How the US and China compete for influence in Africa

  • 24 July 2015
  • From the section Africa
NOVEMBER 12: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) attend a press conference

As US President Barack Obama visits East Africa this weekend there is an understandable focus on issues like security and counter-terrorism, as well as entrepreneurship.

But for many people on the continent, America's role appears to be a distant, nebulous one, increasingly overshadowed by that of another emerging global super-power.

Here in Lesotho, the Chinese are in almost every village - from the cornfields of the western lowlands right up to the snow-dusted peaks of the mountainous east.

In Nazareth, halfway up a steep hillside an hour's drive out of the capital Maseru, a cluster of people were gathered at the door of the local store. A young woman from southern China was helping a farmer to load supplies into a pickup truck.

"It's good here. The air is much cleaner than back home," she said, politely declining to give her name.

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Ethiopian journalist on fear of returning to prison

  • 14 July 2015
  • From the section Africa
Tesfalem Waldyes
Image caption "I'm still scared that I might go back to prison" says journalist Tesfalem Waldyes

It's never an easy decision: Should I interview someone who wants to talk in public, but who knows that a word out of line could mean arrest and imprisonment?

I've wrestled with the issue before in Myanmar, also known as Burma, Zimbabwe, Iraq and elsewhere.

Read full article Ethiopian journalist on fear of returning to prison

The Ethiopians who predict an end to international aid

  • 13 July 2015
  • From the section Africa

The rains have been poor again in this mountainous corner of north-eastern Ethiopia - the site of the 1984 famine in which hundreds of thousands of people starved to death.

But just north of the small market town of Korem, bright green fields and neatly terraced hillsides surround a vast lake, and in the brand new local hospital, the ward reserved for severely malnourished babies is all but empty.

Read full article The Ethiopians who predict an end to international aid

Fifa corruption: South Africa cash 'worrisome'

  • 14 June 2015
  • From the section Africa
Tokyo Sexwale
Image caption Tokyo Sexwale told the BBC's Andrew Harding the allegations were "worrisome"

A key figure in South Africa's football World Cup bid has broken ranks with the government to suggest there might be some truth to a claim that a $10m bribe was paid to secure the 2010 tournament.

Tokyo Sexwale told the BBC the US allegations were "worrisome".

Read full article Fifa corruption: South Africa cash 'worrisome'

South Africa nerves unsettled amid World Cup bribe scandal

  • 9 June 2015
  • From the section Africa
South African football fans - July 2010
Image caption South Africa was the first country in Africa to host the World Cup

As South Africa's football executives, and indeed its government, wait anxiously for more details about the FBI's claim that the 2010 Fifa World Cup vote was rigged, a steady leak of emails and letters appears to be doing little to calm nerves in the country.

Indeed at the weekend, in perhaps the most forceful and curious outburst yet, a former Safa boss, Molefi Oliphant, said he had felt "betrayed" by the current Safa president, Danny Jordaan.

Read full article South Africa nerves unsettled amid World Cup bribe scandal

Fifa bribe claim: South Africa comes out fighting

  • 3 June 2015
  • From the section Africa
Director General Alec Moemi (L) and Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula (R) at a press conference in Johannesburg, 3 June 2015
Image caption Fikile Mbalula (right) said Sepp Blatter was a "good friend to South Africa"

South Africa's sports minister was on fiery, bombastic form in Johannesburg, as he lashed out against the bribery allegations being levelled against his country.

Fikile Mbalula made it clear he believed "vested interests," and "imperialism" led by a United States "parading itself as "the world's policeman," were behind the FBI's sensational claim that South Africa paid $10 million to secure the 2010 World Cup.

Read full article Fifa bribe claim: South Africa comes out fighting

Did South Africa pay a World Cup bribe?

  • 3 June 2015
  • From the section Africa
Fireworks explode as the Spain team celebrate victory in World Cup 2010 FIFA World Cup final at Soccer City Stadium on 11 July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg

So did South Africa really pay a $10m (£6.5m) dollar bribe to make sure they won the right to host the 2010 World Cup?

This is one of the several corruption allegations engulfing Fifa, whose president, Sepp Blatter, has just announced he will be resigning.

Read full article Did South Africa pay a World Cup bribe?

South Africa new visa rules: Paranoia or security?

  • 1 June 2015
  • From the section Africa
Table mountain (file photo)
Image caption Table Mountain is one of South Africa's major tourist attractions

Is it a bold move to fight child trafficking and protect South Africa's borders? Or a paranoid gamble that will damage one of the country's most important industries and add to soaring unemployment?

South Africa has introduced new rules, requiring any child crossing its borders to be in possession of - or to have earlier submitted during a visa application - a full, unabridged birth certificate.

Read full article South Africa new visa rules: Paranoia or security?

South Africa's 'brazen cover-up' of Zuma's home upgrade

  • 29 May 2015
  • From the section Africa
South African President Jacob Zuma speaks during his State of the Nation address at the opening of parliament in Cape Town on 12 February
Image caption President Jacob Zuma will not have to repay state money spent to upgrade his private home

The offence itself was bad enough - an orgy of overspending by obsequious officials and conniving contractors who managed to spend 246m rand ($21.7m, £14.3m) of public money lavishly upgrading South African President Jacob's Zuma's private homestead, Nkandla.

That is nearly 10 times what taxpayers spent on Nelson Mandela's two homes, and 20 times what it cost to secure Thabo Mbeki's house.

Read full article South Africa's 'brazen cover-up' of Zuma's home upgrade

The shadowy centre helping former al-Shabab members quit

  • 24 May 2015
  • From the section Africa
inside the camp
Image caption Eighty former militants are housed in the camp

In a small, heavily guarded compound on the bullet-riddled outskirts of Baidoa, a secretive team is working to undermine Somalia's Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, from the inside.

"We can't just solve this militarily," said Aden Mohamed Hussein, ushering me past the soldiers at the gate.

Read full article The shadowy centre helping former al-Shabab members quit