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Summary

  1. Zimbabwe's satellite TV payments 'illogical'
  2. Nigerian leader's return from UK after medical checks 'imminent'
  3. Angolan VP accused of bribing Portuguese magistrate
  4. Banking giants 'colluded to rig' South Africa's currency
  5. Renowned historian of Ethiopia dies
  6. Cyclone kills child in Mozambique
  7. Benin eases visa requirements for 31 African states
  8. French candidate in row over colonialism
  9. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 16 February 2017

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.    

A reminder of today's wise words:   

A house is admired because of the appearance of its roof. "

An Oromo proverb sent by Samuel Fekadu, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Click here to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this colourful scene from Senegal's capital Dakar:

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Cyclone Dineo: Flood fears in Namibia

We reported earlier that cyclone Dineo, which hit Mozambique, has calmed down. 

But there is still potential for heavy rainfall as the storm moves across southern Africa.

BBC Weatherman Jay Wynne explains:

Tropical cyclone Dineo

Cocoa farmers protest in Ivory Coast

Alex Duval Smith

BBC News, Abidjan

Cocoa growers have been marching in Ivory Coast's commercial hub, Abidjan, today in protest against a slowdown in exports and a reduced buying price.  

Many are brandishing documents showing buyers have not paid them since December:

IOUs from buyers who have not paid since December:
BBC

This banner reads "The cocoa council wants to kill the grower":

Cocoa farners
BBC

Cocoa producers are asking the government to activate an emergency fund on cocoa.     

This placard asks for help from President Alassane Ouattara:

Placard
BBC

While this placard says cocoa growers "also want to be a part" of the emerging economy.

Placard
BBC

Meanwhile, cocoa has piled up in warehouses, reports AP news agency. 

The Coffee-Cocoa Council says there has been a slowdown of sales because of overproduction and a worldwide price reduction by 30%, AP adds.

Armyworm outbreak could 'spread'

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Scholastic Ncube shows the extend of the damage to his maize crop by the fall-armyworms at his field in rural Bubi, in Matabeleland North, near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 26 January 2017
EPA
The pest can destroy entire maize fields

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says it is concerned that the armyworm outbreak could spread to the whole of southern Africa, threatening crops. 

So far, seven of the 15 states which make up the regional body Sadc have been affected by the outbreak. 

The FAO says Zimbabwe might be the hardest hit, with up to 130,000 hectares of maize infested. 

In Namibia, 50,000 hectares of maize and millet have been damaged. 

The pests are called armyworms because they eat most vegetation in their way and can destroy entire fields.  

A three day regional meeting to discuss the outbreak has ended in Zimbabwe's capital Harare. 

The delegates resolved to roll out awareness campaigns targeting farmers. 

Read: Why are army worms attacking Africa's crops?

Renowned historian dies

BBC World Service

The Ethiopian ministry of foreign affairs has announced the death of the most prominent historian of the country, the Briton, Richard Pankhurst. 

The government said he was one of Ethiopia's greatest friends during his long and productive life. 

The son of the suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, he moved to Ethiopia in 1956, the start of a long relationship with the country. 

Mr Pankhurst wrote numerous books on Ethiopia's history, culture and economics. 

He was also instrumental in the successful campaign to get the Axum obelisk returned to Ethiopia from Italy. 

He was awarded an OBE by the British Government for his services to Ethiopian studies. 

The Ethiopian embassy in London has tweeted a photo of Mr Pankhurst: 

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Benin eases visa requirements

Benin's government has abolished short-stay visas for nationals from 31 African countries in an effort to promote easier travel and strengthen relations, reports BBC Afrique's Leone Ouedraogo.

Nationals from Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia are among those who no longer require a visa for visits of up to 90 days.

Only short-stay visitors from countries which make up the West African regional grouping Ecowas were previously exempted from applying for visas.

Benin's President Patrice Talon promised to lift the restrictions during a trip to Rwanda.

Countries like Ghana and Rwanda have already been implementing such a policy.

Presidential candidate and leader of coalition of the opposition Patrice Talon waves to supporters during a campaign rally in the Ekpe district near Cotonou, in Benin, on March 18, 2016.
AFP
Mr Talon, a business tycoon, won elections last year

Lawyer 'astounded' by allegations against Angolan VP

A lawyer for Angola's Vice-President Manuel Vicente has hit back at corruption allegations levelled against him by prosecuting authorities in Portugal. 

A news agency quotes lawyer Rui Patricio as saying:

I'm astounded that my client has been accused, not only because he had nothing to do with the facts mentioned but also because he has never even been questioned about them."

