Media Review for November 8, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 11/08/2012

Please note: The following news items are presented here for informational purposes. The views expressed within them are those of the authors and/or individuals quoted, not those of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the National Defense University, or the Department of Defense.

Today’s News

Obama triumph raises hope of fresh start with Africa
Kenyans in Barack Obama’s ancestral homeland stayed up all night and danced with joy on Wednesday as America’s first black president won a second term in the White House, raising the prospects of a fresh start for his ties with Africa. Reuters

Africans pleased with Obama victory, but less enthusiastic than in 2008
From small villages to sprawling cities, most Africans have welcomed Barack Obama’s election victory, but with noticeably less enthusiasm than they did in 2008. Mr. Obama remains popular across Africa, yet the happiness at his victory is muted by skepticism about his African policies. Many people are disappointed that he failed to take a higher-profile stance on African issues, despite his Kenyan heritage. The Globe And Mail

Head of Africa Command not forced out
The Obama administration’s decision to grant retirement to the top general of U.S. Africa Command is part of the internal jockeying that goes on among the military branches to win top war-fighting assignments and was not related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a well-placed military source told The Washington Times. The Washington Times

Ghana: Accra shopping mall collapse a ‘national disaster’
Dozens of shoppers have been rescued after a department store collapsed in the Ghanaian capital Accra. Around 40 people have been pulled out alive by rescue workers but at least four people who were inside the multi-storey Melcom store have died. BBC

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, Libyan official who led rebels during uprising, faces murder probe
The man who led Libya’s rebel movement at the height of U.S. and NATO involvement in last year’s uprising has been ordered to face questions over the assassination of the top rebel army general whose troops helped end Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. A Libyan judge ruled Wednesday in Benghazi that military prosecutors must question Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the former leader of the National Transitional Council, which served as the rebel government during last year’s uprising, in the July 2011 assassination of Abdel-Fattah Younis, Gadhafi’s former interior minister and one of the first major defectors of the regime. McClatchy

Explosion rocks Somali parliament
A large explosion has rocked the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing one person, the AFP news agency reported, citing its own reporter who was at the scene of the blast. The cause of Wednesday’s explosion was not immediately clear. The blast, believed to be a car bomb set off close to the parliament, is the latest in a string of attacks in the war-ravaged Mogadishu. Al Jazeera

Time For Paul Biya to Call it a Day?
Today, a small elite from Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé deserted their administrative functions to join locals in celebrating 30 years of President Paul Biya’s reign. This is a long time. Over the years, some have come to baptise Biya as the ‘father of the nation’ and many Cameroonians, myself included, have grown up knowing no other ‘dear leader’ but Paul Biya. Think Africa Press

The Responsibility to Protect
Africa has a long history of being ‘protected’ by the West. And today, with the precipitous rise of the so-called Responsibility to Protect (R2P), it appears that intervention in the name of protecting Africa has returned to the centre of Western concern – or regained its utility. Three-quarters of the crises in which R2P has been invoked or applied have been in Africa, and the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on R2P announced that “the responsibility to protect really came from Africa and the African experience”. Think Africa Press

West seeks to curb al-Qaida kidnappings
The United States and France are backing moves to muster an African-led intervention force to smash the jihadist stronghold in northern Mali, and one of the main objectives is to eradicate the kidnapping of Westerners for ransom. Western officials say al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the main jihadist group in North Africa, may seek to seize more hostages as the Islamists face an offensive against them. UPI

Mauritania to import Iraq anti-terror techniques
Mauritania seeks to benefit from the experience of Iraq’s anti-al-Qaeda militias to effectively combat terrorist groups on its own territory. The Council of Sahwa forces “is ready to provide assistance to Mauritania or any other country that needs support in hunting down terrorist groups and unveiling their criminal plans”, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha told Aswat al-Iraq last Monday (October 29th).

