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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:31 pm 
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EU prolongs sanctions against Burundi officials
23 October 2017

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union has extended for a year travel bans and asset freezes against four top officials in Burundi for their role in fomenting unrest in the central African country.

EU headquarters said Monday that the bloc "remains profoundly concerned" by developments in Burundi, and that the sanctions were linked to "acts of violence, repression or incitement to violence and acts which constitute serious human rights violations." The four are senior police, intelligence and presidency officials, as well as a general linked to a 2015 coup attempt.

Burundi has been plagued by political violence since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a disputed third term. Nkurunziza won re-election despite widespread protests and Burundi has remained volatile.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:24 pm 
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Burundi takes steps to extend president's rule as crisis deepens
28 October 2017

Burundi's cabinet backed a constitutional change that would allow its president to stay in office until 2034, widening a political rift that has driven the country progressively deeper into crisis.

Under existing laws, Burundian presidents are limited to two five-year terms. Unrest that has gripped Burundi since April 2015, when Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would stand for a third, has killed hundreds, left the economy moribund and forced about 400,000 people to seek safety in neighbouring countries.

UN rights investigators and independent activists have accused government forces of widespread violations including forced disappearances, and of orchestrating a campaign of terror. A senior government official told Reuters on Friday that the cabinet adopted the draft legislation seeking to amend the constitution on Tuesday.

Nkurunziza, who has been in office since 2005, won re-election in July 2015 in a ballot that critics said violated the constitution and the terms of an agreement that ended a previous rebellion. Nkurunziza's backers said the country's constitutional court had cleared him to run again, but some opponents took up arms against his rule and insecurity has plagued the country since.

Other African leaders have in the recent past also tinkered with or defied their constitutions to extend their rule, including Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Democratic Republic of Congo's Joseph Kabila.

Proposed amendments under the Burundian bill seek to abolish the two-term limit and lengthen presidential terms to seven years. Incumbents would be able to serve two consecutive terms of seven years each and also be eligible to seek re-election after an interregnum. If the amendment was passed by parliament, "the current head of state can rule until 2034," the source said. A second official told Reuters the government would hold a referendum on the draft legislation next year, but did not say which month.

Opposition officials have criticised the legislation which they say was initiated in secrecy and designed to entrench Nkurunziza in power. "No one knew what was being done. It was done in total secrecy...we will always oppose it," deputy president of the opposition FRODEBU party, Leonce Ngendakumana, told Reuters. "The constitution should not be revised in a tense social climate."

Source: Reuters

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:55 pm 
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Son of Equatorial Guinea leader sentenced for embezzlement
By SAMUEL PETREQUIN
27 October 2017

PARIS (AP) -- A French court on Friday handed the son of Equatorial Guinea's president a suspended sentence of three years in prison for embezzling millions in public money, in the first of several planned trials in France of foreign figures allegedly thriving on ill-gotten gains.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, his country's second vice president, was accused of spending millions of dollars allegedly linked to corruption, embezzlement and extortion in his oil-rich African nation to feed his opulent lifestyle of fast cars, designer clothes, works of art and high-end real estate. The court also handed him a suspended fine of 30 million euros ($35 million), and ordered that all goods seized during the investigation should remain confiscated.

Obiang, who did not attend the trial, denied the charges and his lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, accused France of meddling in Equatorial Guinea's domestic affairs. "I've rarely seen such justification for a decision that defies French and international laws," Marsigny said. "It goes as far as denying our client's role as vice-president for international affairs. It is a political decision. Of course, we will look into the details of it and consider all possible appeals."

Obiang's trial came after two non-governmental organizations targeting corruption and an association of Congolese citizens living abroad filed a lawsuit in France nearly 10 years ago against leaders in nearly a half-dozen African countries, including the late Gabon president Omar Bongo, alleging that they used state funds during or after their tenures to buy properties and luxury goods in France.

