Senegal and the DRC close to qualification

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Winners of their first three qualifying matches for AfroBasket 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda, the Senegalese are almost guaranteed to get their ticket. The Congolese have won two of their three matches during this international window (November 25 to 29) and should validate their ticket during the last qualifying tournament from February 19 to 21, 2021.

No bad surprise for the Senegalese men’s basketball team. The five-time African champion won his first three matches of the 2021 AfroBasket qualifiers in his first international window from November 25 to 29, in Kigali. It is in this same Rwandan capital that the competition will take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.

For his first on the bench of ” Lions “Boniface Ndong did not really have the opportunity to tremble. After a quiet start against Kenya (92-54), his men allowed themselves to drop the last quarter against Mozambique (60-53) and Angola, winner of seven of the last ten editions (66-51). Their lead ten minutes from time was too big for their opponents to hope for anything.

Bronze medalist of the last AfroBasket, in 2017, Senegal can confidently approach the next international window from February 19 to 21. The Senegalese, first in group B, will not even necessarily need to win a match because, as a reminder, it is the first three of each group of four who qualify.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo will have to finish the job

The deal is identical for three other winning teams also in their first three meetings. This is the case of Nigeria opposed to South Sudan (76-56), Rwanda (83-62) and Mali (91-68), in group D. The Malians, beaten twice in Kigali, will have to fight in the next tournament to qualify.

Egypt, winner in Alexandria against Uganda (96-77), Cape Verde (91-82) and Morocco (99-76) should, barring a huge surprise, validate their ticket in February. Same thing for Tunisia, title holder and striker in group A of Madagascar (89-52), the Central African Republic (80-63) and the DRC (61-50). The Congolese, who have won their other two matches, will only need a victory in the next tournament. They are very close to a second participation in a row at AfroBasket.

As a reminder, last February, the first international window took place in Yaoundé, pitting the teams of a Pool C dominated by Côte d’Ivoire.


Twenty teams participate in the second round of qualifying for AfroBasket 2021. These teams are divided into five groups of four. In each group, the teams play two mini-tournaments. The top three teams from each group after the qualifiers will advance to the final tournament in Rwanda.


Industry seeks to supervise artisanal cobalt mining in DRC

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How to supervise the artisanal cobalt mine to guarantee better working conditions for informal miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? The initiatives follow one another on the part of industry and trade.

Large buyers or users of cobalt are getting involved in trying to supervise artisanal extraction in the DRC. Transform this sector, which is most often informal and therefore illegal, often associated with child labor or deplorable working conditions and numerous accidents, due to a lack of control and equipment.

Trafigura will control six artisanal zones

The latest initiative to date, the Swiss trading giant Trafigura has just signed an agreement with the General Company of Cobalt, an offshoot of the Congolese state created last February and responsible for purchasing informal production. The Swiss metal trader undertakes to finance the improvement of the working conditions of artisanal miners, to provide them with equipment and protection. Six controlled extraction zones will be created in Katanga, with ore purchasing stations. A QR code should guarantee the origin of the metal to the end customer.

Supervision and training of minors

On the side of industrial users of cobalt, initiatives are also increasing. American electric vehicle champion Tesla has joined the “Fair Cobalt Alliance” led by Glencore, a heavyweight in the mining industry in Congo, along with eight other partners in the electronics industry.

Another initiative led by the German cooperation agency, “Cobalt for Development”, associates the German chemical giant BASF and the automobile BMW, with the American Google and the Korean battery manufacturer Samsung Electronics and SDI. The program plans to initially train 1,500 Congolese miners from twelve artisanal cooperatives at 36 mining sites around Kolwezi.

After Tesla, Volkswagen joins the movement

The German manufacturer Volkswagen, which until now refused to source cobalt from Congolese artisanal mines for its electric batteries, for reasons of reputation, has just joined the movement.

