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African press review 02 October 2014

Nobel Peace Prize-winners won't be travelling to SA. France's budget comes under scrutiny. Kenya and the EU fail to reach a trade deal. Uhuru's aides change their line on him going to The Hague. Egyptian political prisoners go on hungers strike.


According to the Zimbabwe Herald, the World Summit of Nobel Peace laureates, due to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, later this month, has been cancelled.

Six of the peace-prize winners have already withdrawn from the event in protest at the South African refusal to grant a visa to Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Officials in Cape Town were last night insisting that preparations for the meeting were going ahead as planned but the Herald quotes security sources in the South African city as saying the summit will not now take place. The organisers are to make a statement later today.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

France gets a mention in South African financial paper BusinessDay under the headline "Paris warns crisis to linger with slow growth, high deficits."

The report says the crisis-hit country admitted it would suffer from slow growth and high budget deficits for the next three years at least, when it unveiled a gloomy annual budget yesterday.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin said France’s budget deficit would stay above the European Union’s maximum limit until 2017. He blamed a sluggish eurozone economy and unusually low inflation.

The deficit, which EU rules state must be below 3.0 per cent of national economic output, will reach this target only in 2017, Sapin said. France had promised Brussels it would get below the official limit next year.

The European Commission is scheduled to deliver its judgement on France’s economic woes next month.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

Former French finance minister Pierre Moscovici, now European economic affairs commissioner, will decide on the consequences for France of breaking the rules.

The front page of the Nairobi-based Standard reports that thousands of Kenyan jobs are at risk after the country failed to complete a trade deal with the European Union.

The Wednesday deadline for signing a new Economic Partnership Agreement giving preferential export benefits to Kenyan exporters to the EU markets passed without a deal being agreed between the two sides.

As a result, says the Standard, Kenyan products which have been enjoying duty-free export to the EU will now have to pay taxes ranging from four to 30 per cent. The Kenya Flower Council says local horticulture stands to lose more than Sh1 billion monthly, since about 90 per cent of total exports go to the EU.

Kenya made 25 billion euros from trade with the European Union last year.

Even if negotiations are concluded this week, it will take at least six months for Kenya to be added to the list of beneficiary countries of the new market access regulations.

Over at the Daily Nation, the main story says that Kenya is the second most prepared country in Africa for the digital commercial revolution, according to the Digital Revolution Index.

The US-based survey prepared in collaboration with MasterCard and DataCash places Kenya second after Egypt.

Kenya, according to the survey, has the infrastructure and policies in place to meet the challenges posed by the future of digital business.

The Daily Nation also reports that many of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s closest allies want him to travel to The Hague next week for the status conference in his case before the International Criminal Court. The Kenyan president is accused of complicity in organising the violence which followed the elections in 2007.

This represents, says the Nation, a dramatic change of attitude from a few weeks ago, when many were noisily advising the Kenyan leader not to go to The Hague.

Many Kenyatta supporters believe that the case against the president is on the verge of collapse and that cooperation with the court is the best policy.

If Uhuru Kenyatta does appear before the International Criminal Court on Monday as scheduled, he will become the first sitting head of state to appear before the judges.

In Cairo the Egypt Independent reports that the Freedom for the Brave Movement, which campaigns for the release of those imprisoned on politically motivated charges, says there now are 150 people on hunger strike, including 136 detainees.

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