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African Press Review 22 February 2018


Boko Haram shocks Nigeria with another daring abduction of school girls while south African markets welcome Ramaphosa's bold budget of tax hikes.

We begin in Nigeria, a country praying for the lives of more than one hundred girls abducted from a Yobe state school on Wednesday by suspected Boko Haram Islamist insurgents.

Daily Post leads with still breaking news from the Yobe State governor's office that the Nigerian Military rescued some of the girls from bushes in a border village between Yobe and Borno States.

Punch says it is able to report that 48 of the girls rescued had been identified adding that 46 were still missing.  The paper which quotes the Yobe State Commissioner for Education as its source claims that information about the girls’ fate is scanty as the remote town of Dapchi where the attack happened is 100 kilometers away from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital. 

President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched three ministers to Dapchi to coordinate the rescue operations according to the Sun.

Meanwhile the Nigerian Tribune says it managed to reach a resident, of Dapchi who claims that the attackers stormed the village in six Hilux vans through the eastern part of the town, shooting sporadically into the air, carting away food items from looted shops as they retreated.

In South Africa, the papers come back on Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba inaugural budget speech in parliament on Wednesday.

Mail and Guardian reports that the budget is designed to fund the gaping hole of R48-billion, or 3.3 billion euros compounded by former president Jacob Zuma’s announcement of fee-free higher education for disadvantaged students.

The newspaper explains that while the budget was met with strong approval by the markets and business it was panned by trade unions and civil society, which expect it to hit poor people as higher VAT and a raised fuel levy of 52c/litre would eat into incomes.

According to BusinessDay the government’s decision's to increase the Value Added Tax from 14% to 15% would generate some R22-billion for the economy. It buys Gigaba's assertion that it required South Africans to make difficult but necessary trade-offs, which are important to ensure that this budget is a platform for renewal, inclusive growth and job creation.

South Africa's Times Live claims that while the new Finance Minister will have a lot of work on his plate, he will need to treat his addiction to the pocket game Candy Crush. The paper's comments came after Malusi Gigaba joked during his address in Parliament about recent tweets that caught him playing the sweetly addictive game.

According to the Times, Gigaba is certainly is not alone in needing rehab for the Candy Crush game application, which has been downloaded more than 2.73 billion times since it first launched in 2012. 

In Liberia, the papers are following President George Weah's high profile working visit to France where he met with officials of MEDEF, the 750,000-member network of French businesses.

The Daily Observer reports that in Paris, Weah has been exploring opportunities for French investments in education and healthcare, after his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace on Tuesday.

The Democrat says that President Weah has set education as one of the top priorities of his mandate underlining that up 60 percent of Liberia’s 4.7 million people are young people. According to the publication Weah has been very blunt throughout his stay in France disclosing that he inherited a broke nation, which has suffered through civil wars and an Ebola crisis.

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