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A Drop-off in the Number of Non-immigrant Visas Issued to Nigerians

Non-immigrant Visas

The United States embassy has announced an immediate indefinite suspension of interview waivers for visa renewals for applicants in Nigeria. Known as “drop-box,” the interview waiver process allowed Nigerian applicants who met certain eligibility criteria to renew their visas by submitting their passports and supporting documents for review without going through a new in-person interview each time. With the new waiver suspension, all applicants—first time and recurring—will now be required to appear for in-person interviews at US embassies in Nigeria. The suspension also comes one month after news that Trump administration has been considering new immigration measures to impose visa restrictions on countries whose citizens have a track record of overstaying beyond the validity of their short-term US visas. Nigeria accounted for the third highest number of US visa overstays last year. The proposed measures included reducing visa validity periods, making it tougher for citizens from countries like Nigeria to receive visas at all and the long-term possibility of outright bans.


African Countries Leaning towards Anti-NGO Measures

Anti-NGO Measures

In a dozen countries across Africa, governments have enacted laws or policies that “improperly constrain” nongovernmental organizations and imperil civil society, the democracy watchdog Freedom House says in a new report. “Freedoms Under Threat: The Spread of Anti-NGO Measures in Africa” looks at efforts since 2004 to restrict civil society, especially groups working on human rights and governance issues. Curbs on NGOs have “a serious impact on the capacity of organized civil society, and citizens, to hold governments to account and to protect human rights,” said Godfrey M. Musila, author of the report. . He added that governmental limits “are of course accompanied by other measures to restrict other kinds of freedoms” and to bolster control by the state or strongmen. Measures such as complicating registration or limiting foreign workers and financial aid have been implemented in a dozen countries: Algeria, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. ​The report says anti-NGO measures are pending or possible in Egypt, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan and Zambia.


Sudan’s Way Forward

Sudan's Way Forward

Sudan’s military leaders have announced an agreement with the opposition alliance for a three-year transition period to a civilian administration. The Transitional Military Council (TMC) said the alliance would have two-thirds of the seats on a legislative council. However, the two sides are yet to agree on a sovereign council – the top tier of power, where both want a majority. At a joint news conference, Lt Gen Yasser al-Atta said a final agreement on power sharing would be signed with the opposition alliance – the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) – within 24 hours. That would include the forming of a sovereign council which will rule the country until elections. “We vow to our people that the agreement will be completed fully within 24 hours in a way that meets the people’s aspirations,” he said. Gen Atta said the DFCF would have two-thirds of the seats on a 300-member transitional legislative council, while the rest would be taken by parties not members of the alliance. The agreement for a three-year transitional administration including a parliament dominated by opposition groups is a major step towards civilian rule. A cabinet will also be appointed by the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces. But the question of who will be ultimately in charge remains unanswered.


Goldman Sachs Group is Expanding in South Africa

Goldman Sachs Group

The US investment bank seeks to tap into fast economic growth on the continent. The lender is partnering with Investec on equity trading, which will allow both firms to extend their trading operations from Johannesburg to the rest of Africa. Goldman Sachs, which has had a presence in South Africa for 20 years, will also offer fixed-income products, including foreign exchange and South African government securities, to corporate and institutional investors in the country. The firm already provides advisory, wealth- and asset management services to corporations, investment firms, government institutions and individuals in South Africa. The expansion comes after South African elections in which President Cyril Ramaphosa led his African National Congress to victory on pledges to reignite economic growth, streamline his cabinet and stamp out corruption. Colin Coleman, who has headed the sub-Saharan African division of Goldman Sachs since 2000, is a supporter of Ramaphosa and his drive to attract more investments into Africa’s most industrialized economy.