Magharebia Morocco dismantles ‘Ansar al-Sharia’ terror cell
Morocco thwarted a large-scale terrorist plot to bomb strategic sites in several cities, the interior ministry announced on Monday (November 5th). Eight members of a new Ansar al-Sharia offshoot group were arrested in Rabat and other cities for allegedly plotted attacks against “sensitive buildings, security headquarters and tourist sites”, the interior ministry said. Magharebia

Morocco orders 19 foreign journalists to leave W.Sahara
Morocco said Wednesday it has ordered what it said are 19 foreign journalists — 15 Spaniards and four Swedes — to leave Laayoune, the main city of Western Sahara, claiming they had gone there under false pretexts. Radio Netherlands

Keeping the Veil on Women’s Electoral Participation
Cameroon’s new biometric registration of voters may end up disenfranchising many potential voters, especially women in the country’s predominantly Muslim north where cultural practices may prevent them from having their photos taken. [...] Biometric voter registration, which involves the use of fingerprint scanners and digital cameras to capture the bio-data of applicants, began in this west Central African nation on Oct. 1 in the country’s capital Yaounde and will be introduced to all 360 council areas across Cameroon. IPS

UN extends African Union force in Somalia for 4 months but remains divided over funding
The U.N. Security Council has extended the mandate of the African Union force in Somalia for four months and agreed to provide financial support for 50 additional civilians to deploy to areas recently liberated from Islamist rebels. The Province

Somalia: : A snapshot of humanitarian challenges
After two decades of civil war, Somalia is finally seeing hope for lasting peace. After the August departure of Al-Shabab insurgents, thousands of people have returned to the capital, Mogadishu, looking to rebuild their lives, and in September, the election of a new president was widely viewed as the start of a new era for the country. Below, IRIN highlights some of Somalia’s key health and socio-economic indicators, obtained from local experts and other sources, that will influence the country’s progress as it seeks to leave conflict behind. IRIN

Security Council divided over Somalia arms embargo
The UN Security Council on Wednesday renewed the mandate of an African peacekeeping force in Somalia for just four months amid a dispute over an arms embargo against the strife-torn country. A 17,000-strong African Union force is propping up the new Somali government, which was warned of the lingering threat from Islamist militants on Wednesday by a deadly car bomb outside the parliament in Mogadishu. Daily Nation

Zimbabwe’s diamonds: But where is the money?
Zimbabwe has cut down diamond expected revenue from the sale of diamonds by 75%, a further blow to the country’s faltering economy. The southern African country had hoped to earn at least $600 million from the sale of diamonds, but so far the mineral has not contributed much, with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation saying it now only expected $150 million. Africa Reports

In Angola, a new generation speaks out
At midnight on 7 March, 2011, seventeen people gathered on Independence Square, in Luanda, the capital of Angola, for the first ever protest against President José Eduardo dos Santos’ 32 years in power. But the protest never even began; all seventeen, including three journalists who had come to cover it, were arrested on the spot. The Independant

Uganda Demands UN Retract Congo Accusation
Ugandan officials met this week with members of the U.N. Security Council, refuting a U.N. report that accused Uganda of supporting rebels in Congo, and threatening to pull Ugandan peacekeepers out of Somalia. The Ugandan government is optimistic about the results. A Ugandan delegation spoke with members of the United Nations Security Council on Monday and threatened to pull out of regional peacekeeping missions unless the U.N. retracts a report Uganda has called “malicious.” VOA

The rise of the African consumer
Africa’s consumer-facing industries are expected to grow by $400 billion by 2020, representing the continent’s largest business opportunity. But many companies don’t know how to translate this potential into action, due to a dearth of market research. But that is changing. In one of the first studies of its kind, McKinsey’s Africa Consumer Insights Center surveyed 13,000 consumers in ten African countries, with a focus on the largest cities. Five categories of consumption were covered: apparel, financial services, grocery, the Internet and telecommunications. McKensey & Company

Africa Needs $360 Billion Infrastructure, Development Bank Says
Africa requires $360 billion of infrastructure investment in the next 30 years to spur industrial growth, said Donald Kaberuka, president of Africa Development Bank. Improvements in energy, transport and information technology would reduce the continent’s reliance on agriculture, Kaberuka said yesterday in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. The Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa projects energy demand to grow sixfold, maritime traffic as much as eightfold and demand for IT 20-fold in the period, he said. Bloomberg

Mxit: South Africa’s social media sensation
When it comes to social media’s heavy hitters, there are no bigger players than Facebook or Twitter, right? Not if you’re in South Africa. Mobile network Mxit claims to have nearly 10 million users in the country, making it South Africa’s most popular social media platform by far, eclipsing Facebook’s six million users and Twitter’s 1.1 million subscribers. Founded seven years ago by Namibian-born software developer Herman Heunis, Mxit has grown from an instant messaging application into a global mobile social network. CNN

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