10% of Congolese production

It is the demonstration that the industry, to ensure its digital and energy revolution, prefers to put its nose in the supply chain rather than do without the largest reserves of cobalt in the world held by the DRC, where more than 10 % of production comes from artisanal mines.


“Kinshasa Chroniques” – When Congolese artists explore their city

View of the triptych “DRC, Zaire, Belgian Congo” by Kongo Astronauts in the “Kinshasa Chroniques” exhibition at the Cité de l 'architecture et du patrimoine, in Paris.
View of the triptych “DRC, Zaire, Belgian Congo” by Kongo Astronauts in the “Kinshasa Chroniques” exhibition at the Cité de l ‘architecture et du patrimoine, in Paris. © Siegfried Forster / RFI

“When you enter this exhibition, you touch Kinshasa. ”Performances, paintings, banners, costumes, music, architecture… In“ Kinshasa Chroniques ”, 70 Kinshasa artists bring us to life in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Just before the confinement of the exhibition at the City of Architecture and Heritage in Paris, they shared with us their passion for their city.


DRC: African Statistics Day

(illustration) The city center of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
(illustration) The city center of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5 Oasis

This November 18 is African Statistics Day, an opportunity to sensitize decision-makers and all citizens to the importance of statistics in all aspects of life, social but also economic. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, statistics are often not available in many areas. In question: the lack of resources of the National Institute of Statistics. The last national directory dates from 2017. Its production was financed by the African Development Bank (ADB). In Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the country, this public institution focuses on the publication of the consumer price index.


The DRC sets up “special economic zones” to attract foreign investors

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In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the authorities are trying to diversify a still fragile economy, which depends mainly on the mining sector. To do this, they decided to create six special economic zones. The Congolese Prime Minister, Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, launched on November 4 the first pilot “special economic zone” of the country, in the suburbs of the capital Kinshasa. An initiative to attract foreign investors, because these geographical areas are covered by favorable taxation.

Leaving N’djili International Airport, you still have to travel dozens of kilometers to reach the Maluku pilot area. The site is only at the beginning. Alexis Ndengue, from the firm STRATEGOS, recruited by the World Bank to manage the site. ” The first phase will be to make the site viable. When this is done we will start building the warehouses, making space available to businesses. AT this Today, we already have many companies that are interested in settling in the economic zone, mainly industrial companies but also service companies… things are already underway. »

Only mining companies and banks are not welcome in these areas expropriated by the State. Julien Paluku, Minister of Industry, is reassuring about the benefits. ” Any entrepreneur who settles in the area is exempt from all taxes for a period of 5 years, renewable once. Whoever develops the area is exempt for 10 years, renewable once. And at the end of the period, he begins to pay only 50% of the duties and taxes owed to the state. This will allow the country to be a major exporter. Especially since we are going to enter the African Continental Free Trade Area. If we don’t, we will be the outlet for all African products. But with the experience of SEZs, it is we who are going to flood the African market with nearly a billion consumers. In ten years, we will become among the exporting countries, like China which sells its products cheaper while it is the same quality as that produced in Europe. »

This pilot zone ” will never remain a wishful thinking », Tries to reassure Marcelin Bilomba, adviser to President Tshisekedi at the Economic College. Large investors have already subscribed to the project. ” The first firm would be for the assembly of the “trucks” mounted here and the second firm would be for the assembly of the helicopters. »

Alongside these assurances, there are also challenges related to electricity and skilled labor, which worries Noël Tshiani, a former senior official of the World Bank. ” The idea is excellent, however to be successful there are a number of prerequisites. The availability of water, electricity and telecom services, roads but also the availability that are part of the normal functioning of a country such as quality justice, skilled labor but also a climate peace and security because foreign investments do not like the sound of boots. »

Regarding electricity, the challenge is major when already, the national electricity company is struggling to satisfy the mining industries concentrated in Katanga.


“Congo Jazz Band” at the Zébrures d’Automne Festival in Limoges

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From Monday, September 28 to Thursday, October 1, 2020, De Vive (s) Voix is ​​at the Zébrures d’Automne Festival Les Francophonies – From writing to the stage, in Limoges.

