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Press review

African press review 23 July 2016

UN report sparks African foreign debt crisis warnings - as Nigeria sets to extend its lead over South Africa as sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy. Nigerian court ruling lifts ban on girls wearing the headscarf in government schools in Lagos state. And man jailed for 20 years after Kenya’s largest ivory trafficking case.  


The South African Business Day reports that urgent action is needed to avert an African foreign debt crisis. At nearly one-third of gross national income, it says South Africa's external debt is higher than the average for all African countries and exceeds the value of the country’s exports.

The story is based on findings by a report on trade and economic development in Africa. The UN report released yesterday also says the external debt of "several African countries" has rapidly risen in recent years, causing concern among policy makers, analysts and financial institutions.

This follows 20 years of debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries by multilateral institutions.

The newspaper also reports that Nigeria is set to extend its lead over South Africa as sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy, doubling South Africa's gross domestic product within 10 years. According to BMI financial research, Nigeria overtook South Africa as sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy in 2012.

Lagos schoolgirls free to wear hijab

In Nigeria, The Vanguard reports of a court ruling which will lift the ban on girls wearing the headscarf in government schools in Lagos state.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment of a lower court which banned students in public schools from wearing the hijab Muslims headscarf with their school uniforms.

The judges said the ban violated the religious rights of Muslim girls, as the hijab is part of Islamic law and an act of worship. They found that the lower court erred in law when they held that ban of hijab should be state policy.

The Lagos government has not yet said whether it intends to challenge the Supreme Court ruling.

Kenya jails ivory trafficking 'kingpin' for 20 years

The Kenya Star reports on the 20 year conviction of ivory trafficker Feisal Mohammed.

In Kenya’s largest ivory trafficking case, Feisal Mohammed was found possessing and dealing in ivory worth $430,000 - the equivalent of 44 million Kenyan Shillings.

The newspaper says the Kenya Wildlife Service has lauded the sentence handed down by a Mombasa court on Friday.

Mohammed was also fined the equivalent of $196,000 dollars on top of 20 years imprisonment.

The country's wildlife service said in a statement that the landmark ruling will act as a deterrent to others who still engage in the illegal trade.

The guilty verdict it said "was a strong message to all networks of poaching gangs, ivory smugglers, financiers, middlemen and shippers" that Kenya will not tolerate its elephant population being decimated - or its territory used as an avenue for traffickers.

The ruling comes ahead of the 17th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg in September. The meetup in September focuses on tackling the world's biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.

Bigwigs might pay for unfounded legal action

And the Zambian Mail & Guardian declares boldly on its front page: "Pointless legal action? Then you pay, says the tax ombud" ... in which case it adds - President Jacob Zuma and South African Broadcasting Corporation chief Hlaudi Motsoeneng could be next ...

This follows news that public servants and leaders at state owned organisations who pursue legal cases that have no merit or against sound legal advice could pay the legal costs from their own pockets.

At least that's the advice from tax ombudsman and former Judge Bernard Ngoepe who has raised concerns about the way “tax is being misused in the country".

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