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African teams set the stage for AFCON 2019 with friendlies2 minutes read

Cameroon plays Ghana, Benin and Guinea-Bissau in Group F of the AFCON 2019 tournament.

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Retired Cameroonian footballer Rigobert Song holds the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy on top of an open top bus

In preparation for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019), African teams played friendly games over the weekend. The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon beat Zambia 2-1 and Ghana lost 1-0 to Namibia.

Defending Champions, Cameroon were playing their first friendly game ahead of the AFCON tournament. Paul-Georges Ntep and Joel Tagueu gave Cameroon a two-goal lead, with Mwape Musonda pulling one back for Zambia 13 minutes from time with the game ending 2-1 in favour of Cameroon.

Kenyan national football players attend their training session in preparation for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)
Kenyan national football players attend their training session at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on May 20, 2019. – Kenyan national football team, the Harambee Stars, has qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which will be held in Egypt from June 19 for the first time in 15 years. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

Related: AFCON 2019: Injury rules out Mali’s Yves Bissouma

Cameroon plays Ghana, Benin and Guinea-Bissau in Group F of the AFCON 2019 tournament.

In Dubai, Namibia were victors over four-time Africa Cup of Nations Champions Ghana. Manfred Starke scored after 31 minutes as Namibia won 1-0. Ghana replaced all 11 starters at half-time. The victory will give hope to Namibia as the face Ivory Coast, Morocco and South Africa in Group D of the tournament.

South Africa's forward Percy Tau (R) celebrates his goal during the 2019 AFCON Group E qualifier
South Africa’s forward Percy Tau (R) celebrates his goal during the 2019 AFCON Group E qualifier football match between Libya and South Africa at Stade Taieb Mhiri in the Tunisian city of Sfax on March 24, 2019. (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP)

In Abu Dhabi, Uganda and Turkmenistan drew 0-0 and it was the same scoreline in Marbella between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burkina Faso, who did not qualify for the AFCON.

Related: South Africa releases AFCON 2019 squad list

Guinea found themselves on the losing side to non-qualifiers Gambia with Ebrima Sohna scoring the only goal in the game just before half-time in Marrakech, Morocco.

Three-time champions, Nigeria were held by Zimbabwe 0-0 in Delta State, Nigeria.

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.

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UN condemns use of IEDs against civilians in Libya

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians…,” the UN said.

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A man inspects the wreckage of a car outside the Khadra General Hospital which is dedicated to treating people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 8, 2020, after it was targeted by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in or near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement Monday.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also commended the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

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Strike looms as public sector wage dispute enters arbitration in South Africa

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The ongoing face-off between workers in the public sector and the South African government continues. According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), disagreement between the trade unions and government has moved the talks to arbitration for further hearing.

PSCBC General Secretary, Frikkie De Bruin explains that the arbitration hearings will begin by mid-June. An arbitrator will issue an award after the hearings are complete, with the matter potentially heading to court or resulting in a strike if the unions aren’t happy.

Ordinarily, public sector workers make up a third of South Africa’s expenditure. But with the coronavirus lockdown and income reduction, Pretoria seems unwilling to incur more debt.

If not handled carefully to appease the workers, the ruling African National Congress, (ANC) could lose its political dominance in the next local elections.

If no resolution is reached and the workers decide to resolve it an industrial action, it could erode all effort made by the government in the fight against the coronavirus.

The dispute started in February when the government affirmed that it could not fulfil its 2018 agreement on a three-year wage agreement.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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