establishing an LNG plant started over a year ago, it is yet to be finalised due to differences between the government and the IOCs over the commercial framework Agreement.

“The companies have failed to come to an agreement and, therefore, TPDC is sorting out the cause of the disagreements before we start the negotiations afresh,” he said.

Noting that an LNG plant is a costly project on which all the parties must come to an agreement before it takes off, Mr Musomba said: “If we rush matters, we could arrive at a poor decision that would adversely affect the project. We have no choice but to find common ground.”

The government has been dilly-dallying with the renewal of the operating licences for the IOCs, which expired early this year, letting them operate using provisional licences.

Egypt sentences 75 Muslim Brotherhood members to death

By News Desk,

An Egyptian court on Saturday issued death sentences for 75 people, including prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and jailed more than 600 others over a 2013 sit-in which ended with the killing of hundreds of protesters by security forces.

The sentencing concluded the mass trial of some 700 people accused of offences including murder and inciting violence during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo.

The government says many protesters were armed and that eight members of the security forces were killed. It initially said more than 40 police had died.

Rights groups say over 800 protesters died in the single most deadly incident during the unrest that followed Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising. Amnesty International condemned Saturday’s decision, calling the trial “disgraceful”.

In Saturday’s hearing at the vast Tora prison complex south of Cairo, a criminal court sentenced to death by hanging several prominent Islamists including senior Brotherhood leaders Essam al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi and preacher Safwat Higazi.

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie and dozens more were given life sentences, judicial sources said. Others received jail sentences ranging from five to 15 years.

Cases were dropped against five people who had died while in prison, judicial sources said, without giving further details.

Following weeks of protests in 2013 against the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi by the military — led at the time by Egypt’s current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — security forces violently broke up the demonstrators at Rabaa square.

They arrested hundreds of people who were charged with inciting violence, murder and organizing illegal protests.

Rights groups have criticized the trial for including many peaceful protesters and journalists.

“We condemn today’s verdict in the strongest terms,” Amnesty International said in a statement. “The fact that not a single police officer has been brought to account … shows what a mockery of justice this trial was.”

Since Sisi was elected president in 2014, authorities have justified a crackdown on dissent and freedoms as being directed at militants and saboteurs trying to undermine the state.

Death sentences have been handed down to hundreds of his political opponents on charges such as belonging to an illegal organization or planning to carry out an attack.

Supporters say a security crackdown is needed to stabilize Egypt, which still faces an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and is reeling financially from years of unrest.

Critics say the erosion of freedoms and silencing of political opponents is the worst Egypt has seen in its modern history.