Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Senegal cancels big party as it leads virus fight

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A woman wearing a mask next to a Covid-19 poster in Dakar, Senegal
    Image caption: Senegal has become one of the leaders in the fight against Covid-19

    Senegal has cancelled giant celebrations to mark its 60th anniversary of independence from France because of coronavirus.

    The West African nation has 140 active cases of Covid-19 - 66 people have recovered and one person has died over the last month.

    It has become one of the countries in Africa leading the fight against coronavirus.

    As well as declaring a state of emergency, closing its land, air and sea borders to all but essential goods traffic and banning public gatherings, it has focused on tracking potential infections.

    Anyone who has been in contact with an infected person has been put up in a hotel and quarantined for 14 days.

    The mantra of the World Health Organization (WHO) is “test, test, test” - but tests are time-consuming and expensive, something Africa can ill afford.

    That all may be set to change as Senegal is working with a UK company to develop a quick, simple, $1 (£0.80) test.

    Validation tests are under way.

    As the test can be performed without any need for electricity, it would be of particular use for Africa’s rural communities, which often do not have access to power.

    More controversially, Senegal has been pioneering the use of an anti-malarial drug, chloroquine, to treat coronavirus patients.

    The WHO says its effectiveness has not been proved; other respected medical institutions have warned against the hype surrounding the drug.

    But Abdou Latif Coulibaly, Senegal’s culture minister and government spokesman, told the BBC that doctors in the country had seen what he described as “rapid improvement” in patients treated with chloroquine.

    “The WHO is not going to tell us what to do,” he insisted.

    “Our doctors can do what they want.”

    Although with nearly 8,000 confirmed cases across the continent, Africa has not yet been hit as hard as other places there are fears that if and when Covid-19 takes hold, it will be a catastrophe.

    Initiatives such as the cheap test Senegal is developing will be essential in saving lives on a continent with weak healthcare and sanitation systems, and populations often vulnerable to disease because of underlying conditions such as malnutrition, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids.

    More about coronavirus:

  2. Scroll down for Friday's stories

    We’ll be back next week

    That's all from BBC Africa Live for now. There will be an automated service until Monday morning. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or check the BBC News website.

    A reminder of our wise words:

    Quote Message: No matter how large the calf, it must kneel to suck at its mother's breast." from An Igbo proverb sent by Matthew Chibuike and Herbert, both from Nigeria
    An Igbo proverb sent by Matthew Chibuike and Herbert, both from Nigeria

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

    And we leave you with this picture of a man cycling with his child through a settlement outside Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. It is from our collection of the best pictures from around Africa this week.

    a man cycling with his child through a settlement outside Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.
  3. Lesotho PM orders rivals to be investigated

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The embattled prime minister of Lesotho has ordered an investigation into rivals in his own All Basotho Convention or ABC party - who he says are plotting to topple the government.

    Thomas Thabane - who is accused of playing a role in the murder of his estranged wife, described the MPs' action as terrorism.

    Senior ABC members say they have joined opposition groups in a coalition and are ready to form a government.

    The prime minister's estranged wife Lipolelo Thabane was gunned down in 2017. At the time she was involved in bitter divorce proceedings with the prime minister.

    In February his current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, was charged with the murder and after Mr Thabane was also linked to the killing, he offered to step down by the end of July.

    Read more: The characters at the heart of Lesotho's murder drama

  4. Kenyan politician arrested for breaking quarantine

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Gideon Saburi

    The authorities in Kenya have arrested a senior government official for refusing to follow quarantine rules after returning to the country from Germany, a country which already had thousands of confirmed cases, last month.

    Gideon Saburi, the Deputy Governor of coastal Kilifi County, who later tested positive for Covid-19, was forcefully put in isolation for 14 days.

    He has now fully recovered.

    More than 100 people were quarantined when Mr Saburi tested positive. He is expected to be charged with endangering lives.

    "I am sorry for the pain I caused," Mr Saburi said days after he was quarantined, local Daily Nation newspaper reported.

    Meanwhile, the health ministry has reported 12 new confirmed cases of coronavirus; bringing the total to 122.

    A six-year-old boy, who had pre-existing health conditions, died from virus complications, bringing the number of people who have succumbed to Covid-19, to five.

    Health officials say 25-30% of Kenya's coronavirus transmissions are now local, meaning people with no history of travel or contact with thse who have been abroad are contracting the virus.