Obiang, 48, used millions of dollars in public money to stay in Parisian palaces and later purchased a mansion on one of the capital's most sought-after avenues. The defense said the mansion serves as Equatorial Guinea's embassy. The International Court of Justice ruled that France must treat the mansion as Equatorial Guinea's diplomatic mission but gave the green light for the trial, despite Obiang's claims of diplomatic immunity.

According to court documents, Obiang bought up to 15 cars in France for 5.7 million euros and once splashed nearly 20 million euros at an art auction. A governess and others employed by him in Paris told investigators that their boss came to France with suitcases full of cash and paid mainly in cash for luxury goods.

Representing Transparency International, which helped bring the case, lawyer William Bourdon praised the court for issuing a "historic verdict." "It is the beginning of the end for this rule of impunity and immunity that these kleptocrats imagined was eternal and universal," Bourdon said. "This court, with independence and courage, clearly states that the counts of laundering were made possible because of a form of tolerance at three levels. The tolerance of the Societe Generale bank. The tolerance of the Bank of France. The tolerance of French authorities."

The case highlighted the well-known corruption and mismanagement of the economy of Equatorial Guinea and the dramatic gap between the privileged ruling class of the central African country and much of its population, which thrives mainly on subsistence farming. The former Spanish colony is run by Africa's longest-serving president and Obiang's father, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Associated Press journalists Alex Turnbull and Nicolas Garriga contributed.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:14 pm 
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Zimbabwe's main airport named after Mugabe
9 November 2017

Harare (dpa) - Zimbabwe's main international airport in the capital was renamed for longtime leader Robert Mugabe on Thursday, with the transport minister saying it would "ensure his legacy lives forever."

Harare international airport will now be called Robert Gabriel Mugabe international airport. "This renaming is a way his legacy lives forever. He has to be remembered by everyone who comes to Zimbabwe today and forever," Transport Minister Joram Gumbo told dpa.

Last month the cash-strapped government announced that it had set aside 1 billion dollars to build a Mugabe university, and that his birthday - on which lavish parties are always thrown - would be a public holiday. Many major roads are already named after Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for more than three decades.

Zimbabweans took to social media to poke fun at the 93-year-old's naming penchant. "His excellency president Robert Gabriel Mugabe ... arrived at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe international airport, awaiting a flight on Robert Gabriel Mugabe airways after a tiresome afternoon of capping graduates at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe university that is situated along Robert Gabriel Mugabe way," one message being circulated on Facebook said.

While there are many airports around the world named after leaders, such as JFK in New York and OR Tambo in Johannesburg, Mugabe has been accused by critics of corruption, rights abuses and driving the economy into the ground.

And there is now opposition in his party's ranks, with Mugabe on Monday sacking his powerful deputy, accusing him of wanting to replace him. "It might be a temporary name given the turmoil in his camp," analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said of the airport name.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:12 pm 
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Zimbabweans elated but cautious as Mugabe flounders
by Reagan MASHAVAVE
15 November 2017

HARARE (AFP) - On Harare's streets, many expressed amazement and delight Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe's long reign may be coming to a close, but people also admitted the future looked unstable.

Mugabe, 93, has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 -- longer than many can remember -- and the sudden move against him by the military left some hoping that his repressive regime would soon fall. "We are happy with what has been done," Keresenzia Moyo, 65, a housewife told AFP after visiting a hospital in the capital. "We needed change. Our situation has been pathetic. The economy has been in the doldrums for a very long time. What is good is that this has happened at the top and it is not affecting us people on the ground. People could be killing each other."

Moyo said that she didn't care if Mugabe was allowed to leave the country unhindered despite his tenure being marked by brutal repression of dissent, corruption and election vote-rigging. Mugabe, who is under house arrest after the military took control, led Zimbabwe to independence. But his decades in power have turned a country, known as the breadbasket of Africa for its produce, into an economic basket case where many go hungry. "What we want is for our children to be able to get jobs and live a normal happy life," Moyo said. "We want to have food on the table, not one side having everything and others dying of hunger. Mugabe was once a good person but he lost it. Now we need a fresh start."

