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S.Africa seeks probe of 'sexual abuse' of nationals in Mozambican jails

South Africa said Monday it will ask Mozambican authorities to investigate reports of sexual abuse of its female nationals held in the neighbouring country's jails. A local newspaper reported at the weekend that 15 South African female prisoners in Mozambique were suffering sexual exploitation by prison warders in exchange for food, sanitary pads, toothpaste and other basics. The foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that it viewed "these allegations in a serious light" and will alert the Mozambican government.

African Union ends Madagascar suspension

The African Union said Monday it had lifted its four-year suspension of Madagascar following democratic elections last month, the first since a 2009 coup. The pan-African bloc's peace and security council announced "the lifting of the suspension of Madagascar" just two days after the country's new leader, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was sworn in. The AU statement said the island nation was permitted to re-join the bloc following "inclusive, credible and legitimate" elections and due to the "completion of the transition process and the restoration of constitutional order."

Japan pledges 70 billion yen in ODA to Mozambique

Japan will provide a total of 70 billion yen in official development assistance to Mozambique over five years for a transport corridor project, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday. Abe made the pledge in a meeting with President Armando Guebuza in the Mozambique capital of Maputo as they agreed to strengthen cooperation on energy sources such as liquefied natural gas and coal.

'No mechanical fault' with Mozambican plane in deadly crash

The probe into the crash of a Mozambican airliner in Namibia last month that killed all 33 people on board has found that there was no apparent mechanical problem, investigator said on Monday. "There was no mechanical malfunction detected so far," according to information decoded from the black boxes, director of aircraft accident investigations in Namibia, captain Ericksson Nengola, told AFP. But three weeks on from one of the worst air accidents in Namibia, forensic experts have identified only seven of the 33 victims.

East Africa's top economies launch cross-border payment system

NAIROBI (Reuters) - East Africa's biggest economies have launched an integrated real-time cross-border payments system designed to remove bottlenecks to business and bolster intra-regional trade, Kenya's central bank said on Wednesday. The East African Payments System (EAPS) is an early step towards the creation of a monetary union within the five nation East African Community (EAC) trade bloc, which member states hope to establish within 10 years.

British oil firm withdraws from oil exploration in Kenya

British oil firm withdraws from oil exploration in Kenya NAIROBI, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- British oil exploration firm Premier Oil said it has withdrawn from Block L10A, offshore Kenya, after conducting a further exploration review. Premier said in a statement received on Tuesday that it will retain its 25-percent equity in the adjacent Block L10B, where prospect maturation is ongoing and a "drill of drop" decision will be made by mid-2014.

Feature: Kenya aims to become hub for green technologies

Feature: Kenya aims to become hub for green technologies By Christine Lagat and Chrispinus Omar NAIROBI, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's dream of becoming a regional hub for green technologies and innovations has gone over drive as the east African nation seeks home grown solution to climate risks. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Professor Judi Wakhungu on Monday reaffirmed the government's commitment to support innovations that promote low carbon transition.

Oil in Kenya faces infrastructure, capacity challenges

Recent petroleum finds in Kenya's arid and under-developed north have caused excitement, but even if commercial production goes ahead, major challenges remain. Kenya will need to invest in human resources, manage often unrealistic expectations and beef up infrastructure, preferably in conjunction with its neighbours, experts say. East Africa has long lagged behind the west of the continent where oil was found back in the 1950s.

Mozambique to mourn over plane crash

Mozambique to mourn over plane crash MAPUTO, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Mozambican Minister of Transport and Communications, Gabriel Muthisse on Saturday expressed condolences over a plane crash the previous day killing all the 33 people on board. "In the name of the government of Mozambique we want to express our condolences to the affected families for this sad incident, and we also want to thank the governments of Namibia, Botswana and Angola and also to the rescue team for the effort put to locate and identify the airplane" said the minister.

Tanzania complains of being sidelined in east African bloc

By Fumbuka Ng'wanikilala DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania has complained to the five-nation East African Community that it is being sidelined in discussions on future integration by members Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, highlighting strains in one of Africa's main economic blocs. Tanzanian officials demanded an explanation after the three states agreed on a new railway that would link them up, but without connecting Tanzania, and on moves to create a single customs area in a series of meetings that excluded Tanzania.
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