    Kenya is now producing locally made Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which is available for distribution to health workers and the public.

    Trade Minister Betty Maina says she expects face masks to retail for no more than 20 US cents.

    The government has also asked Kenyans hoarding oxygen cylinders to return them.

  5. Zeynab Abib on her proud Yoruba roots

    DJ Edu

    This Is Africa

    Zeynab Abib

    Zeynab Abib is known for her RnB and afrobeats hits but she is also passionate about traditional music and has recorded songs in the Bolodjo style.

    She comes from an area of Benin close to the Nigerian border which shares Yoruba culture.

    “There are so many beautiful things [in Yoruba culture], the way to dress, the way to eat, the way to dance, the music, the talking drum, everything. There’s nothing money can buy like being proud of where you come from,” she told This Is Africa.

    “For me it’s a big, big honour to represent that culture," Zeynab added.

    Her grandmother was a famous traditional singer, but Zeynab, who grew up in Ivory Coast, only discovered this when she returned to Benin when she was 18.

    It was then that everything made sense, she was destined to be a singer and carry on in her grandmother’s footsteps.

    Since then, Zeynab has performed and worked with an impressive list of bands and artists, including Congolese Awilo Longomba, and she has been a winner at both the Kora and Afrima music awards.

    One of my favourites songs of hers is No Go Die. It’s an African take on Gloria Gaynor’s defiant and famous anthem I Will Survive.

    As Zeynab says: “When you love somebody a lot and that person is leaving you, what can you do? What can you do? [In this song] I want to show that person that I’m not suffering… even if it’s not true!”

    For more, head to This is Africa programme page here.

    The interview will air on 4 April on BBC World Service and is available online after the broadcast.

  6. Thousands arrested for defying SA lockdown

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Security officers have been accused of brutally enforcing the lockdown
    Image caption: Security officers have been accused of brutally while enforcing the lockdown

    More than 17,000 people have been arrested during the first week of the coronavirus lockdown in South Africa for defying the restrictions imposed.

    South African officials have warned that unless people stay at home infections could soar over the next few weeks.

    There are currently nearly 1,500 confirmed cases in South Africa.

    There has been resistance to some of the strict regulations which include a ban on the sale of alcohol and jogging outside.

    On Thursday Police Minister Bheki Cele said that the authorities had received more than 87,000 complaints of gender-based violence over the week.

    Read more about the lockdown in South Africa.

  7. Ex-marathon champion arrested for drinking during curfew

    Wilson Kipsang

    Kenya's former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang has been released on bail after being charged for breaking a nationwide curfew imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.

    Kipsang, who claimed the world record during the 2013 Berlin marathon, is a police officer.

    He pleaded guilty in a court on Friday after a night in police cells and was released on bail of 5,000 shillings ($47; £43).

    He is currently under provisional suspension from the World Integrity Anti-Doping Unit (AIU).

    "We arrested Kipsang and nine others, including one of the administrators of the county at the Keelu Resort club drinking and playing pool at 10pm," Iten county police commander John Mwinzi was quoted asa saying by news agency AFP.

    "This is a very serious offence. These people are respected and they are supposed to lead by example and not breaking the government orders," Mr Mwinzi added.

    Kenya has imposed a 19:00-05:00 curfew in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

    Mr Mwinzi also ordered the arrest of 12 athletes, including two foreigners, found training in the western Iten area, which attracts elite Kenyan and foreign athletes who flock to the small town, located at 2,400m above sea level, for altitude training, AFP reports.

    The group had disobeyed directives on social distance, Mr Mwinzi said.

    You might also be interested in:

  8. Gunmen free Mali opposition members

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The main opposition party in Mali says five of its members who were kidnapped last week in the north of the country have been freed.

    The Union for the Republic and Democracy said, however, that its leader Soumaila Cissé and three others were still missing.

    Last week the opposition delegation was ambushed by unidentified gunmen while campaigning ahead of parliamentary elections in the Timbuktu region – an area frequently targeted by Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda.

    Mr Cissé​​​​​​​'s bodyguard was killed and two others were wounded during the attack.

  9. Ugandan 'curfew violators' kept crammed together

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    Police in Uganda’s capital Kampala are holding 165 people for "defying" the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed as a measure to curb the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

    On Wednesday night alone, at the start of the curfew, more than 60 people were rounded up in Kampala and nearby districts.