Zimbabwe's military has denied staging a coup, saying Mugabe was still president. "We don't know what this all means and we don't know what to do," Karen Mvelani, 21, a student, told AFP. "We need some kind of direction on where we are heading."

The impact of the momentous political developments was limited in Harare, with many people attending street markets, catching mini-buses to work or lining up outside banks as normal. The country's economic crisis has caused a severe cash shortage and sharply rising prices, which many Zimbabweans blame Mugabe for. "He was a liability to the country because he was focusing on his leadership, he was a dictator," said Tafadzwa Masango, a 35-year-old unemployed man. "Our economic situation has deteriorated every day -- no employment, no jobs," he said. "We hope for a better Zimbabwe after the Mugabe era. "We feel very happy. It is now his time to go."

Mugabe sacked vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, seemingly provoking the intervention of the military, which reportedly opposed First Lady Grace Mugabe's emergence as the likely next president. Precious Shumba, director of Harare Residents Trust action group, said Zimbabwe was entering "a new phrase". "Now at least we break with the past," she said. "My wish is that they immediately announce a transitional government and state clearly when the country will have the next elections. We need a transitional government to rid the country of the toxic politics of patronage, corruption and nepotism."

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:11 pm 
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Zimbabwe celebrates as Mugabe resigns after 37 years as president
By Problem Masau and Kate Bartlett
21 November 2017

Harare (dpa) - Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday as Zimbabwe's president in a letter that ended his 37-year rule as impeachment proceedings were under way, sparking celebrations in the streets of Harare.

"I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation ... with immediate effect," read parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda from the resignation letter Mugabe submitted.

Massive crowds sang, danced and cheered in the streets of the capital, Harare, waving national flags, honking car horns and shouting "We are free!" and "The dictator is gone!" "This is beyond exciting. They now must revive the economy. This is a jubilant moment," said Douglas Mahiya, spokesman of the influential War Veterans Association. "I'm so happy. I'm celebrating for Zimbabwe because we spent 37 years under Mugabe," Kenneth Chimbuya, 43, told dpa while dancing with friends in Harare.

Once hailed as a liberation war hero, the 93-year-old Mugabe was notorious for his attempts to cling to power. His plan was to stand for yet another term as president in the 2018 elections - and pave the way for his wife Grace, 52, to succeed him. Those plans unravelled with the military's bloodless takeover one week ago. Mugabe was placed under house arrest, expelled as leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party and implored upon to step down as president by world leaders and fellow countrymen.

The takeover was precipitated by Mugabe’s firing of long-time deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled to South Africa saying he feared for his safety. On Tuesday he announced he would return to Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF said it aimed to have him sworn-in as president within 48 hours. Known as "the Crocodile" for his cunning and ruthlessness, Mnangagwa, 75, was supported by the army and the War Veterans Association, both of which were afraid Mugabe might hand power to Grace, who is widely disliked. "I want to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe on reaching this historic moment," Mnangagwa said in a statement. "As I make my way back home, I look forward together with you the people of Zimbabwe to tackle the political and economic challenges facing our beloved country Zimbabwe."

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Mugabe's resignation provides the opportunity to "forge a new path free of the oppression that characterized his rule." The US embassy in Harare said: "Tonight marks an historic moment for Zimbabwe. We congratulate all Zimbabweans who raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue."

In Harare, Mugabe's exit was seen as ushering in a new era. Mugabe was blamed for devastated the economy and was accused of election-rigging, rights abuses and violent suppression of the opposition and the press. Dave, a 21-year-old software engineer, said: "Things are going to change, unemployed people are going to get jobs, and we won't wait in a long queue to get money." "I have lived all my life waiting for this day," said Gloria Teya, a 25-year-old university graduate. "After spending my entire life under Mugabe's misrule, I can say I am now free."

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:44 pm 
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Mugabe to get $10m payoff and immunity for his family
By Jason Burke in Harare
25 November 2017

Robert Mugabe and his wife will receive a “golden handshake” worth many millions of dollars as part of a deal negotiated before the resignation of the ageing autocrat last week.