See earlier post for more details .

Libya asks Nato for military training


          Members of the forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) gather in  Sirte October 14, 2016.
Getty Images
Libya has been ht by conflict since the overthrow of Col Gaddafi in 2011

Nato says it has received a new request from Libya's UN-backed government to train and develop its military, reports Reuters news agency.

Its secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said the grouping was ready to help because "training local forces is one of the best weapons in the fight against terrorism and building stability". 

Libya has not had an effective national army since Col Muamar Gaddafi's rule ended in 2011. The Nato-backed armed groups which overthrew him having been fighting among themselves for power. 

BBC live from Malawi

The presenter of BBC Focus on Africa radio tweets:

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Tunisia extends state of emergency

A state of emergency imposed in Tunisia in 2015 to curb attacks by militant Islamists has been extended by three months, the president's office has said. 

Defence Minister Farhat Horchani told local radio that there had been a "major improvement" in security but for as long as neighbouring Libya "does not have a government that is in control of the situation... the threat exists."

The state of emergency has been in place since a November 2015 bombing of a bus in Tunisia's capital, Tunis, killed 12 presidential guards.

Tunisia bombed bus
AFP

#BringBackOurGirls: Government rebuilds Chibok school

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Chibok girls school
BBC

The girls' school in Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria from where more than 200 students were kidnapped is being renovated.

I visited Chibok to find the builders:

Builders
BBC
Chibok school
BBC

All but two school buildings were knocked down after Islamist militants Boko Haram kidnapped the girls in 2014. 

Some girls I spoke told me that some of their friends, fearing Boko Haram could attack again, have left their studies and got married instead. 

Angolan vice-president faces corruption charges in Portugal

Manuel Vicente
AP

Portuguese prosecutors are bringing charges of corruption, money-laundering and forgery against Angolan Vice-president Manuel Vicente as part of an investigation in Lisbon, Portugal's attorney general's office told AP news agency.

Mr Vicente is suspected of bribing a Portuguese magistrate to favour him in two investigations, a statement said. 

Investigators allege Mr Vicente paid Portuguese magistrate Orlando Figueira, who was arrested a year ago, about 760,000 euros ($808,000; £647,000) to drop two investigations that involved alleged money laundering and Angolan investments in Portugal while he was the head of the state oil company Sonagol.

The magistrate, Mr Vicente's lawyer, and his representative in Portugal are also accused in the case, called Operation Fizz. 

The Angolan news site Rede Angola reports that in March Mr Vicente denied the allegations. 

There has been no comment from the magistrate or his legal representatives. 

Al-Shabab behind mortar attack

We reported earlier that mortar shells had been fired near the presidential palace in Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

We have just got reports from AP news agency that the Islamist militant group al-Shabab said they were behind the attack. 

The blasts were heard during the ceremony passing over power to the new President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed.

Lesotho's coalition government not 'crumbling'

A BBC correspondent is tweeting about her interview with the prime minister of Lesotho  - a tiny kingdom often hit by political instability:   

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SA tweeters express anger at bank 'rigging'

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

South Africans have taken to Twitter using the tag #BanksCollusion to express their anger at allegations that 17 top banks have been rigging the price of the currency, the rand.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
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The claims follow a report by South Africa’s Competition Commission. 

People buying the rand would have been affected by the price-fixing scam, according to the Competition Commission. 

The international giants, which include Barclays, Bank of America and HSBC are likely to be slapped with a hefty fine.

But some in the country are calling for criminal charges to be laid against them and their top managers. 

They are also calling for “fair reporting” in the largely white-controlled media which is accused of treating corporate crime with kid gloves but quick to report on alleged corruption in the mainly black government. 

Zuma vows to crack down on 'rigging banks'

South African President Jacob Zuma replies to the debate about his State Of The Nation Address (SONA) in the parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, 16 February 2017.
EPA

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has promised to act against banks accused by the competition watchdog of rigging the price of the currency, the rand, Reuters news agency reports. 

Addressing parliament, Mr Zuma said:

This matter is still under investigation... government is ready to act against market abuse, price fixing and collusion in the private sector in order to protect our country's economy,

See earlier post for more details

Somalia's 'looming famine catastrophe'

  Somalia has not had enough rain for three years. The country's landscape has become littered with dead animals and there are warnings of a full-blown famine by June.  

Somalia faces 'catastrophic' famine if drought continues

Pogbas' mother hoping for draw

Florentin and Paul Pogba
Getty Images

Guinea international Florentin Pogba admits his mother will find it difficult to watch him take on younger brother Paul in the Europa League. 