    Another six people were opening their shops, breaking presidential orders that businesses must close.

    Local media has published videos showing those arrested sitting on the ground outside the Kampala Central Police Station, raising concerns that herding the suspects together goes against social distancing advice.

    View more on twitter

    A police spokesperson told the BBC that all the suspects had their temperature taken, and they have to wash their hands regularly according to Covid-19 prevention guidelines.

    Uganda has confirmed 45 cases of Covid-19.

    Why is social distancing necessary?

    • Social distancing is important because coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets - packed with the virus - into the air.
    • These can be breathed in, or can cause an infection if you touch a surface they have landed on, and then touch your face with unwashed hands.

    Watch: What are the rules for social distancing?

  10. Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus in Africa: Debunking fake news and myths around Covid-19

    BBC Africa's Joice Etutu tackles myths around Covid-19 that are being shared online on the continent.

  11. Kenyan pastors want churches listed as 'essential services'

    A group of Kenyan pastors have asked the government to include churches in the list of "essential services" to allow them to remain open as the country battles the Covid-19 outbreak.

    The preachers representing churches in Makueni country in eastern Kenya, say faith is the “best way to fight the unseen enemy”.

    They want to be allowed to hold Sunday services in open grounds, while adhering to the proposed one-metre distance between people to prevent infection.

    The government has banned public gatherings and police officers have been enforcing the ban.

    One of the pastors, Nicholas Kyule, was quoted by Citizen TV as saying that the church was the “best place for hope and resilience” during this time.

    Another, Titus Uswii, was quoted in the Star Newspaper as saying that the country “may be involved in a futile exercise” as long as churches remain closed.

    Watch their comments below:

    View more on youtube

    The Kenyan government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on 27 March, but exempted those in what it termed "essential services", which included health workers, security officers, the media, food dealers and transporters among others.

  12. Rwandan soldiers accused of raping women during lockdown

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    A Rwandan woman speaks a soldier

    Five Rwandan soldiers have been arrested after residents of a slum in the capital, Kigali, alleged that they raped women as they enforced a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the army has said.

    Residents of Nyarutarama have been telling the military prosecution office that the soldiers also beat up male residents and stole from them, a BBC reporter in Kigali says.

    One of the victims told journalists that on 26 March an armed soldier forced his way into her home and beat up her husband, when she tried intervene the soldier raped her.

    The government imposed a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19, but residents have complained about brutality meted out by security officers.

    Last week, two men were shot dead after they were caught walking outside.

    Police said the men had tried to attack the officers.

    Rwanda has confirmed 84 cases of Covid-19.

  13. Tanzania extends visas for stranded tourists

    Sammy Awami

    BBC News, Dar es Salaam

    A giraffe walks in front of Mount Kilimanjaro
    Image caption: Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, is a major tourist attraction

    Tanzania’s immigration department has extended visas for foreign nationals who can't leave the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Foreign visitors, who applied online, were given visa extensions of three months.

    The extension starts from the date the traveller arrives in Tanzania - if their arrival is within the three months covered by their original visa application.

    Residents and holders of other passes, such as exemption certificates and dependant pass holders, have been given a one month extension free of charge.

    “If the situation persists after the expiry of such an extension, holders are advised to report to the main immigration office in Dar es Salaam,” reads a statement from the department.

    Those who have already surrendered their residence permits or passes have also been urged to report to the main office.

    Tanzania has reported 20 cases of coronavirus to date, including one death and two recovered patients.

    The ministry of health has said it was tracing and monitoring over 500 individuals who are believed to have had contact with those who have tested positive.

    The east African nation has not suspended international flights and its border crossings are still open, but airlines have suspended flights to the country.

    Neighbouring countries have also restricted cross-borders travel as a precaution to stop the spread of the virus.


  14. Drogba and Eto'o slam 'Covid-19 test trials on Africans'

    Two African football legends have condemned comments by two French doctors who recently suggested, in a TV discussion about medical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, that they be used on Africans first.

    Didier Drodga said that the suggestion was taking "African people as human guinea pigs," adding in another tweet that "Africa isn't a testing lab":

    View more on twitter

    Former Cameroonian football Samuel Eto'o called the doctors "assassins".

    The doctors' comments were also criticised by ant-racist groups and many others commenting online.

    The 1 April clip from French TV channel LCI featuring Dr Jean-Paul Mira and Dr Camille Locht has been widely shared online.