The exact sums to be paid to the former president and his wife Grace are still unclear, though one senior ruling party official with direct knowledge of the agreement said the total would not be less than $10 million. The official said that Mugabe, who has been granted immunity from prosecution and a guarantee that no action will be taken against his family’s extensive business interests, would receive a “cash payment of $5 million” immediately, with more paid in coming months.

The 93-year-old’s $150,000 salary will also be paid until his death. The 52-year-old first lady, reviled for her extravagance and greed, will then receive half that amount for the rest of her life.

Mugabe’s 37-year rule left Zimbabwe with a worthless currency, massive debts, an impoverished population and an estimated unemployment rate of more than 80%. Roads are rutted, many rural communities have no electricity, education is basic and healthcare almost non-existent. A life expectancy of 60 is one of the lowest in the world.

The first couple will be able to remain in their sprawling mansion known as the Blue Roof, in Harare. The state will pay for their medical care, domestic staff, security and foreign travel.

A second official defended the agreement, made early last week after protracted negotiations between senior politicians close to the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and representatives of Mugabe. Mnangagwa was sworn in on Friday in a colourful ceremony before tens of thousands of people in Harare’s main stadium. The 75-year-old stalwart of the ruling Zanu-PF party promised a new era for his country, and said that he would govern for “all Zimbabweans”.

Opposition politicians have criticised the agreement with the former president. “We are not privy to any deal reached with Mugabe, and if there is any deal on money or anything else it is unconstitutional,” said Douglas Mwonzora, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party. “In terms of the constitution Mugabe is a retired president and does not have immunity to criminal or civil wrongdoing committed while in office. In Zanu-PF, they can grant each other immunity, but the law does not authorise that.”

Themba Mliswa, an independent MP, said “there was no country which would like to see a former president in a state of poverty”, but that leaders must understand they were accountable. “There must be a good precedent. You can’t see a president come in looking to loot and plunder and thinking he will be allowed to keep it,” Mliswa said.

Grace Mugabe was called “Gucci Grace” in Zimbabwe for her lavish spending. The former secretary, who married the president in 1996, recently bought millions of dollars worth of property and luxury cars in South Africa. Her eldest son, 25-year-old Bellarmine Chatunga, recently enraged Zimbabweans by posting a clip on social media taken in a well-known Johannesburg nightclub showing him pouring a £200 bottle of champagne over a £45,000 watch on a night out in South Africa, boasting that “daddy runs the whole country”.

The deal also extends to the Mugabes’ wide business interests, which include a series of dairy farms, and those of his extended family. “None of this will be [seized] or in any way molested,” said the official involved in the negotiations. The difficulties of drawing up a list of the many assets to be covered by the agreement contributed to the delay in Mugabe’s resignation, which had been widely expected as early as last Sunday, he said.

Grace Mugabe’s oldest son, Russell Goreraza, 33, from her first marriage, is reported to have a substantial stake in Zimbabwe’s lucrative mining industry. He imported two Rolls-Royce limousines in September. One relative of Mugabe confirmed on Saturday that he was “covered” by the deal and that he would not be leaving Zimbabwe. “I was worried about what the changes would mean for me personally … but I am now reassured that I can live on in my country,” said the relative, who lives in Harare and has a large farm in western Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa, who was a loyal aide of Robert Mugabe for decades, has urged the country’s citizens not to undertake any form of “vengeful retribution” and in his inaugural speech praised the “immense contribution” made by the former president.

Though there is still much residual respect for Mugabe, based on his record as a leader in Zimbabwe’s wars of liberation in the 1960s and 1970s, there is little affection for his wife. It was her bid to succeed her husband that triggered the events leading to his overthrow. The first lady and prominent members of her G40 faction engineered the firing of Mnangagwa as vice-president. The army then took over to allow the former spy chief to return to Zimbabwe to take power.

Those not covered by the deal with the Mugabes may face harsh punishment for picking the wrong side. The former finance minister Ignatius Chombo who was among those detained by the military when it seized power, appeared in court on Saturday to face corruption charges. Chombo’s lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, had said that his client was admitted to hospital on Friday with injuries sustained from beatings he received while in military custody. Chombo is accused of having stolen $3.6 million.

