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Daily News on the Issues Affecting Africa for July 23th

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Continue reading for a summary of recent news stories relating to some of the most pressing issues on the continent. We draw on a wide range of respected news sources, both from Africa itself and around the world. The themes of today's In the News post are female genital cutting, demographic growth in Africa, banks in Africa, laws in Nigeria, and clashes in Egypt.

Female genital mutilation: 30 million girls 'at risk'
More than 30 million girls are at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) over the next decade, a study by Unicef has found. It said more than 125 million girls and women alive today had undergone a procedure now opposed by the majority in countries where it was practised. Ritual cutting of girls' genitals is practised by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities in the belief it protects a woman's virginity. The UN Children Fund survey, described as the most comprehensive to date on the issue, found that support for FGM was declining amongst both men and women. FGM "is a violation of a girl's rights to health, well-being and self-determination," said Unicef deputy executive director Geeta Rao Gupta. It is clear that when talking about FGM from this report that legislation alone is not enough.
To read more please visit the BBC site here

The amazing, surprising, Africa-driven demographic future of the Earth, in 9 charts
The United Nations Population Division, which tracks demographic data from around the world, has dramatically revised its projections for what will happen in the next 90 years. The new statistics, based on in-depth survey data from sub-Saharan Africa, tell the story of a world poised to change drastically over the next several decades. Most rich countries will shrink and age (with a couple of important exceptions), poorer countries will expand rapidly and, maybe most significant of all, Africa will see a population explosion nearly unprecedented in human history. If these numbers turn out right, they are just projections and could change under unknown circumstances hence, the world of 2100 will look very different than the world of today, with implications for everyone.
To read more please visit the Washington Post site here

The Zuma spy tapes that just won't go away
The DA will try to force a court order on the NPA to turn in records, including the spy tapes, that led to charges against Jacob Zuma being dropped. On Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance will bring its umpteenth court application to a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in an attempt to force the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to comply with a court order, which states that it must hand over the reduced court record that eventually led to the dropping of fraud and corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma. The record is said to include the spy tapes, which are recordings of intercepted phone conversations between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and then boss of the now extinguished Scorpions, Leonard McCarthy. The tapes formed the basis of then acting NPA head Mokatedi Mpshe's decision to drop corruption and fraud charges against Zuma in 2009.
To read more please visit the mail and Guardian site here

West African banks to service East Africa oil finds
West Africa's insurance companies and commercial banks are setting up subsidiaries in East Africa to take advantage of the oil and gas financing skills gap following recent discoveries in the region. Kenya and Uganda are estimated to have recoverable oil reserves of 2.5-billion barrels, but prospectors and geologists believe the amount will increase as the drilling activities continue, especially in the East Africa Rift Valley basin. Tanzania has recoverable natural gas reserves of 33-trillion cubic feet, according to data released by its energy and minerals ministry. East Africa's insurance are struggling to cope financially, and lack skills to benefit from the sector.
To read more please visit the Business Day site here

Fury As Nigeria Senate Okays Child Marriage Bill
Our Senate is in the caves. We have a duty to save it, from itself, and for Nigerians. How can the Senate in the 21st century be proposing that Nigerian girls can be married at an indeterminate age? The Senate is shamelessly broadcasting its determination to insert the profane provision into the Constitution.
Those limiting impacts of the Senate's decision that girls are ready for marriage at any age they are married to abuse of the girl child massively miss the point about its implications for the future of our society. What would a society be where children are meant to raise their own children? How can a girl by law attain womanhood once someone marries her? Is the Senate banning childhood for girls?
To read more please visit the AllAfrica Site here

Mali: Ce Qui Coince Encore dans L'application de L'accord de Ouagadougou
Le comité de suivi et d'évaluation de l'accord  préliminaire de Ouagadougou, signé le 18 juin dernier entre les rebelles  touaregs et le gouvernement malien, a tenu sa première réunion à Bamako, le 22  juillet. Les avancées sont notables, mais certains points coincent toujours,  comme la libération par Bamako de certains prisonniers. Le comité de suivi et d'évaluation de l'accord de Ouagadougou a tenu sa première réunion à Bamako,  lundi 22 juillet. Objectif : passer en revue les acquis mais aussi relever  les points de divergence dans l'application du document signé le 18 juin  dernier.
To read more please visit the Jeune Afrique site here

Africa a 'core focus area for growth' for Absa, Barclays
Regulators have approved Absa Group's R18.3bn acquisition of Barclays' African business to create the continent's largest retail bank by branch networks and customers.  In terms of the deal, which will come into effect on July 31, Barclays will increase its 55.5% stake in Absa to 62.3% through the issue of 129.5-million ordinary shares by Absa. Maria Ramos, Absa group CEO and Barclays Africa CEO, said Africa was a "core focus area for growth". She added: "Anthony Jenkins, Barclays global CEO, made it clear earlier this year that Africa for Barclays is a key area of growth." Maria Ramos also said that, the bank was in a strong position to consolidate the business, to grow in key areas such as retail banking, corporate and investment banking and the card business.
To read more please visit the Business Day site here

World Bank: Africa held back by land ownership confusion
Africa's economic growth is being held back by confusion over who owns vast swathes of agricultural land, according to a World Bank report. The continent is home to half of the world's usable uncultivated land, yet has the highest poverty rate. But the Bank said farmers' inability to prove ownership, legal disputes and land grabs had held back cultivation. Land governance needs to be improved if Africa is to fully exploit its resources and create jobs, it said. Writing in the report, Securing Africa's Land for Shared Prosperity,  Makhtar Diop, said: "Despite abundant land and mineral wealth, Africa remains poor.
To read more please visit the BBC site here

Egyptian death toll rises amid renewed clashes over Mursi
Six people were killed in Cairo on Tuesday in violence between supporters and opponents of deposed President Mohamed Mursi, state-run media reported. The violence broke out before dawn near a Brotherhood protest at Cairo University, where Mursi supporters have been camped out since the army removed the Islamist politician from power on July 3 following protests against his rule. The Brotherhood described it as an attack on peaceful protesters. Police sources said hundreds of Mursi supporters clashed with local residents, street vendors and others near the sit-in. They said gunshots were fired and stones were thrown. The Al-Ahram newspaper quoted a health ministry official as saying six people had been killed and 33 people had been injured. It brings to nine the number of people killed in political violence in the last two days.
To read more please visit The Business Day site here

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Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more