    In it Dr Mira, from Cochin hospital in Paris, proposes that a medical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine should be carried out in Africa as had been done in studies relating to Aids:

    Quote Message: If I can be provocative, shouldn't we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation? A bit like it is done elsewhere for some studies on AIDS. In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves."

    Dr Camille Locht, from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), had been talking about a study being carried out in Europe and Australia, but agreed with Dr Mira that a trial should also be carried out in Africa:

    Quote Message: You are right, we are in the thinking of a parallel study in Africa to use this same approach with BCG placebos."

    Watch the controversial segment below:

    View more on youtube

    Following the controversy, Inserm said in a statement that the video was “the subject of erroneous interpretations”:

    Its statement said that:

    “Clinical trials to test the efficacy of the BCG vaccine against Covid-19 are... about to be launched in European countries and in Australia. If there is indeed a reflection around a deployment in Africa, it would be done in parallel with these. Africa must not be forgotten or excluded from research because the pandemic is global."

    BCG is a vaccination mostly given to babies in countries where tuberculosis is common.

    Some recent studies have suggested that countries where BCG is administered reported fewer deaths related to Covid-19.

  15. Burundi ‘blocking aid to Covid-19 quarantine sites’

    People washing their hands as they arrive in Burundi from DR Congo - March 2020
    Image caption: People arriving in Burundi from the Democratic Republic of Congo last month were made to wash their hands

    The authorities in Burundi have blocked humanitarian aid to people in Covid-19 quarantine sites across the country, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    The country's "usual denial and deflection approach to crisis management” was worrisome, Lewis Mudge, HRW’s central Africa director, warned.

    The government needed to be “transparent and work with international partners” to prevent the spread of coronavirus, he said.

    The authorities needed to give full access to humanitarian groups to help combat the pandemic, Mr Mudge.

    The government had only revealed one quarantine site to the World Health Organization, yet many others, with unsanitary conditions, were holding travellers who had recently arrived in the country,HRW said.

    “Human Rights Watch has never said anything positive on Burundi. Those allegations are pure lies and come from bad faith. The government of Burundi has taken serious measures to combat the coronavirus and you will see proof of this by the results we will achieve," Burundi’s President Spokesperson, Claude Karerwa Ndenzako, said.

    On Thursday, Burundi confirmed its first two cases of Covid-19 and hours later added a third case.

    Days before President Pierre Nkurunziza had said Burundi had been spared from the virus as it was "a country that has put God first."

  16. Guinea-Bissau 'hands record jail terms to drug lords'

    Cocaine haul seized in Guinea-Bissau
    Image caption: Guinea-Bissua is a major transit point for narcotics

    A court in Guinea-Bissau has handed record jail terms to two suspects accused of trafficking almost two tonnes of cocaine into the country, the AFP news agency reports.

    The West Africa nation has for many years been used as a staging post in the trafficking of cocaine from Latin America to Europe.

    In the past, the military have been heavily linked to the country's drug trade.

    The two suspected ringleaders, identified as Colombian Ricardo Ariza Monje, known as "Ramon", and Braima Seidi Ba, who has joint Guinea-Bissau and Portuguese nationality, were on Thursday each sentenced to 16 years in prison, AFP reports

    Others found guilty, including defendants from Guinea-Bissau, Colombia, Mali and Mexico, received jail terms of between four and 14 years.

  17. DR Congo to put virus epicentre under lockdown

    Emery Makumeno

    BBC News, Kinshasa

    Taxis in Kinshasa, DR Congo
    Image caption: A decision to put the whole city under lockdown was reversed last week

    One suburb of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, will be put into a two-week lockdown starting from Monday.

    The area is Gombe and is deemed to be country’s coronavirus epicentre and is where many expatriates in the city live.

    Only health workers will be allowed to move. Essential state-run firms and some private businesses will also be allowed to operate during the lockdown.

    Kinshasa's Governor Gentini Ngobila made the announcement on Thursday evening.

    Last week, he reversed his decision to put Kinshasa under a complete lockdown fearing a rise in insecurity and a hike in the prices of basic commodities.

    Many residents in the capital think that a lockdown on only one out of 24 municipalities is insufficient to curb the spread of the virus.

    The country has reported 134 coronavirus cases to date, including 13 deaths.

    More about coronavirus: