Africa (6do encyclopedia)230514

Africa, the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, is a land of diverse cultures, languages, and environments. The continent covers an area of 30.3 million square kilometers and has a population of 1.3 billion people. It is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Antarctic to the south.

Geographically, Africa is a vast land with a wide array of landscapes from the Sahara Desert in the north to the savannas and rainforests in the central part of the continent to the mountains of the east and south. The continent boasts several of the world’s largest rivers, including the Nile and the Congo, as well as several of the world’s largest lakes, including Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika.

The continent was home to some of the earliest civilizations in human history, including the ancient Egyptians, Nubians, and Aksumites. The continent was also a major center of the transatlantic slave trade, which saw millions of Africans forcibly transported to the Americas to work in plantations and mines.

Africa has a large and diverse economy with many of its countries possessing significant natural resources, including oil, gold, diamonds, and other minerals. The continent also has a burgeoning tourism industry due to its natural landscapes, diverse cultures and wildlife.

The continent is home to 54 countries, with Nigeria being the most populous country in Africa, followed by Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Africa is also home to hundreds of ethnic groups, with the largest being the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo in Nigeria, the Zulu and Xhosa in South Africa, and the Amhara and Oromo in Ethiopia.

Africa has a rich and diverse cultural heritage that is celebrated in its music, art, and literature. Some of the most prominent literary figures from Africa include Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. In music, the continent has produced a vast array of genres, including highlife, Afrobeats, and South African jazz.

Religion is also an important aspect of African life with many followers of Christianity, Islam, and traditional African religions. The continent has also produced several prominent religious leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the late Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua.

Despite its many achievements, Africa has faced numerous challenges in the 21st century, including poverty, corruption, and political instability. The continent has also been hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with over 70% of the world’s HIV-positive population residing in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, there have also been significant gains, with many African countries making progress in areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. The continent has also produced several prominent world leaders, including Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Kofi Annan of Ghana, who served as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

In conclusion, Africa is a continent of great diversity, rich history, and vibrant cultures. It is a land of contrasts, where extreme wealth and poverty exist side by side, and where the challenges are great but so are the opportunities. Despite its many tribulations, Africa is a continent of immense hope, with a young and dynamic population that is poised to take on the challenges of the 21st century and build a brighter future for all Africans.

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How Ghana’s economy became a cautionary tale for Africa

Financial Times

23-05-14 04:19

Despite Ghana's status as a model for African development, overspending on infrastructure has led to economic instability and the fear of a possible default on national debt. This has been exacerbated by high inflation rates. Under the rulership of President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghana authorized the $400m National Cathedral of Ghana project to be built but delays have ensued, with cost estimates now four times as high as initially proposed. With other African nations facing similarly expensive infrastructure issues and only modest economic forecasts, the risks of overspending heighten the likelihood of defaulting on loans, warn analysts.
Stained glass window shows Jesus Christ with dark skin, stirring questions about race in New England

The Toronto Star

23-05-14 04:03

A 150-year-old stained-glass church window that depicts a dark-skinned Jesus Christ interacting with women in New Testament scenes has sparked debate about race-related issues, women’s rights and Rhode Island’s involvement in slavery. The window, installed in Warren in 1878, is thought to be the oldest known public example of stained glass portraying Christ as a person of colour, according to Virginia Raguin, a professor of humanities at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. The 12ft tall, 5ft wide window shows Christ interacting with women depicted with dark skin and is unique for its iconography. The figures in the window were deliberately painted with black and brown pigment on glass fired in an oven. Records suggest that both late aunts of Mary P. Carr, who funded the window, had married into families involved with the slave trade.
China-friendly Gulf eyes more ‘extremely valuable and coveted’ Chinese visitors

South China Morning Post

23-05-14 01:30

Desert states in the Gulf are seeking to attract China’s adventurous and big-spending tourists, as they look at competing with global attractions to become the globe’s leading travel destination. Once China lifted Covid restrictions, the Gulf nations reopened most of their flights serving the Asia-Pacific, aiming to draw in tourists and business travellers once again. According to ForwardKeys, the Middle East was second only to Africa in the region that saw the biggest travel recovery from China in Q2 2023, with a 75% seat capacity increase. The UAE anticipates a return of Chinese tourists to pre-pandemic levels within a year, buoyed by the 400,000 Chinese residents in the country and its $1.6tn strategy to diversify the economy over the next decade.
Shein joins Chinese rival Temu with new Dublin office amid political scrutiny

South China Morning Post

23-05-13 23:00

China's Shein has opened a regional headquarters in Dublin, which will also operate as the company’s IT hub for the Europe, Middle East and Africa market. Shein will employ 30 people at the Irish site by the end of the year, said the country's Ministry of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment. Shein's move to Dublin follows similar steps taken by Temu, the global budget shopping platform launched by Shanghai-based Pinduoduo, as both seek to broaden their reach while distancing themselves from China amid rising geopolitical tensions.
For US to blunt China in Indo-Pacific, prioritise Indian Ocean nations: analysts