An early indication of Mnangagwa’s style of government will come with his selection of a new cabinet, possibly as early as Sunday. There are widespread hopes – not least among western diplomats – that officials from the MDC and other opposition parties will be included in the new government. Mnangagwa has also pledged to respect the constitution and hold elections by next August. “The people’s voice will be heard,” he told the jubilant crowd of tens of thousands who packed the Harare stadium.

Source: The Observer UK

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:57 pm 
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Long-delayed work begins on key rail line in West Africa
4 December 2017

ABIDJAN (AFP) - Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso on Monday began work to overhaul and expand a single-track rail line connecting Abidjan to the Burkinabe capital that is a vital link between the Sahel and Atlantic coast.

Renovating the 1,260-kilometre (782-mile) track -- which had first been announced in 2015 with no work being started -- is expected to take eight years. All parties involved hope the project will improve traffic and trade between the two West African neighbours. "Investment for the work, totalling 396 million euros ($470 million)... is the responsibility of the operator," Ivorian Transport Minister Amadou Kone said at the launch ceremony, referring to the giant French transportation company Bollore.

Burkinabe Transport Minister Souleymane Soulama said the project would make the current trains running at 40 kilometres (25 miles) per hour "a distant memory" and that speed and comfort would be the new standards. Two new passenger trains and a locomotive will be added, 853 kms of track will be relaid, and 31 stations are to be refurbished. "At the end of the work, Sitarail will be able to transport five million tonnes each year, including two million tonnes of general freight and three million tonnes of ore, and 800,000 passengers," said Eric Melet, chief executive for development at Bollore Transport and Logistics.

This is the third time in two years that the countries have announced these renovations. The unelectrified single-line track traces its origins back to the late 19th century, when France was looking for ways to link the colonised Sahel to its trading posts on the Atlantic. After numerous interruptions, the line opened in 1954. After an economic crisis in the 1990s, management of the railways was handed over to Sitarail.

The line plays a key role for landlocked Burkina Faso in transporting cotton and manganese to the coast, and in importing oil, cement and fertiliser, but it suffers from poor tracks and ageing rolling stock, which limits train speed. In September 2016, all traffic was stopped for two weeks after a bridge on the Ivorian side collapsed as a goods train was passed by, although no one was injured. Bollore has a 67-percent stake in Sitarail, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast each have 15 percent, and the remaining three percent is owned by the workforce.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Nigerian state gets 'happiness minister'
5 December 2017

LAGOS (AFP) - It has been ranked among the happiest places in the world despite widespread unrest, political crisis and recession. Now one Nigerian state has a minister in charge of contentment.

The commissioner for happiness and couples' fulfilment is the brainchild of Rochas Okorocha, governor of the southeastern state of Imo. Okorocha, who was previously widely criticised for using public funds to erect statues of prominent African leaders, on Monday appointed his sister to the post. Ogechi Ololo now takes up the first such portfolio in Nigeria. She previously served as Okorocha's deputy chief of staff and special adviser on domestic matters, in charge of Christmas decorations.

The governor's spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo, could not provide exact details of Ololo's responsibilities when contacted by AFP Tuesday, but said: "There is nothing unusual about the appointment". "The governor is a man of ideas, always introducing new things to governance." The commissioner's job "is an innovation that should be copied by other governors," he added. He "wants to always make the people happy. That's why he has created a ministry for that purpose."

The remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is known for measuring its success by Gross National Happiness rather than Gross Domestic Product. Criteria taken into account include psychological well-being, health, education, vitality in the community and the living standards enjoyed by the population.

Okorocha, a leading member in President Muhammadu Buhari's All Progressives Congress party, is one of Nigeria's best-known but also controversial state governors. He has been accused of appointing family members and cronies to government offices without regard to the state's lean finances, including naming his son-in-law as chief of staff.

