British nationals successfully entered Egypt from Gaza; Rwanda to offer visa-free travel for Africans; IMF agreed to provide $100 million in funding to Somalia; Gambian soldier sentenced to 12 years in prison for leading failed coup attempt; Nigeria’s Lagos State announced partnerships for an investment of $1.35 billion in infrastructure projects; German Chancellor’s visit to West Africa; DR Congo confirmed 26 presidential candidates for December 20 election, and others
A group of British nationals successfully entered Egypt from Gaza via the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, according to the UK Foreign Office. The office has coordinated with Egyptian and Israeli authorities to facilitate the exit of British citizens from Gaza. UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly hailed the development as a “hugely important first step” and assured continued efforts to keep the crossing open for the safe passage of all British nationals. On arrival in Cairo, the evacuees will receive assistance, including food, water, and communication facilities to connect with their families. The Foreign Office will also aid in arranging their onward journey through commercial flights and provide support for emergency travel documents.
The IMF on Wednesday agreed to provide $100 million in funding to Somalia under a new credit programme that will help the country prepare for debt relief. The agreement is subject to approval from the IMF board and is expected to last for 36 months. Somalia faces many challenges, including poverty, insecurity, and climate shocks, that hinder its economic and social development. The country is also battling the al-Shabaab group, which wants to overthrow the government and attacks peacekeeping forces.
A Gambian soldier, Sanna Fadera, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Tuesday for leading a failed coup attempt against President Adama Barrow in December 2022. He was convicted of treason and conspiracy by the high court, while three other soldiers were cleared of all charges. Seven other defendants, including two civilians and a police officer, were acquitted and released earlier in the trial. Fadera has denied the charges and can appeal the verdict within 30 days. Gambia has a history of coup attempts, especially under former president Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years until he lost an election to Barrow in 2016.
Lagos State, the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, on Tuesday announced a partnership with African Export-Import Bank and Access Bank for an investment of $1.35 billion in infrastructure projects. The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the investment will be used to develop a bridge project, a creek project, and expand its light rail project in the city. The bridge project, known as the Fourth Mainland Bridge, will be built under a public-private partnership and will ease traffic congestion in the city. The creek project and the light rail project will also improve the transportation and connectivity of the city. The state also plans to build an international airport and a logistics hub along its Lekki-Epe corridor.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Nigeria and Ghana, two of West Africa’s leading economies, this week to deepen economic cooperation and investment. Scholz discussed the potential of exporting gas from Nigeria to Europe as Germany seeks to diversify its energy sources. He also explored opportunities in the fields of energy, agriculture, and digitalization in Ghana. Scholz expressed his support for the African Union and its bid to join the G20. He also met with students at Ashesi University and praised their talent and innovation. Scholz said Africa is growing in both strategic and economic significance for Germany.
The Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed 26 presidential candidates for the upcoming election on December 20, according to the electoral commission. The candidates include old rivals, newcomers, and previously disqualified contenders who will challenge President Felix Tshisekedi for a second term. Tshisekedi faces a divided opposition, which could benefit his re-election bid. Some of the prominent candidates are former prime minister Martin Fayulu, former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, and former governor Moise Katumbi. The election is expected to be tense and competitive as Congo struggles with political instability, armed conflicts, and an economic crisis.
Former Guinean military leader Moussa Dadis Camara was kidnapped by armed men from a prison in Conakry on Saturday, his lawyer said, denying that he had escaped willingly. He was later returned to the prison, but the circumstances of his return were unclear. Camara is on trial for his alleged role in a 2009 massacre and rape of pro-democracy protesters. The incident has raised security concerns in the country, which has been under another military junta since a 2021 coup.
King Charles III embarked on a four-day trip to Kenya, his first Commonwealth state visit as king, to mark 60 years of its independence from Britain. He paid tribute to the Kenyan and African veterans of the World Wars and addressed the legacy of colonial violence. The trip has historical significance as his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, ascended to the throne while in Kenya in 1952. The king also met with environmental activists and visited the national park.
Rwanda on Thursday announced that it will allow visa-free travel for all Africans, joining three other African countries that have done so. The move is part of a broader effort to promote free movement and trade within the continent, as well as to attract more tourists from Africa. Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, said Africa has the potential to become a unified tourism destination. The African Union has also launched an African passport and a continental free trade area, but their implementation has been slow.
In a nail-biting final, South Africa beat New Zealand 12-11 to win their fourth Rugby World Cup title in Paris on Saturday. The Springboks overcame a red card to Sam Cane and a late penalty miss by Jordie Barrett to edge out the All Blacks by one point for the third time in a row. The game was marred by rain and errors, but South Africa showed resilience and discipline to defend their crown. They are now the most decorated team in the history of the tournament.