South China Morning Post

23-05-13 22:00

The US's pursuit of new alliances and security footholds to counter China's military and economic ascent has prompted calls for a "free and open Indo-Pacific". However, smaller Indian Ocean nations remain largely absent from the US's regional strategy, despite claims that the region is critical to global trade due to three chokepoints - the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb. Over the past decade, China has made diplomatic inroads into the region, operating an embassy on each of the Indian Ocean's six island nations. Citing Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Myanmar as other territories in which its military could potentially operate were it not for the country's debt constraints, China has prompted nervousness among India and the US about its "string-of-pearls" strategy of establishing its own ports along the Indian Ocean coastline. Mauritius and Britain are currently in conflict over the sovereignty of Chagos, a chain of 60 islands which was once home to US's Diego Garcia military base.
G7 host Japan seeks unity on threat from China

Financial Times

23-05-16 01:23

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s key aim during the annual G7 summit this weekend is to establish a united G7 response to China's military ambitions and "economic coercion," as the country continues to seek closer ties with NATO and imposes sanctions against Moscow as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine. China’s interventionism has driven Japan to adopt a very cautious approach, revamping its military organisation and increasing security cooperation with nations in Southeast Asia and Europe. However, it is anticipated that the G7 will not agree on any specific new economic tools of security, and crucially, China will not be named in the statement. This widespread caucus approach aims to support countries being bullied by China rather than being completely focused on an offensive strategy. The EU, as well as other G7 members, remain very reluctant to adopt a more antagonistic stance, preferring to improve relations with emerging economies, particularly from Asia, Africa and South America.
Nigeria needs $12 billion to clean up Bayelsa oil spills - report


23-05-16 00:17

Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up oil spills over a 12-year period in southern Bayelsa state caused by oil companies including Shell and Eni, according to a report from the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission. The study found toxic pollutants from spills and gas flaring were often far beyond safe limits in soil, water, air and among local residents. Shell and Eni have tended to blame the spills on sabotage, pipe vandalism or illegal refinement.
Why Vladimir Putin isn’t shutting down the outspoken ‘thug’ running the Wagner Group

The Toronto Star

23-05-16 00:07

Analysts are trying to understand the motivations behind Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the notorious private military company, the Wagner Group, who continues to flout what is acceptable in a time of war, despite having had talks with Ukraine which could be considered treasonous. He was also behind the Russian troll farm behind the effort to sway the results of the 2016 US presidential election. As the Russian military efforts stall, some analysts believe that in Russia he is becoming more important than President Vladimir Putin. Abbas Gallyamov, a political analyst and former Putin speech writer, said: “The situation is changing dramatically, and the things that were previously unimaginable are now becoming realistic.” Thus, Prigozhin may be making preparations for a smooth transition from the battlefield to the Russian political arena with ambitions of founding a conservative political movement. Russian military intelligence analyst, Oleksandr Danylyuk, has suggested that Prigozhin's angred persona may simply benefit Putin's strategic narrative that regime change in Russia would be bad for the West.
South African rand regains some ground against the dollar


23-05-16 00:04

South Africa's rand has rebounded from an all-time low against the dollar amid concerns of possible US sanctions. The US alleged that South Africa had shipped arms to Russia in December, spooking investors. However, South African officials rejected the US allegations, and the rand has since recovered, trading at 19.0325 against the dollar. Last week, the currency plummeted to 19.51 to the dollar.
US urges Mali to investigate, hold accountable those to blame for Moura attack


23-05-15 22:31

The US State Department has called on Mali's transition government to conduct an "independent, impartial, efficient, exhaustive, and transparent investigation" into the murder of hundreds of villagers in Moura last year by the Malian Armed Forces and Russia-associated militia group, Wagner, which it labelled a "transnational criminal organization". The UN Human Rights Office has called for a separate investigation, after reporting that at least 500 people were murdered and dozens tortured or sexually assaulted over a five-day operation. Russia and Mali have previously maintained that the Wagner group are trainers, not mercenaries, and the former's UN envoy told a human rights meeting last month that those killed were militants.
EU top diplomat calls on bloc to court developing countries

Financial Times

23-05-16 05:18

The EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, has called for a tailored approach to reaching out to countries in the developing world, and has urged the EU to accept that these countries will not take sides in disputes such as that between Russia and Ukraine. Borrell's comments come ahead of a G7 summit in Japan, a meeting that will aim to persuade developing countries to align themselves with the G7 in condemning Russia's actions. Borrell added that Europe would need to work hard to gain the trust and respect of developing nations.

Research suggests that Europe’s desire to plough billions of dollars into gas infrastructure banks on a future that may not materialise. Even if energy becomes cheaper, gas consumption is set to fall in Europe, with the fossil fuel infrastructure being seen as unnecessary by 2030 by some. The push towards renewables due to environmental concerns will coincide with a reduction in gas consumption, which could decrease by almost a third in a low price scenario. Politicians have argued that much of the gas infrastructure can be converted for use in the production of green hydrogen produced by renewable power, however, engineers have warned this may not be a cost-effective investment.