On Thursday, Florentin, will play for St Etienne against Paul who plays for Manchester United. 

It's not going to be easy for her but at the same time what a fantastic moment it'll be for her to see her sons playing out there," the defender said. 

"Maybe the best result for her will be a draw." "But we'll be going all out to get the best result for ourselves. Whoever wins she'll be happy in some respect."  

Thursday's match will be the first time the brothers, who grew up near the French capital Paris, have properly clashed on a football pitch.

Read more on the BBC Sport website

Zimbabwe satellite TV payments 'illogical'

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

A protester holds a sign during a demonstration by opposition parties against the introduction of bond notes as a currency in Harare on November 30 2016.
AFP
Opposition groups blame the government for the economic crisis

Zimbabwe’s central bank chief has described as illogical the amount of money leaving the country to pay for satellite TV subscriptions and has announced measures to limit international card payments. 

In his latest monetary policy statement, John Mangudya said international cards payments, including TV subscription fees, accounted for the highest use of foreign exchange after fuel imports. A total of $206m (£165m) was spent from July to December last year, he added.   

 The central bank now wants payments to be settled locally, to avoid using up precious foreign exchange.    

Zimbabwe has faced serious cash shortages because of a shrinking economy and an over-reliance on imports. 

The central bank says foreign investment and remittances from Zimbabweans living abroad declined by up to a fifth in 2016. 

Read: Queuing at banks at night for money

How can African media deal with fake news?

Fake news article
Standard
This story was one of many last year that turned out to be fake

At a time when fact-based reporting is increasingly being undermined by fake news, the BBC's Dickens Olewe has been looking at the lessons for the media in Africa.  

In his analysis he picks out a few fake stories that have tried to fool people recently:

  • Eritrean men ordered to marry two wives or risk jail
  • UK Announces Visa Free Entry For Nigeria And Other Commonwealth African Countries
  • Trump says "Africans are lazy fools only good at eating, lovemaking and thuggery"
  • Robert Mugabe says Zimbabweans are "honest people" but "stealing is in every Kenyan's blood".

He explains that some writers are motivated to publish fake stories in order to get more people visiting their sites.

Find out more about what we can do about fake news in this month's BBC Africa Debate. It will air at 19:00 GMT on Friday 17 February at 19:00 GMT and Sunday 19 February at 12:00 GMT on the BBC World Service.  

'Child killed' as cyclone Dineo hits Mozambique

A child has been killed as cyclone Dineo hit Mozambique, reports Radio Mozambique.

The reports say the child was killed by a falling tree in the southern town Massinga. 

The broadcaster says four people have been killed by the cyclone.

Dineo reached Inhambane, southern Mozambique, on Wednesday night, buffeting the town with winds in excess of 100 kmh (62mph), torrential rain and rough seas, according to the South African Weather Service (SAWS). 

View more on twitter

The storm has begun to die down and Dineo has been downgraded to a tropical depression this morning, AFP news agency quotes SAWS as saying.   

SAWS does adds that it could still cause heavy rainfall and flooding as it heads inland toward South Africa. 

Mortar attack in Somalia

Mortar shells were fired near the presidential palace in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, soon after a ceremony to mark the transfer of power to the new president, reports the BBC's Ibrahim Aden from the city. 

Unconfirmed reports say they hit homes in the neighborhood, killing four people. 

Haul of gifts revealed in Somalia handover of power

We mentioned earlier that the old Somali president is handing over power to the new president.

The BBC's Ibrahim Aden has sent these pictures of the defeated Hassan Sheikh Mohamud showing election winner Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed around his new pad. 

One thing it revealed is how gifts from other countries have built up over the years:

Somali handover
BBC

State House has been given souvenirs from organisations ranging from the European Union to the Association of Arab Universities:

Medals
BBC

We're not sure who gave the ornate bird statue:

Medals
BBC

CAR rebel group 'killed 32 civilians'

Armed men on a pick-up in the Central Africa Republic
Getty Images
The Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from the chaos of a civil war

A rebel group in the Central African Republic killed at least 32 civilians and captured fighters after clashes in December 2016 with another rebel group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says

The rights group is concerned that the killings took place despite the presence of Minusca, the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR). 

According to HRW, the killings reportedly took place on 12 December in Bakala, a town in the southern-central part of the country. 

Rebels from the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) killed 25 people after calling them to a school for an alleged meeting, HRW said. 

Earlier that day, they killed seven men who were returning from a nearby gold mine, it added. 

CAR has been struggling to recover from chaos after going through nearly three years of civil war which broke following a coup in 2013. 

