Plane crash in Africa kills 257 people

At least 257 people have been killed in a military plane crash near Algeria’s capital, Algiers, state media reports. The aircraft crashed near the Boufarik air base, between Algiers and the city of Bilda. Ten of those killed were the plane crew, according to state-run Radio Algerie.

“The number of martyrs has risen to 247 passengers and 10 members of the crew, most of whom are members of the army as well as their families,” said the ministry statement. “The bodies of the victims are being taken to the Central Hospital of the Army in Ain Naadja to identify them.”

TV station Ennahar showed images of smoke rising from the plane’s fuselage, tilted to one side, with part of the aircraft sticking out above olive trees. Dozens of bodies were seen in numbered bags as paramedics and firefighters worked at the crash site, reported CNN Africa.

According to the Washington Post, the Russian-built Ilyushin Il-76 was headed to the southwestern city of Bechar when it crashed just outside the Boufarik military air base in a farm field. The plane was scheduled to stop in the remote town of Tindouf along the Moroccan border, site of the sprawling refu­gee camps for Western Saharans that have fled the decades-old conflict with Morocco.


South Africa’s super rich hide more money offshore every year

 Being very rich did always, among other things, mean buying the best houses available. Although this still holds true and real estate remained the most significant asset class for high net-worth individuals in South Africa, they have decreased their real estate investments over the past ten years from 33 % to only 30. They were also more likely to move their funds out of the country.

As property investment in South Africa is on a decline, more money is being moved out of the country. At the end of last year, South Africa’s High Net Worth Individuals held 17% of their wealth offshore compared to 13% in 2007. According to the South Africa 2018 Wealth Report released by AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth last week, this percentage is expected to rise to 22% by 2027. This rise will be fuelled by the will to buy property outside of their homeland troubled by poor security and complicated politics.

The Wealth report defines rich people as those individuals with the wealth of $1m (about 12 million Rand) or more. “Wealth” is defined as net assets of a person. It includes all their assets, that means property, cash, equities and business interests minus any liabilities.

“Despite being only the fifth-largest country in Africa in terms of population and ninth-largest by land area, South Africa is by far the most advanced and richest country on the continent. Notably, South Africa has over twice as many millionaires (HNWIs) as any other African country,” writes the report.


FlySafair named Best airline in Africa for 2018

JOHANNESBURG – FlySafair continues to fly the South African flag high!

The low-cost airline took home the title of Best Airline in Africa and the Indian Ocean in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards.

It also walked away with the Best Economy Class award in the same region.

The awards highlight the world’s top carriers based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for airlines worldwide gathered over a 12-month period.

FlySafair is the only local airline to have made it onto the coveted list and shares the top spot for the region with Air Austral, a French airline, and RwandAir from Rwanda.

Kirby Gordon, Head of Sales and Distribution at the airline says: “FlySafair is extremely proud to have received a number one ranking in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards, especially given that these awards are based on consumer feedback.”

Words which travellers most frequently use to describe FlySafair, include “always on time”, “value for money”, “better rates” and “friendly staff”.

The airline performed well across the ratings categories scoring particularly high marks under Value for Money and Cleanliness.



Five confidential reasons why the Middle East crisis will spread to Africa

The Middle East is in disputes for decades. However, now it may well become a part of a far more extensive problem that will influence the entire East Africa region, which may become a playground for power plays between the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and China.

“A crisis in the Gulf is playing out in dramatic form in Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa. Some argue it could tear the whole region apart. After nearly 30 years of conflict and instability, Somalia is particularly vulnerable”, writes Mary Harper from BBC Africa. According to Rashid Abdi, Director of the Horn of Africa project at the International Crisis Group, Somalia has become a chessboard in the power game between Qatar and Turkey on the one side and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies on the other.

So why is it and why can we expect the crisis to spread?

1. The United Arab Emirates is building a massive military base in Berbera, Somaliland.

It is a highly strategic location, and it will serve to confirm UAE’s position in the region. The US and the former Soviet Union built their bases there decades ago, plus one of the continent’s longest runways, which is more than 4km (2.5 miles) long. Qatar and their military powerhouse friend Turkey will not like the fact that the influence of their political rivals is rising.

2. Dubai-based company DP World is taking over the Berbera port.

Landlocked Ethiopia is also involved, with a 19% stake, as it sees Berbera as a useful alternative to the congested, expensive port in Djibouti upon which it is dependent. But the port of Berbera is a part of Somaliland, an internationally unrecognized entity which Somalia regards a part of its territory. Earlier this month parliament in Somalia voted to nullify the port deal which enrages the UAE. The Arabs also fear they may lose an important business asset, as the port exports millions of live animals to the Gulf every year.

3. Both China and Saudi Arabia have built military bases in the tiny country of Djibouti.

In addition to strengthening their military position in the region, they also try to raise their economic and cultural influence. Beijing has poured over $14 billion into infrastructure development. Saudi Arabia has spent generously on social welfare projects for the country’s poor and built housing, schools, and mosques for its swelling Yemeni refugee population, all while promoting Saudi’s traditional model of Islamic culture, disliked by more liberal Middle East countries.

4. UAE is bypassing the federal government in Somalia by striking deals with Somalia’s regional states.

These five states have a fractious relationship with central government and with each other. Some have received military training, equipment and funding from the Emirates. DP World and its subsidiaries are negotiating deals to manage a string of ports in at least three of them. This strengthening of local states may increase the tensions in the traditionally politically unstable country with active separatist movements.

5. Turkey has its largest military base outside the mother country in Mogadishu, Somalia.

More than 10 thousand Somali soldiers are training there under Turkish supervision. While Turkey’s relations with the Horn of Africa date back to the Ottoman Empire, today’s President Tayyip Erdogan’s government has become a close ally of the Somali government in recent years. This strengthening of Somalia’s military power is closely watched by the neighboring Ethiopia, which has fought Somali jihadist militias before and is afraid of political tensions on its borders.