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Remittance 'super tax' costs Africa $1.8 billion a year

Africans are losing $1.8 billion (1.3 billion euros) a year due to high fees levied on funds sent from abroad by relatives, Britain's leading think tank on development said Wednesday. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) found that Africans face some of the highest charges in the world for international transfers, but global leader Western Union insisted that the fees were down to a range of local factors.

Nigeria poised to become Africa's biggest economy

Nigeria could leap-frog South Africa to become Africa's biggest economy this weekend, when the results of a new way of calculating national output are announced. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said it will unveil the new figures on Sunday, with widespread expectations that the recalculation will catapult the continent's most populous nation into top spot.

France, Germany plan security, economic alliance in Africa

France and Germany announced a new plan at an EU-Africa summit Wednesday to work as allies in Africa on three fronts -- security, development and climate change. "France and Germany can act on these three subjects," said French President Francois Hollande speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "We want to deploy our friendship on the ground" in Africa. ccr/arp/dh

EU aid to Africa comes as carrot, not stick

The head of the EU's huge aid programme to Africa warned on Tuesday that tying investment on the continent to democratic reforms risked backfiring if viewed as neo-colonialism. "I would always warn against linking the two things directly, because it seems like blackmailing," the European Union's Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told AFP. He emphasised that conditions on aid were necessary, but said African governments might view them as a "colonial tool".

British drugs firm GSK announces Africa investment

British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline on Monday announced a five-year investment programme for sub-Saharan Africa to fuel the company's growth and to serve an area with "pressing health needs". GSK will invest up to £130 million ($216 million, 157 million euros), including £100 million to expand existing manufacturing operations in Nigeria and Kenya and build up to five new factories in Africa, it said in a statement.

Football: Eritrea withdraw from Africa Cup

Eritrea withdrew from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying competition Sunday, the organisers said in a statement. The 'Red Sea Camels' were due to play fellow east Africans South Sudan during April in a two-leg preliminary tie. No explanation was given for the pull-out, but it could be linked to continuous defections when Eritrean football teams visit other countries. Nine players and a coach disappeared in Kenya last December when Eritrea were eliminated after the group stage of the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup.

Text messages aim to save lives in flood-prone Africa

Text messaging may be dying out as a means of communication in many parts of the advanced world, but it may yet prove to be a vital life-saver in flood-prone African villages. An early-warning system that aims to capitalise on the explosive growth of mobile phone penetration in Africa could soon be in place to broadcast alerts to all users at risk from natural disasters such as flooding or hurricanes.

More than 1,000 rhinos poached in South Africa last year - Government

By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - More than 1,000 rhinos were poached for their horns in South Africa in 2013, a record number and an increase of over 50 percent from the previous year, the country's department of environmental affairs said on Friday. Rhino hunting is driven by soaring demand in newly affluent Asian countries such as Vietnam and China, where the animal's horns are prized as a key ingredient in traditional medicine.

Japan woos Africa with funds for peace and security

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wooed Africa Tuesday pledging financial packages to boost peace and security on the continent, which has become a key trading partner with China. "In order to respond to conflicts and disasters in Africa, Japan is now preparing to implement assistance of approximately $320 million (234 million euros)," Abe said in his policy speech for the continent at the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Japan PM begins Africa tour in Ivory Coast

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived Friday in Abidjan on the first stop of his Africa tour to boost ties and business relations on an continent that has become a key trading partner with China. Abe was met at the airport by Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara on this first African visit by a Japanese head of government in eight years. The Japanese leader, accompanied by about 50 executives of major Japanese businesses, according to the Jiji news agency, hailed the country as a regional economic power.
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