Based on Congolese music, the show “Congo Jazz Band”, presented to Francophonies of Limoges, traces almost a century of the history of the DRC, from Leopold II to the present day.

Guests : Hassane Kassi Kouyaté, director of the “Francophonies, From writing to the stage” and director of the play; Mohamed Kacimi, creator of the show and Congolese actress Alvie Bitemo.


Fiston Mwanza Mujila, a child of mines and pencil

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Another Son who left the Continent, The river in the belly. From the Congo river in the suitcases, just a tear in the shape of a diamond, maybe it wets the soul of the exile, but whatever, Fiston Mwanza Mujila is not a poet who takes water.

Well, it’s true that in his novels and his poetry, it moans in D-minor, but I find its telluric and incredibly joyful moan. On the menu of this meeting in French and German, a birth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the African literature he teaches in Austria, the memory of Tram 83 (his first novel), and then dreams of diamonds, alcohol and glue, read The villain’s dance which has just been published by Éditions Metailié.

The musical choices of Fiston Mwanza Mujila

Franco Luambo Bye bye by my love

Hugh Masekela Stimela


African artists at the center of the Francophonies festival in Limoges

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“The Covid-19 created a psychosis, a kind of fear that paralyzes doing it. And we are trying to fight against that. “Les Zébrures d’Automne, the festival of French-speaking creations in all its forms, opens its doors this Wednesday, September 23 in Limoges, in central-western France. Interview with director Hassane Kouyaté on the challenges of this edition largely devoted to the creations of African artists.

RFI: Despite the obstacle of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Zébrures d’Automne display thirteen creations, including many shows by African artists, and this despite the delay of the Africa 2020 Season. How did you manage to maintain your program ?

Hassane Kouyaté: We were impacted by the coronavirus crisis, but that did not prevent us from doing, creating, and having a very interesting program. With the support of our partners, the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), the French Institute, the Ministry of Culture, we managed to ensure that the artists who were to come from the African continent can have their visa and be here in Limoges. Then, for some creations, it was necessary to do upstream work on French territory. We changed some artists who were to come from the African continent by artists from the African diaspora.

Many artists invited to the festival are from Africa (Ivory Coast, Mali, Tunisia, Guinea, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Algeria …). Among the emblematic shows of this edition, there are Congo Jazz Band, at the Opéra de Limoges, by Mohamed Kacimi and for which you are directing. Why is it so important to tell and face the story of the Congo here in Limoges, France ?

I start from an observation: there is more and more a lack of knowledge of our stories. We know less and less where we come from. In this case, it is very difficult to know where we are and where we were really going. And if we don’t know, it’s even more difficult to understand the future. So, it was important for me to set up this show with Mohamed Kacimi to recall certain historical facts. We know that the colonization of the Congo by Leopold II [roi des Belges et souverain de la colonie du Congo entre 1885-1908, ndlr] has made school. Because it is from there that there was the Berlin Conference [entre novembre 1884 et février 1885, ndlr] who decided on the balkanization of Africa, the plundering of natural resources and minerals. We also know all that this has caused so far on the African continent in terms of damage.

Burkinabè Hassane Kassi Kouyaté, director of Zébrures d'Automne, in Limoges.
Burkinabè Hassane Kassi Kouyaté, director of Zébrures d’Automne, in Limoges. © Siegfried Forster / RFI

In Congo Jazz Band, despite a very serious history, artistic genres merge happily : theater, music, kotéba, Congolese rumba …

I didn’t want it to be a show that was there to accuse anyone. First of all, it’s a moment of celebration. Then, it’s important to say – by the party – strong enough things. As I often say: you don’t write on the blackboard with black chalk. Otherwise, we don’t see anything. As the facts are very harsh and dramatic, it was important to find a theatrical form that could get our message across.

