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Live Reporting

By Yaroslav Lukov, Natasha Booty, Flora Drury and Mirren Gidda

All times stated are UK

  1. Analysis: Bridge building for US Secretary of State after Trump comments

    Fergal Keane

    BBC Africa editor

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about the US relationship with Africa and his upcoming trip to the continent at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, March 6, 2018

    Ahead of his trip to five African countries, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a speech in Washington. The BBC's Africa editor Fergal Keane takes a closer look at the speech, and what the US politician hopes to achieve.

    After President Trump’s reported use of foul language to describe African countries in January - words denounced as racist by the African Union - the Secretary of State knows he has much bridge building to do on his first visit to the continent.

    His essential message was that America was a true friend to Africa unlike China, which he said was encouraging dependency and corruption with its lending and investment. Mr Tillerson added that America would do more to reduce trade and investment barriers for African partners.

    His announcement of more than $500m in humanitarian assistance for several countries threatened by famine will be welcomed, but Mr Tillerson works for a President who has repeatedly spoken of reducing America’s burdens abroad – a point implicit in his remarks on combating terrorism on the continent.

    These remarks come against the backdrop of potentially sweeping cuts to American contributions to peacekeeping and aid operations – at a time when crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, among others, have placed immense strain on existing UN operations.

    In an administration that has often struggled for coherence in its foreign policy, and which lives by the maxim of America First, it would be unrealistic to expect Secretary Tillerson to deliver a transformation in the relationship between US and Africa.

    Read more: Rex Tillerson slams China's relationship with Africa

  2. Italy elects Nigerian man as first black senator

    A Nigerian immigrant has become Italy's first black senator following elections on Sunday - after standing for an anti-immigration party.

    Toni Iwobi posted on Facebook about his victory, saying he was ready to start his "new adventure".

    View more on facebook

    Mr Iwobi is a member of the right-wing League party, which supports easing restrictions on deporting migrants and increasing barriers to immigration.

    Despite being a migrant himself, Mr Iwobi has been the League's spokesman on migration since 2014 and campaigned under the slogan "Stop Invasion" in reference to illegal immigration.

    The election - which saw his party came third with 17% of the vote, a huge increase on the 4% it won in 2013 - comes at a time of heightened anti-immigrantion feeling.

    The killing of Senegalese street vendor Idy Dienec in Florence on Monday prompted two days of protests.

    Mr Dienec was shot six times at close range as he sold leather bags, umbrellas and trinkets on a bridge, news agency Reuters said.

  3. Sierra Leone heads to the polls

    A women cast her ballot as part of the general elections, on March 7 at a polling station in Freetown. More than 3.1 million voters are registered for the polls across the small West African nation

    Sierra Leoneans are headed to the polls as voting gets underway to elect the country's next president and parliament.

    Sixteen candidates are competing to be elected leader, with Samura Kamara, from the All People's Congress (APC) party, and Julius Maada Bio, from the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), the two front runners.

    For the first time, however, other parties have a stake in the elections, which have traditionally been divided between the APC and the SLPP.

    Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella's National Grand Coalition and Samuel Sam-Sumana's Coalition for Change are also expected to secure a high number of votes.

    Voters are hoping for a peaceful election following incidents of violence at recent political rallies that left at least one person dead.

    They are also hoping for an end to the corruption allegations which have dogged the outgoing president, Ernest Bai Koroma's, administration.

    The BBC's Umaru Fofana has observed high voter turnout in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

  4. Al-Shabab 'orders closure of football pitches'

    Children watch a football game in Mogadishu, Somalia

    Somali militant group al-Shabab has reportedly ordered the closure of all privately-owned football pitches in three districts of the capital, Mogadishu.

    More than 20 stadiums in Karaan, Yaqshid and Heliwaa districts are believed to have compiled with the order, the BBC's Ferdinand Omondi reports.

    The demand was reportedly made at a meeting between some of the stadium managers and al-Shabab leaders in Tora Torow, Lower Shabelle Region.

    Neither the government nor the managers will confirm the existence of the order but sources in Somalia say no football is currently being played in the stadiums.

    Mogadishu is controlled by the government of Somalia, but local people remain wary of the threat of al-Shabab, which is said to have many informants in the local population.

    The militants are trying to impose an Islamic Caliphate in Somalia, rejecting any form of Western influence – and that includes sports and entertainment.

    Despite this, the group has held sporting events in the past to seek the support of the residents in the areas that they control.

  5. Gang tries to saw off South African athlete's leg

    The South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala has been attacked by a chainsaw-wielding gang while on a training ride in Durban.

    Three men are believed to have dragged the athlete into a bush and attempted to hack at his leg with a chainsaw.

    ”We don’t yet know how far they went in‚ whether they were trying to cut it off‚ or what the circumstances are," Dennis Jackson, director of the Elite Athlete Development programme, told Times Live.

    "All we know is that Mhlengi is alive‚ he is talking and that he is under medical care."

    Calling the attack "really bizarre", Mr Jackson added that Mr Mhlengi "doesn't know why they left".

    He said the athlete would not take part in the South African Triathlon Championships later this month.

    Fellow athletes have been tweeting about the attack, and offering their sympathies to Mr Gwala.

  6. Today's wise words

    Our African proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree." from An Ethiopian proverb sent by Aster Assefa, Stockholm, Sweden
    An Ethiopian proverb sent by Aster Assefa, Stockholm, Sweden

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

  7. Good morning

    Welcome to BBC Africa Live, where we will bring you the latest news and views from around the continent throughout the day.