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Planning a trip to the Horn of Africa? Ethiopia scraps visas for all Africans

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Is Ethiopia on your next travel plan? If yes, here’s some good news. You don’t have apply for a visa ahead of your travel. The country has now made it possible to procure same on arrival.

Though the African Union’s promise of easy travel for Africans throughout the continent is still some way off, Ethiopia is taking a step towards helping that become a reality.

Speaking at the opening of parliament and outlining the government’s legislative programme, President Mulatu Teshome said that African nationals would be able to get visas on arrival in the country rather than applying for them in advance.

Under an AU plan African nations were supposed to scrap visa requirements for all African citizens by 2018.

Read also: Ghana’s first photo festival opens in Accra

But to date, the Seychelles is the only nation where visa-free travel is open to all Africans – as well as to citizens of every nation – as it always has been.

A recent AU report found that Africans can travel without a visa to just 22% of other African countries.

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Court jails Malian prof for criticizing military junta in new book

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A court sitting in Bamako, Mali, has sentenced a Professor of Economics, Etienne Fakaba Sissoko, to two years in prison, with one year suspended, for criticizing the military junta in a newly published book.

Sissoko’s lawyer, Ibrahim Marhouf Sacko, who announced the verdict of the court in a statement, however, said the legal team plans to appeal the conviction of the renowned economist.

“We are not surprised, even if we said we had faith in the justice system,” Sacko said in a video released on social media

Sissoko, a professor at the University of Bamako, was arraigned on charges of “harming the state’s reputation, defamation, propaganda, agitation and harassment, and spreading misinformation for his 2023 book on government communication during Mali’s transition.”

The “transition” refers to the period the army leaders said they needed to stabilize the country before returning power to civilian rule. They have already missed their first March 2024 deadline and no new date has been set.

Local media reports that the book details the government’s “aggressive” use of “propaganda, agitation, manipulation and even lies” to win over public opinion.

An online review of the book notes that it critically examines the military government’s use of what it terms propaganda, manipulation and even lies to influence public opinion, particularly during the promised transition period leading back to civilian rule.

“But the junta missed their initial deadline of March 2024 for a return to democracy, with no new date set,” the online review said, with Sissoko arguing that his work contained factual evidence and expert analysis.

This is not however, not Sissoko’s first run-in with the authorities. In 2022, the Professor, formerly an advisor to the ousted president, spent months in jail for criticizing the government’s stance on Christmas celebrations and questioning the validity of his academic credentials.

But Sissoko’s lawyer suggests the real trigger for his recent imprisonment was his public commentary on the economic impact of sanctions imposed on Mali by neighbouring West African nations.

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One-year-old Ghanaian breaks GWR as world’s youngest artist

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A one-year-old Ghanaian, Ace Liam, has broken a Guinness World Record as the youngest male artist.

The infant’s groundbreaking achievement was which was announced by the GWR board at a press conference, revealed that his “journey to the record books began with an ambitious attempt to mimic his mother’s daily activities in her art studio.”

A statement from the GWR said the feat of the child has further showcased the potential young children possess when given the opportunity to explore their abilities.

Guinness World Records recognized Ace Liam following his exhibition in Accra from January 18 to 20, 2024, breaking the 31-year-old record held by Dante Lamb, who achieved the milestone at age three in 2003.

His mother, Chantelle Eghan, also shared her experience with her son, stating:

“He paints when he sees me painting. If I have my setup, he’ll pull his chair and easily come and sit beside me.”

She also described how, even as a six-month-old, Ace began blending and spreading paint on a canvas, and by 11 months, he was intuitively using a paintbrush.

Ghanaian artist, Amarkine Amateifio, while reacting to Ace’s achievement, called on parents across Ghana and Africa to nurture their children’s talents from a young age, highlighting the impact this can have on their future success.

“All children are like that. They come into the world as artists, scientists, and engineers. It is we, the adults, who stop them from maintaining this,” Amateifio said.

“I’ll give all the credit to the home environment and particularly to his mother, Kukua, who created the enabling environment for the gifts this child has brought into this world to flourish.

“At a very early age, all children show their natural inclinations. Children come here to contribute and make the world a better place.

“This Guinness World Record for Liam should act as an inspiration for parents to pay more attention to their children, provide all the resources, and give the child all the necessary tools so that their gift will flourish,” the renowned artist added.

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