In addition, I too am a cultural crossbreed. I am griot. In my veins, there is the traditional theater, the kotéba. And I find it very difficult to conceive of a show without music, without dancing, etc. I also tried to put my mixed culture on stage. I am a zebra, with the black and the white which are well drawn at home. So, in the show, we discover traditional theatrical techniques from Africa – but when we say traditional, it’s not backward-looking, it’s the tradition of the language and culture of Africa – and western techniques. .

During the confinement, we talked a lot about new artistic forms, web-TV, video, on social networks, by phone, under the balconies of buildings, digital festivals, drive-ins … What are the news artistic forms to discover at Zébrures d’Automne ?

No, we’re not going to invent anything, because artists everywhere have always invented things. The confinement only highlighted this inventiveness. I don’t think confinement really invented new artistic forms. Afterwards, it developed a form which is working with digital technology, but that did not invent it. So, as in previous years, we will have very diverse shapes at the Zebra Stripes and we will also occupy the most diverse spaces throughout the festival. It will make a relevant and joyful moment.

“Akzak, the impatience of a connected youth”, choreography by Héla Fattoumi and Eric Lamoureux, presented at the Zébrures d'Automne 2020, in Limoges.
“Akzak, the impatience of a connected youth”, choreography by Héla Fattoumi and Eric Lamoureux, presented at the Zébrures d’Automne 2020, in Limoges. © Laurent Philippe

For you, neither the Covid-19 nor the climate crisis have really changed the way of conceiving, producing, showing and sharing a show ?

No, apart from the fact that we were asked to rehearse with the masks. And to make things go digital. The Covid-19 has brought to light certain difficulties and also certain practices. On the other hand, the Covid-19 created a psychosis, a kind of fear that paralyzes doing it. And we are trying to fight against that.

Les Zébrures also wish to welcome “ shocks caused by one and the same language ». In shows and creations, what role is French playing this year? ?

What is interesting with the Francophonies is always the marriage of another culture and another language with the French culture and language. It always gives an artistic and cultural object. French is always one of the two, three, four parents of the child born as an artistic object on stage.

The Zébrures d’Automne program, Francophonies festival, September 23 to October 3 in Limoges, France.


“Not worried about the future of the Games of La Francophonie”

The next Games of La Francophonie, which were to take place in 2021 in New Brunswick (Canada), will finally take place in two years in DR Congo. The Director of the International Games Committee (CIJF) provides an update on this 2022 edition and, more generally, on this event which combines sporting and cultural events every four years. Interview.

RFI : Zeina Mina, the next Games of La Francophonie were to take place in 2021 in New Brunswick, a Canadian province. They will finally take place in 2022 in DR Congo. This postponement of one year, because of the delay of the Tokyo Games to 2021, is it a good thing for the DRC, which was chosen as a replacement in July 2019 only ?

Of course ! We must not hide our face. Of course, this additional year is advantageous so that we can prepare and organize the Games more calmly and have time to put everything in place. Because there are constructions to be done in the DRC. There are also rehabilitations to do. So, with one more year, we are more peaceful.

The Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa is currently undergoing rehabilitation. Is this an infrastructure on which you rely a lot for the 2022 Games of La Francophonie? ?

There is the Stade des Martyrs, yes, and the Tata Raphaël Stadium to be rehabilitated. But there is also the accommodation village to do. This is the big project.

Will the Games program be adapted accordingly or will we witness the same sporting and cultural events as in Abidjan in 2017? ?

We are continuing the same program. There are no planned changes. In any case, removing or adding proofs is not a decision for the CIJF alone. There is a whole process to modify the program. So, we are renewing the same disciplines for the moment.

Speaking of Abidjan, this will be the second Games in a row to take place in a country known as “ South “. Suddenly, the 2025 edition, whose allocation process has also been delayed, will it be held in a country called “ North », According to the usual North-South alternation process?

