Culture & Society

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    This report produced by GSMA, a group of 750 operators with nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, offers a wealth of information on mobile operator data, analysis and forecasts about West Africa. The number of unique subscribers in the region will reach 248 million (54%) by 2025. 3G will overtake 2G in 2019 to become the leading mobile technology in West Africa. Smartphone connections accounted for 38% of total connections in 2018; this number will rise to nearly 70% by 2025. Read on
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    The Burkina Faso Ministry of Commerce has decided to protect the “Faso dan fani”, the famous African “pagne” traditionally woven by Burkinabé women. The measure aims to combat counterfeiting and unfair competition and to support local production by consolidating some 30 000 jobs in the cotton sector. It will also protect the cultural identity of the fabric. Faso dan fani means “woven loincloth of the homeland.” Read on
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    Switzerland is partnering with the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) to support the implementation of a regional financial inclusion strategy in the UEMOA area. The two partners aim to develop regional financial education programmes and targeted information campaigns, in particular for women, youth and rural populations. In particular, they plan to integrate financial education modules into school and university programmes. Read on
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    Some 150 West African bishops, archbishops and cardinals currently gathered for a week at the 3rd General Assembly of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso’s President Christian Roch Kaboré spoke at the opening ceremony on 13 May and called upon all citizens to stay united regardless of religion or ethnicity. “Terrorists have reorganised their operation methods, seeking first to create inter-communal conflict, and now an inter-religious conflict. Christians have been killed for practicing their religion by people who have no morals or ethics,” deplored the President Kaboré. Read on
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    Voter turnout is a key indicator of the vitality of a democracy. It helps measure the trust that citizens place in their political institutions and politicians, and shows how citizens participate in the governance of their country. While the global average voter turnout has decreased significantly since the 1990s, registered voter participation in Africa’s still-fragile democracies has varied widely between countries and over time. Nigeria is the most striking example. Read on
  • FESPACO turns 50

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    Africa’s largest film festival, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), celebrated its 50th anniversary from 24 February-2 March. The 26th edition of the festival brought together nearly 100 000 film-lovers and screened 165 films from 16 African countries. The government deployed about 2 000 security forces to maximize security surveillance and protect the festival. Joël Karekezi, a Rwandan filmmaker, won the prestigious Golden Stallion of Yennenga for his “Mercy of the Jungle,” a film that denounces the absurdity of war. Read on
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    2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves in Jamestown, Virginia, in what would become the USA. According to estimates, some 12 million Africans were taken to the Americas as a part of the slave trade between 1619 and 1860. At the beginning of 2019, Ghana celebrated the Full Circle Festival, which kicked off the “Year of Return” celebrations initiated by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo in a bid to become a destination for memorial tourism in West Africa. Read on
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    Polygamy has declined in the last decade but remains common in West Africa. For example, 33% of women in Nigeria reported that their husbands have more than one wife (Demographic and Health Survey, 2013). Six West African countries have civil codes that formally prohibit polygamy (Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria) but legal restrictions are rarely enforced. Read on
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    The number of women seeking divorces is increasing overall in West Africa. “Frustrated by their husbands’ inability to earn a living, and in a society where basic views on relationships have changed, women are asserting more control over their marriages,” explains Dionne Searcey, West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times. Her article offers a series of testimonies from women’s divorce cases. While divorce does not always have a positive outcome, it is a sign that women know their rights and are demanding respect and happiness in their marriages. Read on
  • Opinion: 
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    In this interview by Défis humanitaires, Jean-Marc Châtaigner, ambassador and France’s special envoy for the Sahel, takes stock of the security situation in the Sahel and analyses the key challenges facing the region. This interview provides a detailed explanation of the French government’s 3D concept - diplomacy, defense and development - which Châtaigner makes 4D by adding “droit” or law and advocating for a rights-based approach. Read on

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