Leading Nigerian bank opens French subsidiary in Paris


23-05-16 04:48

Nigeria's Access Bank has opened a branch in Paris specialising in trade finance to facilitate business between French-speaking African nations and France. Access Bank CEO Herbert Wigwe said the launch of the French office was part of a broader push to bridge business and political divides between Africa and France. Trade will be Access Bank's initial focus, capitalising on trade flows between French and African countries, Wigwe said. French President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly been keen to broaden ties between France and English-speaking African countries and establish a new relationship that moved away from traditional "Françafrique" French relations with former colonies.
Should UK boards take Apollo seriously?

Financial Times

23-05-16 04:35

Apollo Global has developed a reputation in the UK for abandoning deals at the eleventh hour. That has only been underscored after the US investment giant saw two possible take-privates collapse in the past four days. On Monday, Apollo said it wouldn’t follow through with its offer for UK oil engineering company Wood Group, causing the company’s share price to fall by more than a third. Taking publicly traded UK companies private has proven a lucrative source of deal flow for some of Wall Street’s biggest names in recent years. But Apollo hasn’t capitalised on the trend. Instead, the Wood Group and THG represent Apollo’s latest failed efforts to buy UK companies. The $598bn investment firm has also failed to follow through on deals for publisher Pearson, gambling company William Hill and packaging business RPC Group.
Dawn Davis’s gastronomic guide to New York

Financial Times

23-05-16 04:33

The return of culture in New York City after the pandemic means that friends from out of town can take advantage of the city’s rich offerings. FT Globetrotter recommends several favourite restaurants, from upscale and theatrical to cosy neighbourhood places, and quick bites on the fly. To showcase the city after going to the theatre, the author visits The Noortwyck where Eleven Madison Park alums in the kitchen can deliver fluke crudo, kale salad, and the striped bass or the pasta with a wine list that always satisfies. For theatricality, Frevo offers an intimate 16-seat chef’s counter located behind a false door in a street-level art gallery. Chef Markus Glocker’s Koloman in the Ace Hotel offers imaginative and satisfying dishes including a celeriac tartare with an herby, cheesy mustard. Lastly, The Nines provides old-school theatricality with a mesmerising and soulful piano player/vocalist adding to the glamorous vibe, and Madman Espresso recalls an Italian bar with De Sica focaccia sandwiches and cauliflower pizza.
FirstFT: High Court judges invested in tax avoidance schemes

Financial Times

23-05-16 04:19

Three high court judges in the UK invested in controversial tax avoidance schemes, including one judge who has ruled on tax avoidance cases. The investments date back about a decade, but records show the judges retained their interests in the schemes after taking their positions. The issue has raised questions about the country's lax approach to disclosure of judicial interests. There are no formal rules requiring UK judges to make public disclosures about their finances.
Burundi-born ex-police officer seeks to be Greece's first Black lawmaker


23-05-16 08:09

Burundi-born asylum seeker turned Greek citizen, Spiros Richard Hagabimana is campaigning for election which could see him become Greece's first black lawmaker. Hagabimana refused to open fire on anti-government protestors while he was an office in the country's national police, and was jailed consequently. He returned to Greece in 2016 and worked his way up the ranks to become a senior migration ministry official. He emphasises the importance of integration, saying it "cannot be fought with words alone" but through everyday actions that give people an opportunity "to come into contact with what they are afraid of".
Vodafone plans 11,000 job cuts

Financial Times

23-05-16 07:19

Vodafone is set to cut 11,000 jobs as part of an effort by recently appointed CEO Margherita Della Valle to improve the telecoms firm's fortunes after a poor performance in Germany and a fall in share prices. Della Valle said Vodafone “must change” in order to improve its fortunes. The cuts will affect UK staff and those in foreign markets, but Vodafone did not provide a breakdown of the numbers for each category. Revenue edged up 0.3% to $45.7bn, falling short of analysts' expectations, while adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 1.3% to $14.7bn.
Ivory Coast entrepreneur pours love and patriotism into fine chocolate


23-05-16 07:17

An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has founded a company to sell locally made chocolate in the country that produces most of the world's cocoa beans. Viviane Kouame has founded Chocovi, one of the country's few local chocolate-making firms, to raise money from higher-margin sales for Ivorians and to become the face of "Ivorian chocolate". Kouame and her five workers process about two tonnes of cocoa each year, selling at stalls in mall in Abidjan, but she is looking for investment to scale up.
Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs, sees big drop in cash flow


23-05-16 06:38

Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle has announced that she is to cut 11k jobs over the next three years in a bid to simplify the telecoms group. This is the biggest cut by the firm in its history, and it hopes to generate around £3.3bn in cash, a £1.5bn decline. Vodafone missed its own guidance after Germany underperformed and higher energy costs were incurred, resulting in a 1.3% decline in group core earnings to £14.7bn for this year.