Smooth transfer of power in Somalia

A former BBC journalist in Somalia tweets the moment when the old president hands power - in the form of a lever-arch file -  to the new president:

View more on twitter

This was not a one-person-one-vote election. Instead, Somalia's MPs elected the new president - Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed - in a vote held in a heavily guarded aircraft hangar in the capital Mogadishu because of fears of an attack by militant Islamists. 

Mr Mohamed defeated Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was hoping that MPs will back him for a second term.   

Read more on the BBC News website.

DR Congo vote 'too expensive' at $1.8bn

Joseph Kabila
AFP
President Joseph Kabila's final mandate ran out in November 2016

The Democratic Republic of Congo will not be able to afford an agreed presidential election this year, the government says.

Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia said the cost of organising the poll, which was said to be $1.8bn (£1.5bn), was too expensive.

Last year the government and the opposition agreed that new elections would be held by the end of 2017.

Mr Kabila's opponents have accused him of repeatedly delaying the poll in order to remain in power.

Read more on the BBC News website.

French candidate in row over colonialism

French independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron
AFP
The far-right accuses Mr Macron of "shooting France in the back"

French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron has come under fire from his right-wing opponents for calling France's colonisation of Algeria a "crime against humanity," AFP news agency reports. 

Mr Macron visited the Martyrs' Memorial in Algeria this week, and said in a television interview that France's actions during the colonial era were "genuinely barbaric, and constitute a part of our past that we have to confront by apologising". 

Les Republicans candidate Francois Fillon yesterday condemned what he called "this hatred of our history, this perpetual repentance that is unworthy of a candidate for the presidency of the republic", while Wallerand de Saint-Just, an official in Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front party, accused him of "shooting France in the back", AFP reports. 

And an ally of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, Gerald Darmanin, tweeted "Shame on Emmanuel Macron for insulting France while abroad". 

Opinion polls predict that Mr Macron will win's April's election, but there will be a run-off in May with his main rival being Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon. 

ANC demands tough action against banks

Matthew Davies

Editor, BBC Africa Business Report

South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) says harsh penalties should be imposed on banks operating in the country, should they be found guilty of manipulating the foreign exchange markets. 

The statement came after South Africa's competition watchdog referred its investigation into the foreign exchange dealings of 17 banks to the prosecuting authorities (see previous post). 

The ANC says the latest developments expose the "ethical crisis in the South African banking sector". 

ANC activists hang flags on lamp post
AFP
The ANC has been in power since minority rule ended in 1994
Jacob Zuma
Getty Images
President Jacob Zuma is pushing for reforms in the banking sector

The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters is calling for the banks to have their operating licences immediately revoked. 

However, another opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, says the timing of the case is suspicious, given that in his State of the Nation address last week, President Jacob Zuma said the competition authorities would be one of the tools used to drive radical economic transformation forward. 

Separately, Mr Zuma also accused the country's four big banks of controlling South Africa's economy. If found guilty, the Competition Commission will push for a fine of 10% of the bank's turnovers.

Banking giants 'rigged' South Africa's currency

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

Rand notes and coins
BBC
Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela's image is on some notes

Seventeen banks have been accused of rigging the price of South Africa’s currency, the rand. The country’s Competition Commission has called for big fines against the banking giants, which include HSBC and Barclays, after making a long list of serious and extensive allegations against them. 

The commission accused the banks’ foreign currency traders of conspiring to fix the price of the rand; sometimes using online chat rooms to coordinate fictitious bids and offers in order to sway the market.

A two year investigation concluded there was “widespread collusion” and recommended that the banks be fined 10% of their annual turnovers in South Africa.

The 17 banks are now likely to face prosecution at South Africa’s Competition Tribunal.

The Bank of America, Barclays, JP Morgan and HSBC are among those implicated in activities that the commission alleges have been going on since at least 2007. 

Several banks have already said they will cooperate with the authorities.

In recent years, South Africa has successfully prosecuted and fined local construction companies and bakeries for price fixing.

Read: How to rig the market

Buhari 'healthy and witty'

Nigeria's President Muhammad Buhari met three top politicians in London last night, in what appears to be his latest attempt to dampen speculation that he is being treated for a serious illness in the British capital. 

One of his visitors, Senate President Bukola Saraki, described Mr Buhari as "healthy, witty & himself".  

Last night, the president tweeted:   

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In his tweet, the Senate president said:

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Mr Buhari, 74, has been in the UK since last month for unspecified medical checks.  

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

A house is admired because of the appearance of its roof. "

A Bemba proverb sent by Muma Chipili, Lusaka, Zambia

Click here to send us your proverbs

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