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African press review 16 March 2018

The authorities in Rwanda say their open door policy on refugees and immigrants remains unchanged. The legal bill for South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma is anything between one million and four-and-a-half million euros. A bill before the Egyptian parliament would oblige men to tell their wives they intend to re-marry.


Rwanda has reiterated its readiness to receive African migrants from Israel and Libya.

This is the top story in regional paper the East African.

The Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, affirmed that Kigali would accept the refugees and asylum seekers as long as the process of relocating them was in line with international laws.

She said Rwanda’s 'open-door policy' on refugees, migrants and asylum seekers remained as was. This as Kigali continues to deny a controversial deal with Israel to have refugees relocated from Tel Aviv.

Mosques told to turn down the volume

Also in the East African, news that mosques in parts of the Rwandan capital have been banned from using loudspeakers for the call to prayer - just weeks after the government closed hundreds of Christian churches in Kigali.

The new regulations are intended to curb noise pollution, and have been met with little resistance by local imams.

Mixed news for South African economy

The ascension of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency has substantially bolstered investor sentiment towards South Africa, but disagreement within the ruling ANC could hamper policy change and deter investors, according to BMI Research, a sister company of the Fitch ratings agency.

The story is reported by BusinessDay.

BMI warned that infighting within the governing party would hamper some of the most crucial structural changes, including measures to address long-term fiscal management and transparency of state-owned enterprises.

In a report released yesterday, BMI said political transitions had opened up opportunities for crucial macroeconomic reform in South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe.

The cost of keeping Jacob Zuma out of court

Staying with South Africa, former president Jacob Zuma spent the rand equivalent of more than one million euros fighting his corruption prosecution   with answers to parliamentary questions revealing that the total amount spent on Zuma’s legal campaign was 2.2 million euros.

President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed in Parliament on Wednesday that Zuma had spent the million euros battling a case brought by the opposition Democratic Alliance that the decision not to prosecute Zuma was irrational and should be set aside.

Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema told Parliament that his party estimates that legal fees spent defending Zuma amounted to four-and-a-half million euros   a figure Ramaphosa said he was not aware of.

Mugabe family mansion targeted by thieves

A court in Zimbabwe has jailed three men for 18 months after they were convicted of robbery with violence at a construction site belonging to the daughter of former president Robert Mugabe.

The three were found guilty of stealing building materials worth five thousand euros and cash, after they raided the under-construction mansion owned by Ms Bona Chikore.

The robbery at the construction site took place on December 31, 2017, one month after Mugabe was toppled by the military.

Rate cuts expected in both Nigeria and Kenya

Nigeria and Kenya are expected to follow Ghana’s lead and cut interest rates in the third quarter of this year.

A Reuters poll of 11 analysts from Africa’s major central banks, taken over the past four days, found the majority saying Nigeria and Kenya’s benchmark rates will remain at 14.0 and 10.0 percent respectively next week.

Eight of the 12 members still need to be appointed to Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee - so there is unlikely to be a meeting next week - while Kenya remains hamstrung by a bill limiting commercial lending rates to 4 percentage points above its official rate.

Inflation in both Nigeria and Kenya slowed recently, making both economies ripe for easier fiscal policy.

Egyptian marriage bill clashes with Islamic law

And, in the Egypt Independent, under the headline "Draft law proposes jailing husbands who remarry without telling first wife," we read that a six-month jail term is to be recommended under legislation which has stirred debate between Islamic scholars and women’s rights advocates.

Some religious authorities view this law as being in direct conflict with the essence of marriage in Islam.

Asharaf Tammam, Moderator of the National Council of Egyptian Families, described the draft law as a conspiracy from the west to destroy Egyptian families.

Sharia law allows every man to have several wives.

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