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Protesters hit Guinea days after ECOWAS chair suggests junta’s early transition

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Protesters have hit the streets of Guinea days after the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) Umaro Sissoco Embalo hinted that the bloc persuaded the junta to shorten its timeline for a return to democracy.

The ECOWAS chief while speaking during Macron’s visit to his country said.

“I was in Conakry with the President of the Commission (of ECOWAS) to make the military junta understand the decision of the summit of heads of state that the transition cannot exceed 24 months. They (the members of the junta) had proposed 36 months, but we succeeded in convincing them, and we did the same thing with Burkina Faso.”

Protests against Guinea’s junta and its handling of plans to return to democracy brought the capital to a standstill Thursday, with organizers claiming that one person was killed.

In contrast, Guinean minister and spokesman for the transitional government, Ousmane Gaoual Diallo, said “neither the government nor the presidency confirm this information on the duration of the transition in Guinea.”

The West African region has been rocked by two coups in Mali, one in Guinea and one in Burkina Faso since August 2020. The lifting of the sanctions is some sort of relief for the countries who cannot afford more economic restrains than the troubling cases of insurgency already caused them.

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Inflation rate rise to all time high at 9.6% in Algeria in three years

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For the first time in three years, the inflation rate in Algeria has risen to an all time high of 9.6 per cent at the end of August, in what economists in the North African country say is as a result of rise in the prices of basic commodities globally and its impact on local markets.

The Deputy Director-General of the Algerian National Office of Statistics, Hamid Zaydouni, who disclosed this during a hearing at the Finance Committee of the People’s National Assembly on Thursday, said Algerian market recorded an inflation rate of 7.23 per cent during 2021, the highest in nearly three years.

“Algeria is witnessing an unprecedented rise in the prices of various products, some of which have increased by more than 100 per cent, amid warnings by consumer protection associations that the rise would weaken people’s purchasing power,” Zaydouni said.

“Over the past three years, the inflation rate in Algeria ranged between 3.5 and 7.5 per cent.

“The high prices have affected subsidised goods such as cooking oils, semolina and farina,” he added.

Zaydouni added that from 2021, the inflation rate of 7.2% was calculated but the average inflation rate has been 8.8% per year since then.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2019, most African countries have been on the threshold of rising inflation as global economy had experienced enormous pressure.

The war between Russia and Ukraine which broke out in February has also contributed to the economic crisis in the continent with inflation growing at an alarming rate, often forcing countries to raise interest rates, hoping to slow down the inflation which has continued to rise to all time high.

According to statista.com, the “overall inflation rate in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022 is expected to grow today whopping 12.2 percent, with the surge following a global tendency, as consumer prices soar all over the world, impacting advanced as well as emerging and developing economies.”

As at August, Sudan had the highest inflation in Africa as of 2022 with the rate reaching 245 percent.

Sudan is closely followed by Zimbabwe with the second-highest inflation on the African continent, averaging 90 percent.

Countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, amongst others have had to raise their interest rates at some point due to inflation.

 

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Egyptian police officers jailed six years for torturing man to death

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Two Egyptian policemen who tortured a civilian to death in their custody have been sentenced to six years in prison by a court on Thursday.

The convicts were found guilty of murdering Mahmoud Khamis Gaber while he was in police custody, by a Minya Criminal Court which also heard that the torture included electric shocks and sexual abuse on the victim in 2019.

The victim’s lawyer told the court that Gaber was arrested after public prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for him following accusations that he possessed a firearm and ammunition without a licence.

The court was told that he was tortured to death in an effort to get him to confess to the possession of an unlicensed weapon.

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