Former president of the Republic of the Congo, Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, has died in Paris from complications related to coronavirus. His family said he had been ill before contracting covid -19. He was 81 years old.
Yhombi-Opango led Congo-Brazzaville from 1977 and was toppled in 1979 by the country’s current leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso.
He spent several years in prison before multi-party democracy was introduced in 1991 and served as prime minister until civil war broke out in 1997.
He went into exile in France for 10 years, before being allowed to return home.
Ivory Coast President Says New West African Currency Launch May Take Five Years
The plan to launch a new currency to replace the CFA franc-being used by several French speaking west African countries has been postponed. Ivory coast president Alessane Ouattara, said the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the project to introduce the eco currency this year.
Last December, the eight countries of west Africa’s monetary union decided to sever the financial colonial link with France by switching to a new currency called the Eco, which the union says would be pegged to the European Union’s euro. Other countries that do not use the CFA franc, like Nigeria and Ghana, are also interested in adopting the new regional currency.
The plan has been affected by the economic fallout of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Eco launch may not happen for at least five years. The international monetary fund predicts sub-Saharan Africa’s economy will contract by more than 3% this year.
Nations in the bloc, former French colonies, like Benin, Mali, Niger and Senegal have agreed to work towards reducing their budget deficits to below 3% of GDP, a measure of the value of their economies.
Anti-Nigerian Hashtag Trends In South Africa
South Africa`s internet is buzzing with top trending hashtag on twitter #NigeriansMustGo in a latest sign of growing xenophobia in the country. Last week, a protest was held outside the Nigerian high commission where locals were asking that South Africans be put first.
Demonstrators held a small protest at the Nigerian diplomatic building in Pretoria, under the hashtag #PutSouthAfricansFirst.
During last week’s protest, Nigeria’s high commissioner Bala Kabiru said “we don’t accept the profiling of Nigerians in South Africa.”
Some South Africans accuse immigrants of taking the jobs of locals, and of being involved in crime. Others say most immigrants are law-abiding, and should not be blamed for South Africa’s economic and social problems.
Digital forensic research lab – which is made up of forensic researchers who track conflicts – said last week, it had identified a dismissed lance corporal in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) running a fake Twitter account used to fuel xenophobia.
UN Envoy Urges ‘Peaceful, Inclusive’ Vote In Ivory Coast
The United Nations special envoy for west Africa has urged peaceful elections in Ivory Coast as the nation prepares to head to the poll in October.
The U.N. Diplomat Mohamed Ibn Chambas during a week-long visit to Abidjan met president Alassane Ouattara who is running for a third term. He also met three of the president’s challengers, electoral body officials and civil society representatives.
He urged all actors to ensure a peaceful, inclusive election and respect human rights.
President Ouattara’s candidacy has caused tension in the country and led to protests. At least 10 persons have been killed since riots broke out last month after president Ouattara announced his candidacy.
Ivory Coast’s main presidential election challenger, Henri Konan Bédié, called for a campaign of civil disobedience to stop the president from seeking a third term, after his preferred successor died.
Several candidates including former president Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister Guillaume Soro have been barred from running because of previous convictions.
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