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Summary

  1. Nigeria dismisses stories about the cost of presidential jet in London
  2. Benin trial over $260m pyramid scheme
  3. Egypt government slashes petrol subsidy
  4. South African charged for secretly filming colleague expressing breast milk
  5. Pro-IS message published on hacked South African government website
  6. Tanzanian NGOs aim to change president's mind on schoolgirl mums
  7. Malawi opens Africa's first humanitarian drone corridor
  8. Save the Children warns that 20,000 children could die following drought
  9. Today's proverb: "When a handshake goes beyond the elbow, it becomes an insult."

Live Reporting

By Paul Bakibinga and Damian Zane

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:

When a handshake goes beyond the elbow, it becomes an insult."

Sent by Nwatu Chukwuka in Luanda, Angola

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture of a kente cloth weaver in Ghana from Martha Tadesse's Instagram feed:

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Ghana's economy on the rise

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

Ghana’s economy has recorded a growth rate of 6.6% in the first quarter of this year, the highest since 2014.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the increased growth rate was due to the inflow of oil from the new TEN Field.

While this may be good news for the new government, economists say the oil sector cannot create the badly needed jobs to employ the majority of the unemployed youth in the country.

The Ghanaian economy is largely driven by the service sector, like telecommunications. However in the first quarter of this year, the industrial and agriculture sectors recorded higher growth.

The new government inherited a struggling economy and many are watching to see if the policies it is currently pursuing have a positive effect or not.

An oil rig for oil exploration is pictured at the Port of Takoradi,
Getty Images

Another win for drone enthusiasts in Africa

Dickens Olewe

BBC Africa

For drone enthusiasts and campaigners, this development is another important step in the right direction.

After years of opposing the commercial and civilian use of drones, African governments are slowly allowing the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the airspace.

The Malawi air corridor project is a close copy of an idea proposed to the Kenyan government by a Swiss polytechnic about four years ago to operate a drone delivery service called Flying Donkey.

The plan was to operate fixed-wing drones, carrying a payload of up to 20 kg (44lbs), in sparsely populated and infrastructure poor northern Kenya to supplement the postal services.

The project did not take off because the authorities saw it as a threat to security.

While there are legitimate concerns about privacy and safety, the absence of progressive drone laws to regulate the industry means African countries have been missing out on the multi-billion dollar industry.

Malawi now joins Rwanda, South Africa and Mauritius on the list of countries leading cutting-edge research on drone use to address real-life challenges

People look on during a drone safety and awareness demonstration on June 22, 2017, in regards to humanitarian drone corridor testing under the UNICEF-funded Humanitarian Drone Corridor testing project,
Getty Images

What will drone corridor do?

Earlier we reported that Africa's first air corridor to test the use of drones in humanitarian missions has been launched in Malawi.

The government and Unicef are behind the project. Unicef's Malawi country representative Johannes Wedenig explains what it's all about.

Benin's president in France for 'routine check up'

Benin's President Patrice Talon is back in Paris for what the presidency is calling a "routine" health check, AFP is reporting.

President Talon had two operations on his prostate and digestive system in France earlier this month.

According to the presidency, the president left Cotonou on Wednesday after chairing a cabinet meeting.

Wilfried Houngbedji, the presidential spokesman, told AFP that President Talon had told his cabinet that he had " an appointment with doctors for a routine check following his operation."

Mr Houngbedji did not say when President Talon is expected to return.

Benin's President Patrice Talon attends the opening of an extraordinary session of the West African Economic and Monetary Union zone (UEMOA) on April 10, 2017 in Abidjan
AFP
President Patrice Talon in Paris for 'routine' check up

Brother testifies at Ahmed Timol inquest

Karen Allen

BBC southern Africa correspondent, Johannesburg

The brother of a South African political activist who plunged to his death from the window of a police station 45 years ago says that suicide was never a policy in the underground anti-apartheid movement.

Mohammed Timol, the younger brother of Ahmed Timol, whose inquest has re-opened in Johannesburg, described how he himself was being held and tortured by special branch police, when he learnt of his brother's death.

Mohammed Timol told the inquest how he was held in stress positions, beaten by his interrogators and kept in solitary confinement during much of the 141 days he was detained by special branch police.

He also revealed that when he finally learnt of his brother's death, he initially assumed it was a "ruse" by the police to get him to sign a confession.

Ahmed Timol, a teacher and activist, fell from the 10th floor of a notorious Johannesburg police station in 1971. He was the 22nd person to die in detention during the troubled times of white minority rule.

His family rejects the coroner's official verdict at the time, concluding that Mr Timol had taken his own life.

They believe his death was part of a massive cover up and say they are fighting to restore his dignity and his legacy. The coroner has indicated that some of the surviving police officers who were on duty at the time, will be subpoenad to testify.

Former anti-apartheid activist Mohamed Timol, brother of the late Ahmed Timol poses at his home in Johannesburg on June 12, 2017
Getty Images
Former anti-apartheid activist Mohamed Timol was also tortured

Nigerian football team sacks 40 players

Nigerian second-tier side Mighty Jets FC, from the city of Jos, have sacked 40 players from their 65-man squad for performing below the club's expectations.

Struggling Jets, currently seventh in the 13-team Northern Conference of the Nigeria National League (NNL), have also snapped up a further 10 new players to increase competition and "separate wheat from chaff".

"We had a big squad of 65 players, too crowded and unproductive, so we had to release 40 players," the club's sporting director Benedict Akwuegbu told BBC Sport.

"We only need 35 players for the season and some players were not even registered but training with the club. It was just too much."

One of the affected players told BBC Sport that he was not given enough opportunity to prove himself.

For more read: Nigerian team sacks 40 players at once

Benedict Akwuegbu
TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA
Mighty Jets sporting director Benedict Akwuegbu is a former Nigeria striker

Moyo eyes Zimbabwe presidency

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Nkosana Moyo of  the Alliance for the People’s Agenda.
BBC

A former government minister and one time vice-president of the African Development Bank, Nkosana Moyo, has thrown his hat into Zimbabwe’s political ring.

Mr Moyo denied he was going to split the opposition vote as he announced plans to contest the 2018 presidential election as an independent candidate under the banner Alliance for the People’s Agenda.

The physicist and banker served as trade minister in the early 2000s before resigning citing differences with President Mugabe’s government.

President Mugabe subsequently labelled him a coward and "weak-kneed".

Mr Moyo was at pains to deny that he was a "Zanu-PF project", saying that even though he was minister for international trade under President Mugabe he has never been a member of the governing party

The latest presidential candidate has spent most of his time based in South Africa.

He says he decided to run after being approached by people from various political affiliations. He says he plans to unite Zimbabwe.

Mr Moyo says he will not form alliances with opposition parties but denies he will split the vote. He described alliances as mixing fuel with water. "You end up with a larger volume of water, which is useless."

He said he was seeking votes from those who consider current options "unattractive".

One of the candidates he will be up against is President Robert Mugabe who will be 94 next year.

'Gunfire heard' near DR Congo prison

There has been gunfire near a small jail in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa, the Reuters news agency reports.

It quotes witnesses as saying that army and police were seen around the prison, but it was not clear what the cause of the gunfire was.

One person told Reuters: "There was gunfire. I saw a woman wounded in her leg by a bullet."

There have been at least two prison breaks in the country in recent weeks including one where a leader of a religious sect was freed by his followers.

Twenty go on trial in Benin for $260m fraud

Twenty people have gone on trial in Benin for their alleged involvement in a pyramid, or Ponzi, investment scheme which collapsed leaving 150,000 investors a total of $262m(£200m) out of pocket, the AFP news agency reports.

Initial investors were promised a huge return on their money, which was paid for by new investors coming in, AFP adds.

One person who said she is owed $2,600 is quoted as saying: "the outcome of the trial is eagerly awaited by the victims who seven years after being cheated want justice to be served."

Battling it out to become Ghana's smartest school

#NSMQ has been trending on Twitter in Ghana over the past couple of hours as three schools compete to see who will be the National Science and Maths Quiz 2017 champions.

It's a prestigious competition and schools get a lot of kudos for taking the title.

NSMQ has been sharing photos as the audience at the country's national theatre follows the action:

View more on twitter

People were also following live on the radio and online.

The final saw Adisadel College take on Prempeh College and St Thomas Aquinas.

And the winner was...

View more on twitter

And commiserations to the losers:

View more on twitter

Tanzania Football Federation president detained over corruption

The president of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), Jamal Malinzi, has been arrested by the country's Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau.

He was detained along with the TFF's secretary general Selestine Mwesigwa.

The duo were held overnight and face a second round of questioning on Thursday.

The detention comes after a lengthy investigation by the bureau. Details of the specific allegations are yet to be made public.

Misalaba said the bureau is continuing to investigate other federation officials over similar allegations.

Jamal Malinzi
BBC
Jamal Malinzi has been president of the Tanzania Football Federation since October 2010

Nigeria starts exporting yams to Europe

A woman tries to buy yam but vendor complains of low patronage because of hike in pump price in Lagos
Getty Images

Nigeria's Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh has said the country will formally start exporting yam to Europe today.

Chief Ogbeh said, in the first phase, 72 tonnes of yam will be exported to the United Kingdom.

Addressing a press conference in the capital, Abuja, he quoted a statistic from the Food and Agricultural Organization that Nigeria accounts for 61% of the total yam output in the world, but the tuber has not been exported.

For us to go abroad and not find Nigerian yam is an embarrassment."

Mr Ogbeh pointed out that Ghana stood to earn $4bn (£3bn) from its yam exports in the next three to four years.

The agriculture minister said that as the diversification drive continued solar coolers would used to store the yam crop throughout the year.

However he feared that yam production would be hampered by many youth going to urban areas instead of farming in rural areas.

The ministry of agriculture has tweeted pictures of the yams being given their official send off.

View more on twitter

Ghana-China bauxite deal could be worth $10bn

Ghana has signed an agreement with China that could lead to a $10bn (£8bn) investment in Ghana's bauxite industry.

The money will also boost the country's infrastructure at a time when economic growth has slowed in recent years.

The Reuters news agency quotes government minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo as saying that the Chinese Development Bank will provide the money.

This is just the latest development in the growing interest of China in Africa.

The extent of that interest has been highlighted in a new report from the McKinsey consultancy group.

It says that in two decades, China has become Africa’s most important economic partner. Across trade, investment, infrastructure financing, and aid, no other country has such depth and breadth of engagement in Africa".

Ghana and China flag
iStock

Niger wins gold at World Taekwondo

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Niger's Abdoul Razak Issoufou has won a gold medal at the World Taekwondo Championships in South Korea.

The Olympic silver medallist beat Ivory Coast-born Briton Mahama Cho in the final of the men's over-87 kg category.

Earlier in the day Issoufou beat Gabon's Anthony Obame in the semi-finals - Obame will go home with a bronze medal.

Abdoul Razak Issoufou in action in Rio
Getty Images
Abdoul Razak Issoufou in action in Rio

Kenya imports maize from Ethiopia

Kenya is importing maize from neighboring Ethiopia in a bid to deal with a severe shortage of the staple food.

The imports begun earlier this month after an agreement between the two governments, the BBC's Emmanuel Igunza reports.

Dozens of trucks have been arriving today at the border point in Moyale town with at least 260 tonnes coming in this morning.

More trucks are expected later this week.

The maize has been purchased by the Kenya's National Cereals and Produce board.

Maize from Ethiopia being unloaded in Kenya
BBC
Maize from Ethiopia being unloaded in Kenya
BBC

The privately-owned Addis Fortune has however questioned why Ethiopia is selling maize to Kenya despite a food shortage in drought-affected areas.

Ethiopia has reportedly earned $21.3m from the export of maize.

Teachers vital in malaria control-study

Laeila Adjovi

BBC Africa, Dakar

The involvement of school teachers in the prevention and treatment of malaria improves performance in school, a recent study carried out in Mali shows.

The study was conducted by the NGO Save the Children, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National Institute for Public Health Research on nearly 2,000 primary school children in the south-eastern Sikasso region.

It concluded that in regions where malaria is seasonal, schools that provide prevention education, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and anti-malarial drugs not only helps reduce the risk of pupils being infected, but also the chances of their developing anaemia.

Malaria kills thousands of children every year, but children can also act as hosts to malaria parasites without displaying any symptoms. If these are not treated this can lead to anaemia, and affect their health and attention at school.

This is what lead researcher Dr Sian Clarke from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said:

Malaria control strategies should be an integral component of education and school health plans in countries where malaria is endemic"

Students do work in a classroom in Gao, in the north of Mali,
Getty Images

How much is Nigeria's presidential jet costing in London?

A spokesperson for Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed that a presidential jet has been parked at a London airport for more than seven weeks, but has denied that this is costing the government $5,000 (£4,000) a day.

Mr Buhari has been in the UK for medical treatment for an undisclosed illness since 8 May.

The plane that transported him is still in London and people have been speculating about the daily cost of keeping the plane in he UK.

Garba Shehu told the BBC that it is normal practice that leaders "are not left to be stranded in foreign lands... there must be a plan for an immediate return".

Questioned about the cost, Mr Shehu said that the Nigerian government has asked that the daily fee be waived and if that was not possible then only the minimum would be paid.

"Nothing in excess of £1,000," he said.

Muhammadu Buhari (left) Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo
Nigerian Government
President Muhammadu Buhari (left) has left Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in charge

French bank BNP 'sued in Rwanda genocide lawsuit'

Three non-governmental associations have filed a lawsuit against the French bank BNP Paribas for its alleged involvement in the 1994 genocide, AFP news agency reports.

