Zimbabwe protest ban lifted as student-activist unrest continues
A Zimbabwe court has ruled that a ban on Harare protests issued Friday is illegal, and has lifted the ban for seven days following successful claims that it violates political activists’ rights. The ban forced cancellation of a large National Electoral Reform Agenda demonstration in the capital city’s business district last week, and threatened penalties of up to a year imprisonment for violating the protest ban.
Meanwhile, the unrest among Zimbabwe students and others that led to the ban showed no signs of abating. Activists shifted their efforts away from Harare and into rural regions, demanding reform at social gatherings and more traditional events instead, in a move to align urban and rural communities in the struggle for improved economic conditions. Both college-educated yet unemployed Zimbabweans and their rural counterparts have long suffered under President Robert Mugabe, with increasingly visible and vocal calls for his resignation.
Analysts and experts on Zimbabwe’s woes express increasing concern over the unrest, which has escalated since May. While the ban has been temporarily lifted, a strategic shift into rural-community protests may prove more visible to ZANU(PF) party leaders and their rural power base. The increasing conflict comes as politicians continue their power struggles ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections, and with the decades-old questions over the political succession of the 92-year-old Mugabe at stake.
Leaders offer mixed reviews on Africa following G20 summit
Following the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, optimism about Africa’s future development and global influence has been mixed with disappointment. Speaking with Chinese media, journalists from Liberia and Nigeria praised Xi Jinping’s leadership and China’s emphasis on developing nations. That attention to African markets helps make more Africans aware of the G20, which includes only South Africa in its membership, while favorably positioning China’s foreign investment goals in the eyes of the continent. Leaders of Chad, Egypt and other key African Union member countries also attended the G20 summit.
On the other hand, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the need for direct foreign investment, even as China leaps forward. African researcher Robert Kappel told Deutsche Welle the overall G20 results were disappointing, and failed to address climate change, the refugee crisis and the emphasis on investment opportunity for G20 nations at the expense of a level playing field for Africans. Analysts including former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo stressed the need for G20 nations to do more to stem revenue losses due to corruption, and to take action to help close Africa’s energy-financing gap.
Burkina Faso entrepreneur launches youth-oriented Ag TV channel
A web-based TV channel newly launched in Burkina Faso seeks to attract African youth to careers in agriculture. Agribusiness TV, founded by Inoussa Maïga in December, now has reporters working in Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo as its reach expands into Mali and Mauritius. The project is designed to reduce youth unemployment by making agriculture an attractive option for many young Africans who reject its perceived image, its instability and its questionable profitability.
The initiative seeks to create a constellation of solutions aimed at food insecurity, business development and climate resilience through tech channels and programs aimed at next-generation African leaders.
The video reports feature Africans under 40 engaged in high-impact agricultural initiatives that rely on sustainable practices, entrepreneurial spirit and ag-industry innovation. Half of Agribusiness TV startup costs are self-funded, with an additional €58,000 in support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a partnership of the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.
@_AfricaTimes Extra: VW production returns to Kenya
Volkswagen production returns to Kenya this year, following Wednesday’s announcement that Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers in Thika, northeast of Nairobi, will begin manufacture of the first Vivo fully assembled in Kenya by December.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the deal with Volkswagen South Africa will create jobs and improve economic opportunity as he welcomed VW operations back to Kenya after nearly four decades. The German automaker manufactured VW vehicles in Kenya until 1977, the Nairobi News reported.
Future plans to expand the Thika plant operations include the assembly of a full range of VW vehicles, in addition to the Vivo.