Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Ivory Coast strengthens ties with Lebanon

Ivory Coast has the biggest Lebanese community in Africa – contributing to more than 30% of its economy.  Since arriving almost a century ago, they have built up businesses in nearly every sector of the market.  The small shops, selling food and groceries that opened in the 1920s, have grown into the biggest supermarkets and malls in the country.  They own the majority of the fish and timber import and export trade…as well as much of the wholesale and distribution industry.   But with the historic visit of the Lebanese President, the economic ties between Lebanon and Ivory Coast are set to expand.  The BBC’s Tamasin Ford reports from the commercial capital, Abidjan.  To listen to this report, please click on this link.

Ivory Coast at the centre of pioneering science

Pioneering primate research, discoveries in zoonotic diseases and findings published in journals throughout the world – Ivory Coast is leading the way in science in West Africa.  It’s the home of the biggest scientific research centre in the region – the Swiss Centre for Scientific Research, CSRS.  

It began in 1951 focusing on zoology and botany…and more than 60 years later, its focus has expanded to include food security, nutrition, disease control, the environment and health.  But one thing above all, it prides itself on having African scientists at the helm of everything.

The BBC's Tamasin Ford reports from the centre on the outskirts of Abidjan in Ivory Coast. To listen to this report, please click on this link.

An African Pope?

The world’s cardinals will be gathering in the Vatican this morning to begin the process of electing a new leader of the Catholic church.   Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world last month when he voluntarily handed in his resignation – the first Pope ever to do so. The entire election process, known as a conclave, is shrouded in secrecy.  There has been much discussion on how the new Pope is going to reach the growing Catholic community in the developing world; in particular Africa…and whether an African catholic could in fact be chosen as the new leader.
The BBC's Tamasin Ford reports from Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  To listen to this report, please click on this link.

International women's day: a voice from Seguela, Ivory Coast

I am happy to be a woman. The woman can do what the man does. For example, if it happens that the man cannot pay the rent, I can do that for him because I am doing a small job. But women and men are not always treated the same way in Cote d'Ivoire. The difference is because we are not the same. Women have more sentiments than men and women suffer more than men. We women are born to suffer, so we accept the situation like that. This is the way it is in Africa.

There is violence against women because when they don't behave well, the husband can beat her. If the woman does not behave well and she is conscious that what she does is wrong, she has to apologise. Otherwise the man is right if he beats her. Yes, the man sometime talks to the woman but she may not understand. So he is sometimes obliged to beat her. To read the rest of this article, please click on this link to the Guardian's website.

'Victor's justice' in Ivory Coast

A cycle of widespread human rights violations is threatening peace and reconciliation in Ivory Coast – according to the human rights organisation, Amnesty International.  Over the last six months it has documented reports of torture, executions and arbitrary arrests carried out by President Allassane Ouattara’s national army along with armed militias.  

At least 3000 people were killed in the 2010/2011 post-election violence in which former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down.  Since then, Amnesty International claims President Ouattara has installed a one-sided justice system where only pro-Gbagbo supporters are being held to account - despite reports from the United Nations and other international organisations that people from BOTH sides committed atrocities. The BBC's Tamasin Ford reports from Abidjan.  To listen to this report, please click on this link.

Laurent Gbagbo faces the ICC in the Hague

Ivory Coast’s former President is at the International Criminal Court in the Hague this lunchtime for a pre-trial hearing to decide whether there is enough evidence to charge him with war crimes.  Laurent Gbagbo, the first head of state to be in ICC custody, faces four counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the 2010-2011 post-election violence.  More than 3000 people were killed during 5 months of some of the worst fighting the West African nation has ever seen.  The hearing is expected to take at least 3 days.  The BBC's Tamasin Ford reports from Duekoue in the west of Ivory Coast – a town that saw much of the violence. To listen to this report, please click on this link.

Burkina Faso reach the Africa Cup of Nations Final

The weekend began with street parties and a sheer sense of absolute optimism. Trucks and cars adorned with the Burkina Faso flag, which has quadrupled in price in the last week, trawled the streets blasting anthems praising 'Les Etallons' [The Stallions].

"I've never seen an eagle take a stallion so my Nigerian fellows better be careful," said 24-year-old Solomon Porgo as he stood among the thousands of fans clustered around one of the huge outdoor screens set up all over the capital.  To read the rest of this report, please click on this link to the BBC website.  Or if you want to listen to the report on the BBC, please click on this link.

David Cameron in Liberia

David Cameron joins President Sirleaf in Liberia on the final leg of his Africa trip.  He’s already visited Algeria and Libya where he’s been discussing counter terrorism issues.  He's here to discuss with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  what to do after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015 – the world targets set by the UN aimed at reducing poverty.  The event in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, marks one of the biggest the small West African nation has ever hosted.  
To listen to this report, please click on this link