The NGOs are accusing BNP of "complicity in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity".

The groups, in a joint statement, allege that the bank provided funding for the purchase of "80 tonnes of arms used to carry out genocide" by the then government of Rwanda, despite the bank having known its "genocidal intentions".

A spokesperson for the bank told AFP that they were unable to comment on the allegations because they did not have "sufficient details".

Nearly 800,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis, were killed during the genocide.

A picture taken on April 14, 2012 in Paris, shows the entrance of a BNP Paribas bank
Getty Images

M.anifest: Ghana's rapper with a social conscience

Ghanaian rapper and poet M.anifest has been celebrated for his socially conscious lyrics.

He's been performing for the BBC's Global Beats programme - and we take a look at his work:

SA man charged over filming a woman expressing breast milk

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

A woman has taken her colleague to court for secretly filming her while expressing breast milk at her workplace, at a South African university.

The man, employed by the University of Cape Town, is alleged to have set up a live link in a private room at the institution.

The woman has written about the incident on her blog, where she described her frustration.

I’m so incredibly angry that the act of me providing food for my baby was sexualised in such a cowardly way. That it was sexualised at all. I’m disgusted that we live in a world where mothers, no matter how they choose to feed their children, are victimised for being vulnerable."

The man, who has been suspended from work, has appeared in court charged with crimen injuria, a crime in South Africa defined as “unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another”.

The matter has been postponed for further investigation.

three ways to store breast milk
iStock

Egypt makes further cuts to fuel subsidies

The Egyptian government has significantly increased the cost of petrol and diesel fuel. This is the second such hike since the currency was floated in November.

Petrol prices have gone up overnight by over 40%, and diesel by over 50%.

The AFP news agency says the removal of fuel subsidies are part of a strict IMF supported reform programme.

By contrast, a week ago President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced extra funding for food subsidies, pensions and the provision of a social safety net.

Analysts say that food and energy subsidies take up a quarter of state spending.

An Egyptian worker fills a customers tank as cars queue at a petrol station in the capital Cairo on November 4, 2016.
AFP

US celebrates deal to cut UN peacekeeping budget

UN members have agreed a deal to cut $0.5bn (£0.4bn) off the organisation's projected peacekeeping budget, which is due to be voted on later today by the Security Council.

That amounts to about 6% of the planned total of $7.87bn.

This could affect several UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan's Darfur region and South Sudan.

The plan was to spend $1.2bn in DR Congo (Monusco), $1bn in Darfur (Unamid) and $1.1bn in South Sudan (Unmiss). But it is not clear whether these missions will lose any money.

The US's ambassador to the UN tweeted about how pleased she was that the budget was cut, hinting that more cuts are likely:

View more on twitter

And there has been some criticism of the tweet:

View more on twitter

@nikkihaley So...this isn't satire? It's crazy how the ridiculous has now become the reality.

Although some have come to her defence:

@makarand_s @nikkihaley All very well to mock Haley, but UN peacekeeping was never designed for & is incapable of s… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

Widows of executed Nigeria activists seek compensation from Shell

Martin Patience

BBC News, Nigeria correspondent

Widows of four of the nine men executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 have a filed a civil lawsuit in The Hague, Netherlands, accusing Royal Dutch Shell of alleged complicity in a military crackdown.

The deaths of the men - known as the Ogoni nine - provoked an international outcry.

The lawsuit accuses the oil giant of providing support to the military, which ultimately led to the execution of the men

The best known of whom was Ken Saro-Wiwa. He led huge protests against the widespread environmental damage caused by oil production in the Niger Delta.

The widows, supported by Amnesty International, have brought this civil case demanding an apology and unspecified compensation.

Shell, the largest oil producer in Nigeria, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the executions.

In a statement the oil giant said it did not collude with the authorities to suppress unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria.

The oil giant has faced multiple lawsuits in various countries relating to the executions.

Eight years ago, it agreed to an out of court settlement in the US to pay more than $15m (£12m) to a group of the men’s relatives.

Esther Kiobel one the widows sueing Shell
Amnesty International
Esther Kiobel is one the Ogoni widows suing Shell

See more from BBC On This Day

White House sets out visa criteria for Trump travel ban

The White House has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim countries - including three in Africa - and all refugees, requiring them to have a "close" family or business tie to the US.

The rules, affecting people from Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iran and Syria come into force on Thursday.

They were issued after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's travel ban.

The controversial executive order had been blocked by lower courts.

