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President Weah pushes to tackle poverty in Liberia

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President George Weah
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Liberian President George Weah has said he would take measures to tackle rampant inflation and poverty, including injecting $25 million into the forex market and taking steps to bring more local cash into the formal banking system.

President Weah said in an address to the nation “I am fully aware of the negative impact of the declining exchange rate on the economic well-being of the Liberian people, and the serious hardship that this is beginning to cause”.

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“We believe a more aggressive enforcement of monetary policy should go a long way to … address the problem,” including giving the central bank stronger powers to regulate money changers and banks, he said.

Weah said the injection of dollars would help mop up some excess Liberian dollars, adding that 90 percent of local cash in circulation was being held outside the formal banking system, where there was no oversight.

 A former soccer World Player of the Year, Weah took office at the start of 2018 on a promise to stamp out corruption and end economic misery for millions of Liberians.

Civil wars in the small West African country killed hundreds of thousands of people between 1989-2003. As its economy was recovering, it was hit by falls in prices of its main exports, iron ore and rubber, and an Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016.

But the collapse in the currency since then has hit Liberians particularly hard, sparking protests by students.

Weah said the Liberian dollar had declined 25 percent over 2017 and a further 25 percent since January, blaming in part the end of Liberia’s U.N. peacekeeping mission in March, which had cut inflows of hard currency.

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Mali: Apex court upheld Keita’s re election

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Mali’s constitutional court on Monday confirmed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s re-election in a run-off ballot, rejecting fraud accusations by the opposition candidate.

The decision clears the way for Keita to be inaugurated next month for a second five-year term, at a time when Malian authorities are contending with rising violence by jihadist groups and ethnic militia.

Challenger Soumaila Cisse had contested the electoral commission result of the Aug. 12 vote, which showed Keita winning 67 percent.

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The election was tainted by armed attacks in the centre and north, where hundreds of polling stations remained closed, and a turnout of only 34 percent reflected fears of violence as well as voter apathy.

Cisse says he would have won 51 percent of the vote but for ballot box stuffing and other cheating by Keita’s camp. Keita rejected the allegations.

The European Union observer mission and other local and international monitors said that, despite a number of irregularities and disruptions, they saw no evidence of fraud.

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Nigeria: More bodies discovered from collapsed building in Abuja

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About four more bodies have been recovered from the rubble of the four-storey building which collapsed in Jabi, Abuja on Friday.
 
The bodies were recovered during the ongoing evacuation of debris from the site on Monday.
 
The Federal Capital Territory Administration and the National Emergency Management Agency had on Saturday ended the rescue operation at the site after six persons and one dead body were evacuated from the building on Friday.

But relatives of the victims had protested the decision of the government, insisting that about 18 workers were still trapped under the rubble.

They were dispersed by policemen who fired tear gas and shots into the air.

The rescue team consisting of officials of FCT Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency, firefighters and Julius Berger Plc ended the rescue operations around 8am after they failed to find victims.

But the youths who were annoyed by the removal of the payloaders and other equipment attempted to take over the site, insisting that many victims were still trapped under the debris and should be rescued.

The Coordinator, Abuja Municipal Metropolitan Council, Umar Shuaibu, had explained that the rescue workers could not find any signs of life or body, adding that they deployed the necessary equipment for the job.

He disclosed that only one died out of the seven victims that were rescued, insisting that no other casualty was discovered during the overnight rescue operation.

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