Emboldened Female African Designers Call for a Fashion Overhaul

Female African Designers

Africa has become a hub for designers unafraid to create fashion statements embellished in colors as bold as the continent’s sunsets and in prints as culturally rich as its people. Their designs are cat-walking across runways both at home and around the world from New York to London to Tokyo. Despite its budding international fame, the African fashion industry has long ways to walk before “made in Lagos” rings the same as “made in Paris.” For the meantime, the paucity of internal and external investment is a barrier frustrating attempts to move forward. In recent times, African fashion has not just dipped its toes but fully plunged into the world’s fashion scene. Anisa Mpungew, a Tanzanian designer and creator of Loin Cloth & Ashes, says “Africa is not afraid of patterns and colors, that’s the one thing we do in our sleep, so we use it to be louder amongst our foreign friends.” According to the African Development Bank, the Rwandan government established a “foundation to establish garment factories and boost the textile and fashion industries.” As governments across the continent follow Rwanda’s steps and begin to esteem the fashion industry, they need to invest in the skills and qualifications of their people. Fashion programs such as LISOF School of Fashion in South Africa and Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design in Ghana need to be in abundant supply, not scarce, across Africa. Furthermore, governments across the African continent should set quotas on the import of second-hand clothing from the West.


The Best Books about Sudan Available in English

Best Books Sudan

Most Sudanese literature is in Arabic and so, to many readers, the country remains an enigma. The volume and quality of translators has increased in recent years but their rarity still poses an immense challenge to reach an international audience. Aside from the odd writer working in a European language, much of what is available is written by people passing through; academics, adventurers, diplomats, and aid workers. Altogether, it adds up to a collage that is incomplete and warped.  A new generation of writers has since grown up in the shadow of repression. Despite these difficulties writers have continued to work and publish, both within the country and abroad. In a climate where newspapers are regularly censored, journalists detained and print runs seized, books have remained cherished items to be passed around with reverence.


[WATCH] Bringing the Glam Squad to Ghana’s Metro Savvy Man

Ghana's Metro Savvy Man

Male grooming is a growing industry. In Ghana, a new business venture is making the most of that trend. A company called Shave Masters has set up a mobile barber service, looking after clients in the comfort of their own home. Owners say they save the clients in Accra valuable waiting time by taking services to their doorsteps. An entrepreneur who’s running a mobile barbering saloon is getting lots of attention on Social media and people have been asking a lot of question about this new business model. Emmanuel Kojo Ampomah is a passionate young man who always strives for excellence in everything he does. At the heart of his passion is the drive to develop young people and make a positive impact in society through innovation.


Zambia Arrests Minister Who Cost the Country UK Aid

Emerine Kabanshi

Emerine Kabanshi was arrested “for abuse of authority of office”, according to a statement from Zambian anti-corruption and anti-money laundering agencies. Kabanshi was community development and social services minister when Britain alleged corruption in the disbursement of social grants. She was released on bail and will appear in court at a date yet to be fixed. Britain froze aid payments to Zambia last September, highlighting concerns of alleged fraud and corruption by the government of President Edgar Lungu. Britain’s development ministry said it earmarked $63.1m in aid for Zambia in the 2017/2018 fiscal year, but did not indicate how much was withheld over graft.


Is Angola’s Former First Family Under Threat?

President José Eduardo dos Santos

One of the daughters of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos says she “fled” her country after being threatened by the Angolan secret service. In a message to Angolan journalists, Welwitschia dos Santos said she left Angola for the UK after a former minister of dos Santos was, according to her, “kidnapped”. Welwitschia dos Santos, an MPLA MP, is in the UK, as is Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of the former president. But unlike her half-sister, she continues to criticize the current president Joao Lourenço, whose resignation she is demanding.


Netflix’s Bad Swahili Subtitles Leave Viewers Shook

Netflix’s Bad Swahili Subtitles

Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service, has just introduced Swahili subtitles to its TV and film services in Kenya. But just a few days later, it’s evident that the translators at Netflix have a very poor grasp of Swahili. The streaming service has come under fire in Kenya for botching Swahili subtitles on its TV and film services. In an article, Nairobi News says the subtitles indicate “the translators at Netflix have a very poor grasp of Swahili”, the most common language spoken in East Africa. Netflix has more than 148 million paid memberships in more than 190 countries, enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can also play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.


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