In recent months he has honoured Liberia's outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and South Africa's Jacob Zuma with statues in the state. Zuma's statue was reported to have cost 520 million naira ($1.4 million, 1.2 million euros). Okorocha was criticised for the expense as public sector workers in Imo were owed several months' salary. He has also been criticised for spending millions of naira to put up a Christmas tree reputed to be one of the biggest in the world.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:40 pm 
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Switzerland returning $321 million of Abacha assets to Nigeria
5 December 2017

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- The Swiss government says it has reached a deal to return some $321 million to Nigeria that was seized from the assets of former military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha.

A statement by Swiss authorities says the two governments and the World Bank signed an agreement in Washington. Switzerland says it seized hundreds of millions of dollars after the public prosecutor's office of Geneva opened a case against the former Nigerian leader. Swiss authorities say he originally placed the money in Luxembourg.

Abacha took power in a coup in 1993 and died under suspicious circumstances in 1998 while he was still in office. He has been accused of stealing as much as $5 billion during his time in power.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:38 pm 
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Senegal economy hopes for takeoff as new airport opens
by Malick ROKHY BA
7 December 2017

DIASS, Senegal (AFP) - Senegal's president opened a flagship new airport on Thursday seen as the central plank of government plans to boost the economy and create a west African regional hub.

President Macky Sall toured the brand new Blaise Diagne International Airport accompanied by several west African heads of state in the town of Diass, 47 kilometres (29 miles) from the capital of Dakar, while a plane from new airline Air Senegal is expected make the first symbolic takeoff this afternoon. Sall's supporters gathered in their thousands to celebrate the opening, banging drums and chanting slogans outside, according to AFP journalists at the scene. The airport will be a key test of Senegal's economic fortunes as the president seeks re-election in 2019.

Work began in 2007 on the 645 million-euro ($767 million) airport under former president Abdoulaye Wade, but unforeseen problems and a change of construction company have repeatedly delayed the project and doubled anticipated costs. Blaise Diagne -- named after the Senegalese MP who was the first African elected to France's parliament -- is at the heart of Sall's "Emerging Senegal" plan, which includes the construction of a new city, Diamniadio, close to the site in Diass.

As the country invests more heavily in tourism, Senegal is also betting on the facility's strategic position close to several beach resorts that are already heavily frequented by European holidaymakers. "The airport will be key in the promotion of 'Destination Senegal'," Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne said in a speech on Tuesday, adding that airport services at the site would contribute to the development of the special economic zone nearby.

With a capacity of three million passengers, Blaise Diagne will still rank far below the busiest African airports and a long way off challenging Nigeria in the west African region, though plans for up to 10 million travellers are in the pipeline, according to officials. Passenger numbers have increased in recent years at Dakar's current airport in the middle of the city, leading to long waits at security and contributing to chronic traffic jams, and the old Leopold Sedar Senghor airport will become a military airfield from Friday.

The new airport boasts six footbridges direct to flight cabins, and will be able to service a range of aircraft including Airbus's massive A380s. Work was completed on the 4,500-hectare site -- with 2,000 hectares unused in case of required expansion -- by Turkish consortium Summa-Limak after a disagreement with Saudi Arabia's Bin Laden construction derailed the final stage of preparations.

But bets on whether Blaise Diagne would open on time have lasted until the last minute amid complaints by major European airlines over fuel capacity and regulations. Summa-Limak will operate the airport for the next 25 years, furthering ever-closer economic ties between Ankara and Dakar. A train linking the airport with the city is not expected to open for years, leaving taxi drivers in pocket but ordinary travellers nervous of arriving on time for flights in a city with unpredictable traffic.

Backed by loans from France's development agency the African Development Bank (ADB), the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and Islamic lender the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), officials are celebrating the airport's completion -- but the future of Senegal's new airline is less certain. Air Senegal still does not have all the licences required to begin commercial flights and has a fleet of just two ATR 72-600s, but Aviation Minister Maimouna Ndoye Seck said international ambitions for the airport meant a well-performing national airline was "a necessity".

Source: AFP

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