According to the new rules, confirmed to the BBC, for the next 90 days those without a close relationship - defined as a parent, spouse, child, son or daughter-in-law, or sibling - will not be able to enter the US.

Also exempt from the new rules are those with business or educational ties to the United States.

For more read:Trump travel ban: US sets out visa criteria

President Donald Trump listens as he meets with immigration crime victims to urge passage of House legislation to save American lives, in the Cabinet Room at the White House on June 28, 2017 in Washington, DC
Getty Images
President Donald Trump says the ban in interest of national security

SA's Van Niekerk breaks Johnson's 300m world record

South African Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk has won the 300m to break Michael Johnson's world record at the Golden Spike meeting in the Czech Republic.

He set a time of 30.81 seconds

This was the second time that Van Niekerk has broken a Johnson record. He set a new 400m world record when he won gold at the Rio Olympics.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Meanwhile Olympic legend Usain Bolt won the 100m at the event despite a slow start.

When asked whether Van Niekerk was his probable successor Bolt replied: "Yeah for sure. I think he really wants to be a sprinter because he's set a personal best in the 100m this year," AFP news agency reports.

The goal of Kenya's two-time 800m Olympic champion David Rudisha to win the rarely run 1000m did not go to plan.

He came fourth in the race, which was won by his fellow country man Nicholas Kipkoech.

IS sympathiser hacks SA government site

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News

Officials in South Africa are investigating who hacked the government's Basic Education Department website.

The hackers, who identified themselves as Team System Dz, posted graphic images on the page on Wednesday night which included images of decapitated corpses, some of whom are children.

The site is now unreachable but a Google search shows up a message which says: "A message to the government, the American people and the rest of the world. Is this the humanity that you claim, or is life irrelevant...".

Screen grab of search result
Google

The department says the message goes on to say: "Do not imagine that these actions against Muslims will pass you and we will forget what you did to the Arab and Muslim peoples all over the world.”

It adds a message of sympathy with so-called Islamic State.

The department has since taken down the website and is working with security officials to investigate the breach and to rebuild the site.

It is not clear at this stage if Team System Dz has direct links to any extremist group.

Pregnant girls 'are not immoral'

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

A coalition of 25 Tanzanian civil society organisations have called on President John Magufuli to change his stance on whether schoolgirl mothers can return to school.

Last week, President Magufuli told a rally that, in accordance with Tanzanian law, mothers do not belong in school.

"After getting pregnant, you are done," he said.

At a press conference in Dar es Salaam the organisations said girls who get pregnant at school are neither immoral nor criminal, and it is the father of the child who needs to be punished.

Activists addressing press conference
BBC

In a statement they said:

Young girls face more challenges in accessing education than young boys even without the question of expulsion for pregnancy.

Most of these young girls have already suffered, denying them the right to continue with their education adds to their hardship", a group statement reads."

They added that the government can learn from neighbouring countries like Kenya or even the semi-autonomous Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, where since 2010 girls have been allowed back into school after giving birth as a strategy to reduce the number of school dropouts.

The government has also threatened to de-register any NGO which campaigns to change the law on banning teenage mothers from returning to school.

Read more: Tanzania teenage mother: We need Magufuli's support not criticism

Twenty thousand Somali children in danger of 'dying from drought'

BBC World Service

At least 20,000 children are at risk of dying in Somalia due to severe drought, the aid organisation Save the Children has warned.

It says that according to a new survey it conducted with two other charities it found that acute malnutrition cases had skyrocketed in nearly half of the nine districts assessed.

Save the Children is calling on the international community to provide life-saving aid to Somalia.

The warning comes days after the UN children's agency, Unicef, said severe drought in the country had led to a huge increase in the number of children contracting measles.

A displaced Somali woman carries her child on her back on May 24, 2017 at a makeshift camp in the Garasbaley area on the outskirts of the capital Mogadishu, where people converge after fleeing their homes due to the dire drought that hits the country.
AFP

Malawi launches humanitarian drone service

BBC World Service

The UN children's agency Unicef is formally opening Africa's first air corridor reserved for humanitarian drones today, in Malawi.

The corridor will allow small unmanned aircraft to make deliveries of medical supplies.

It will have a radius of 40km and will test the viability of the service which could be extended.

The corridor is also be open to the private sector and universities to develop further humanitarian uses of drones.

The BBC covered the first test flights which began last year.

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we'll be keeping you up-to-date with news stories on the continent.

Today's African proverb:

When a handshake goes beyond the elbow, it becomes an insult."

Sent by Nwatu Chukwuka in Luanda, Angola
Woman holding out hand
iStock

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.