We are in a trend in which we no longer speak of “North” or “South” countries. We are talking about francophone countries, quite simply. So we are going to make a call for applications. We will study the files of all candidate countries, whether from the South or from the North. There is no longer that speech, anyway. […]

Between the difficulties in finding a replacement in New Brunswick and the current global situation, are you worried about the allocation of the 2025 Games? ?

In fact, it was not difficult to find a country for 2021. New Brunswick withdrew in March 2019 and in June another country, the DRC, was chosen. The deadlines were tight. But if we had re-launched a call for candidates with more time, we might have had more candidate countries.

I am not worried about the future of the Games. It is a tool that attracts, which is very important, which has a lot of societal impact in the organizing countries. […].

The Games of La Francophonie are a mobilizing event. Today, for the DRC, despite all the difficulties – including sanitary ones – we are already at more than 30 countries registered for the 2022 edition.

You just have to convey a good image. We really have to talk about the essence of these Games, their history and present them as they deserve.

Today, the countries are not negative vis-à-vis the organization of the Games of La Francophonie. But, like other games, they require money.

In sports, there are norms and standards. But we do not demand the standards of the Olympic Games, even if we must meet these well-defined criteria, in order to have fields validated by international sports federations. This generates unavoidable costs and fees.

It is the event, in a more global way, that is questioned in the world. These are not the Games of La Francophonie. […]

TO (RE) READ ► Carole Gomez: “It may be time to renovate the Games of La Francophonie”

Is it anachronistic to want to organize a big event with thousands of people while wanting to maintain a reasonable financial cost for the host country? ? This is a criticism sometimes leveled at the Games of La Francophonie …

If we take the example of the DRC, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the process of sports diplomacy. She wants to use this tool to display visibility, another image of the DRC. It will, for example, allow him to develop basketball courts, while the Congolese have very good players but no covered courts. Only football is really developed in the DRC. […]

The Games of La Francophonie will make it possible to create venues and sports facilities, while remaining within normal standards (sic). We are not in the competition. We are not looking for the DRC to display the best infrastructure in the world. We attended the World Athletics Championships in Qatar. It was fabulous but we are not looking for that.

We are trying to organize a competition that meets the criteria and standards, without going into the superfluous, and while providing the host country with a means of developing sports disciplines for the future. Because, today, sport is an essential development tool, which has a societal impact.

The European Commission, the United Nations […], use this tool that is sport to develop societies. […] Today, with the Games of La Francophonie, we are giving these countries visibility to develop their infrastructures and organize their federations, because we also provide training as well as support, with the support of the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports of countries sharing French (CONFEJES) […].

We are moving in the direction of sustainable development, societal and ecological impacts. We are working in this direction. We have a modest but well-organized tool that meets standards while having other aims than the Olympics. We are not in competition. […]


“Determined to make the Congo proud again”

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Junior Makabu, the first Congolese from the DRC to be world champion in a large boxing federation, is preparing to defend his title. He intends to play this fight in Kinshasa before the end of 2020. For RFI, the king of the light heavyweights of the WBC looks back on the last six months, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and an imbroglio around a aborted collaboration with promoter Don King. Interview.

RFI : Junior Makabu, you made your return at the end of August in Kinshasa, after several weeks spent away from the DRC due in particular to the Covid-19. What do you feel ?

Junior Makabu : I am happy to be home. It is the country of my ancestors where I returned. It makes me feel good to be in the country and I’m proud to be there. My compatriots are proud, despite the confinement and everything that has happened. God blessed us, we didn’t have many deaths. […]

Was it difficult to be far from DR Congo during this period ?

It was a bit difficult, yes. It was complicated for me, given everything that happened with the coronavirus. Moreover, if it had not been for the coronavirus, I would have already made one or two defenses of my WBC world champion title. But, praise God, there will be a voluntary title defense before the end of 2020. […]

The Covid-19 circulates a lot in South Africa, the country where you live and where you train every day. Have you been able to maintain yourself fairly well in recent weeks ?

