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More than twenty Muslim worshippers killed in mosque attack in Amhara, Ethiopia

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The Islamic Affairs Council of Amhara, a region in Ethiopia says more than twenty Muslim worshippers were killed in clashes with unidentified armed men.

The attack which happened in Gondar is described as a “massacre” by heavily armed “extremist Christians,” by the Islamist group.

Seid Muhammed, president of the Amhara Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, told a journalist on Wednesday that “the incident happened yesterday when Muslims were on their way to bury an individual.”

Seid said the armed men threw an explosive device at the Muslim crowd in the town of Gondar, killing three people and wounding five. The other victims died in the ensuing clashes.

“There were lootings of shops and there were attempts to set fire to three mosques. One mosque suffered minor damage where its mat was set on fire,” he said.

Forces under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — the Ethiopian military, ethnic militias, and troops from neighboring Eritrea are fighting to oust the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or T.P.L.F., from its stronghold in the northern region of Tigray.

The conflict in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country, has left thousands dead, forced more than two million people from their homes and pushed parts of the country into famine.

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Egypt’s non-oil sector improved in June— Report 

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Months after an infusion of foreign cash from the UAE and an expanded arrangement with the IMF, Egypt’s non-oil private sector showed more signs of improvement in June, according to a poll released on Thursday.

Egypt’s S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index increased from 49.6 in May to 49.9 in June, an improvement attributed to reducing price pressures and improved demand forecasts. It demonstrates that the country was approaching recovery while staying below the 50.0 level that separates growth from contraction for 43 straight months.

“Egyptian non-oil companies saw an increase in sales volumes in June for the first time since August 2021,” S&P Global said.

The survey follows a reshuffled cabinet took office with the mandate to reduce inflation and increase investment.

The sub-index for new orders recorded 50.2 points, the highest level since August 2021. The most encouraging signals came from the industrial and services sectors, which the companies attributed to a rebound in market conditions. On the other hand, construction activity decreased.

June saw a mostly stable job market as some businesses announced increases in hiring to keep up with demand, while others did not replace laid-off or retired employees.

According to S&P analyst David Owen, companies seem to be “heading on the road to recovery”.

“If we see further rises in sales and purchases in the second half of this year, firms should have the motivation and need to expand their output,” Owen said.

“While June saw the fastest rise in input prices for three months, firms generally commented that this was due to a high degree of volatility in market prices rather than an accelerating inflation trend,” S&P Global said.

The study did note that the future output sub-index reached its lowest point in the series’ history, with the majority of businesses expressing uncertainty about their potential to grow in light of the current economic unrest.

“Some hoped for a pick-up in demand. Positive expectations were seen in three out of the four monitored sectors, with construction the outlier,” S&P Global said.

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Kenya’s economic growth rises to 5.6% in 2023

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With strong output in the agriculture sector, Kenya’s GDP expanded by 5.6% in 2023 compared to a revised 4.9% in the previous year, according to a Monday statement from the head of the statistics office.

The agricultural sector, which accounts for almost a fifth of the country’s yearly GDP, is the main driver of the East African economy. The industry recovered from two years of contractions thanks to heavy rains following years of drought.

“Last year it shot to 7% (growth),” the director general of the statistics office, Macdonald Obudho, stated at a press conference to introduce the report on economic growth for the period.

Another important industry, tourism, saw the increase as well, according to Obudho, with 2.087 million tourists arriving last year, above the pre-pandemic norm of 2.035 million.

A combination of factors including drought, rising commodity prices, and tight global financial conditions caused real GDP growth to drop from 7.5% in 2021 to 5.5% in 2022. Services drove growth on the supply side while household consumption drove growth on the demand side. Food and energy inflation caused inflation to increase from 6.1% in 2021 to 7.6% in 2022.

According to the African Development Bank, Kenya’s GDP is projected to grow 5.6% in 2023 and 6.0% in 2024, driven by services and household consumption. Inflation is projected to rise to 8.6% in 2023 and 5.9% in 2024, driven by food and energy inflation. Monetary policy is expected to remain tight.

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