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Africa’s First Smartphone Factory in Rwanda

Mara Phone

Mara Phone, a smartphone by the pan-African conglomerate Mara Group, has opened its first factory in Rwanda as the company hopes to pioneer a brand of African-made smartphones. Located in Kigali’s special economic zone, the factory employs over 200 people to manufacture high-tech smartphones for the local market and further afield. With two models on sale for $159 and $229, the Android phones are hoping to compete with Asian manufacturers like Tecno and Samsung who currently dominate Africa’s markets. Smartphone penetration in Rwanda currently stands at around 15% with the most basic Tecno and Samsung models sold at $40 and $70 respectively. The bulk of the market is characterised by feature phones which use USSD technology to access digital services; a general trend across the continent.


Sex for Grades Saga Continued

University of Lagos

The University of Lagos has suspended a lecturer who was caught on film propositioning and sexually harassing an undercover BBC reporter. Boniface Igbeneghu, also a pastor, has been condemned by his church. He was one of several academics secretly filmed as part of a year-long investigation by BBC Africa Eye. The film, which has sparked widespread social media comment, explored alleged sexual harassment by members of staff at two top West African universities. A number of high-profile figures, including celebrities and politicians, have joined in the conversation about the issues it raised. The report also saw students, some with their identities hidden, making allegations about their own experiences with professors. Many Twitter users condemned the actions seen on the film and called for a swift response, while others shared their own alleged experiences. 


Dangote in a Hard Place With Operations in Tanzania

Dangote Cement

Dangote Cement is locked in a dispute with the government of Tanzania – its most profitable market in the first half of this year – over the company’s failure to fulfill a regulatory obligation. The Nigerian-based cement maker last week was accused of not filing its operations report with the Tanzania Investment Center according to government regulations. From September 30, the company was given a seven-day ultimatum to tender the document but reports suggest it has failed to do so. It is through the report that TIC and the government would get to know of the Dangote Cement’s project history, plans for expansion, taxes paid, profits, challenges, and recommendations. Dangote had previously experienced issues with President John Magufuli’s administration over tax on diesel imports to run its plant and a ban on coal import. At some point last year, the firm suspended its operations, citing technical problems and high production costs.


This Could be the Largest Criminal Prosecution of Protesters in Egyptian History

Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi

More than 100 children are among thousands of people detained in Egypt in an effort to prevent further protests against the rule of Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi. Many were held by security services after they were stopped at checkpoints, where officials demanded to see their phones in order to check for “political” material. Local rights groups as well as the government’s own National Council for Human Rights condemned the practice as unconstitutional. Detainees were added to a single charge sheet, accused of aiding a terrorist group, spreading false information, misuse of social media and participation in unauthorised protests. Amnesty International said this included at least 69 minors aged between 11 and 17.


A South African Reserve Can Make You a Game Ranger

South African Reserve

The students, from places as diverse as Italy, the U.K. and South Africa, are a third of the way through the six-month Professional Field Guide Course offered by Bushwise Field Guides near Hoedspruit in South Africa. The course — which is split between a thatch-roofed classroom and a 27,000-hectare private game reserve that’s home to all of the Big 5 (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros) — covers everything from identifying raptors to learning how to handle a .375 rifle when an angry (cardboard cutout of a) buffalo is bearing down on you. Students who pass the final exam are qualified to work as game rangers, revealing the wonders of the African bush from a Cruiser with a rifle on the dash.


Facebook Expands its Fact-checking Network in Africa

Facebook Network Africa

Working with a network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, the service will now be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso through AFP, Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire through the France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea Conakry through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.  When third-parties fact-check a news story, Facebook will show these in Related Articles immediately below the story in News Feed. Page Admins and people on Facebook will also receive notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false, empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. 


Kenya’s Land Dispute

Kenya's Land Dispute

The Sengwer, an indigenous hunter-gatherer community in western Kenya, presented a petition to the government in Nairobi demanding the return and protection of what they call their ancestral lands. The community says it faces threats of eviction as Kenya’s government takes over conservation of the country’s forests and water supplies. Hundreds of members of the Sengwer, a community that lives in the Embobut forest, spent two days marching from their ancestral land in Kenya’s North Rift Valley to Nairobi in hopes of meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta. Dressed in traditional regalia, they sang traditional songs as they arrived in Nairobi with the petition to the government. Embobut forest is listed as one of the five most important water catchment areas in Kenya. Since the 1970’s, Kenya’s government, through its Forest Service guards, has carried out a series of forceful evictions of the Sengwer in Embobut. An Amnesty international report said that during evictions in 2017, forces burned more than 300 houses, injured hundreds and killed a Sengwer man.


Mozambique Tries to Shake Off its Legacy of Unrest


The head of Mozambique’s poll observer mission was shot dead on Monday in a governing party stronghold, the latest killing in the run-up to next week’s elections, a monitoring group said. Gunmen fired several shots at Anastacio Matavele as he was driving away from a workshop in Xai-Xai, the capital of the southeastern Gaza province. The attackers were involved in a car accident as they fled the scene, said the group. One died in the crash, another was taken to hospital and a third was arrested. 


Whistleblower Takes On Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines

The airlines’ former chief engineer said in a whistleblower complaint the carrier accessed the maintenance records of a Boeing 737 Max jet a day after it crashed this year, a breach he contends was part of a pattern of corruption that included fabricating documents, signing off on shoddy repairs, and even beating those who got out of line. Yeshanew’s criticism of Ethiopian’s maintenance practices, backed by three other former employees who spoke to AP, makes him the latest voice urging investigators to take a closer look at potential human factors in the Max saga and not just focus on Boeing’s faulty anti-stall system, which has been blamed in two crashes in four months. Yeshanew alleged in his report and interviews with AP that Ethiopian was growing too fast and struggling to keep planes in the air now that it carried 11 million passengers a year, four times what it was handling a decade ago, including flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Newark, New Jersey.


Here’s What South Africa’s Richest Men are Investing In

SA's Richest Men

Fans of the Pretoria-based club should start planning their trophy celebrations now, because it looks like a serious windfall is coming their way – thanks to two of South Africa’s richest men. As it stands, Johann Rupert owns a 50% stake in the Blue Bulls. But Patrice Motsepe is understood to be preparing a bid that claims 37.5% for himself, and reduces Rupert’s input to the same number. Together, they would form a multi-billion rand alliance and take a controlling stake of the club, leaving just 25% for other investors. The ties between the Pretoria-based outfits are likely to strengthen once Motsepe gets on board. With him and Rupert controlling the chequebooks – and boasting a combined fortune of $9 billion in the coffers – a new dawn is on the horizon for this domestic giant.


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