Shortly before I left South Africa, the President of the Republic Cyril Ramaphosa reduced the alert level to level 2. He allowed the reopening of gyms, in particular. I trained two or three times before coming to the DRC. I am in good physical condition. There, I am currently in the DRC to work on documents with the president of the Congolese Boxing Federation, my promoter Ilunga Luyoyo, for the preparation of my next fight.

During your last fight, in January 2020, you encountered some difficulties with the company of the very famous fight promoter Don King. The latter claimed to have become your promoter and had tried to prevent the WBC from organizing the World Championship against the Polish Michal Cieslak. Where are you in this file? ?

We had tried to work with Don King’s company, for the commemoration of the fight between Mohamed Ali and George Foreman, under the ” Rumble in the jungle 2 » [1]. We saw it in that context.

I take this opportunity to tell all those who come to speak on behalf of Don King in the DRC or elsewhere that there is no possible collaboration if you do not go through the president of the Congolese Boxing Federation who is my promoter! DK knows exactly what I’m talking about.

My manager Tarik Saadi works hard. […] My promoter Ilunga Luyoyo is there and he is fighting alongside the Congolese Federation and my government.

I prefer to focus on defending my title. I can’t be distracted by this DK thing.

Don King’s company still claims you signed a contract with them, in 2019 ?

So far DK has never attacked us about this contract matter. Gradually, he broke the contract we had signed. For the moment, we have not had any discussions with him on this story.

On the other hand, people come to the DRC to speak on behalf of DK, with the presidency! Nobody can come and do something like that in the Congo, if they haven’t gone through my promoter first! Even DK knows it. […]

I can assure the presidency and everyone that all those who have come and will come to the DRC on behalf of DK are liars. They must go through the Congolese Boxing Federation.

In any case, this affair did not prevent you from confronting and beating Michal Cieslak on January 31, 2020 in Kinshasa. Becoming the first Congolese from the DRC world champion in English boxing, has it changed your life ?

I had a vision before this fight, which many people in Congo had not understood. I had struggled for two years to get there [après une défaite en Championnat du monde face au Britannique Tony Bellew, en mai 2016, NDLR]. Congolese fought, like me, in the country, but without reaching that level.

I thought that, through boxing, my country could be seen differently: not through massacres, wars, diamond or cobalt stories, or politics.

I wanted to sell the image of my country. I managed to bring him to the rank of world number 1 in boxing. It gives me a lot of joy and it pushes me to become stronger, in order to do even better.

The WBC has granted you a voluntary title defense [2]. Concretely, you will not have to wait several months for your challengers to clash with each other to have an opponent. So you can pick one yourself and fight by the end of the year, if all goes well. Is it a relief for you ?

It definitely does me good because it’s been seven months since I came back in the ring. The WBC has granted me this voluntary defense which I must honor here at home. This is one of the reasons why I came to meet the Minister of Sports, as well as the President. We will also talk about the medal of merit that was promised to me.

I take this opportunity to say thank you to President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo. Because, thanks to him, I am world champion. He put all the batteries in motion so that the World Championship in January 2020 can take place.

I hope my title defense will take place here. In the meantime, I will prepare myself well for this defense. I’m sure I’ll win my next fight, for my country which has been frowned upon for years. I am determined to make my country even more proud.

[1] The fight between Makabu and Cieslak was the first World Boxing Championship organized in the DRC since the legendary clash between Mohamed Ali and George Foreman in 1974, the famous “ Rumble in the jungle »In Kinshasa of which Don King was the promoter. Makabu and his entourage indicate that they only wanted to collaborate with Don King’s company as part of a commemoration of this defining moment in the history of boxing.

[2] Without this title defense granted by the WBC, Junior Makabu would have had to wait many months for his main challengers to face each other. Instead, the Congolese will therefore be able to choose an opponent from among the top 15 fighters in his weight class, most notably South African Thabiso Mchunu and Nigerian Olanrewaju Durodola. He should favor a fight in Kinshasa.