The Africa Report: 22 April

EWN's Africa Correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish, reports on the day's top African news

Nigerian Finance Minster, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Picture: AFP.

AFRICAN MINISTERS: RICHER NATIONS MUST KICK START ECONOMIES

In news suggesting the proverbial boot is on the other foot, African finance ministers have told their counterparts in the world's richer nations to kick start their developed economies.

On Saturday, at a press conference during the 2013 International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank meetings in Washington, African finance ministers insisted that their developed world counterparts avoid the prolonging of the economic slump from which Africa has been relatively well-insulated.

"We need to insist that our partners in other parts of the world work harder and faster," said Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Okonjo-Iweala and her African peers attending the meeting have good reason to insist action from international finance ministers.

African economies are growing at an average 6% while the global growth is expected at a less impressive 4%, as predicted by the IMF.

The reality of the preponderance of dire poverty in Africa is further reason for African finance ministers to call the world's economic leaders to action as a prolonged economic growth will not only undermine Africa's strong growth, but will also further entrench African poverty.

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IVORY COAST HOLDS FIRST ELECTIONS SINCE POST-POLL VIOLENCE

On Sunday citizens of Côte d'Ivoire voted in the first local elections since post-poll violence that saw the death of thousands of people two years ago.

After former president Laurent Gbagbo lost the November 2010 presidential election to current Ivorian president, Alassane Ouattara, the Ivory Coast erupted into five months of violence in what is known as the Second Ivorian Civil War.

There was a low turnout of voters at Sunday's local elections as a result of a boycott by former president Laurent Gbagbo's party, thus illustrating that reconciliation in the former cocoa capital remains a distant dream.

The party of current Ivorian president, Alassane Ouattara, had warned of a rise in tension before the poll but it appears to have proceeded peacefully.

If ultimate peace does indeed prevail in the country, which had long been the jewel in France's colonial crown, it will hold the Ivory Coast in good stead in order to parallel the growth in the rest of Anglophone Africa, as the Ivory Coast is not growing at the same rate as the east.

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ALGERIA AND MOROCCO PREPARE TO OPEN BORDERS

On Sunday, the Algerian Interior Minister, Dahou Ould Kablia, said that an environment has been created which is conducive to progress on the opening of Moroccan-Algerian borders, reports AFP.

As a result of contention over the illegal occupation by Morocco of the Western Sahara, Moroccan incumbents had closed its border with Algeria.

Fast forward 20 years and it seems as if border issues between the neighbouring states are finally going to be resolved.

The closure of borders had effectively paralysed the Arab Maghreb Union.

Countries belonging to the Arab Maghreb Union are, geographically, at the top of Africa and when divided, Europe plays fast and loose in between them.

It is unknown as to how resolution will prevail as it does not appear that Algeria will withdraw its support for the Western Sahara.

This announcement by Kablia follows United States (USA) president, Barak Obama's suggestion that there needs to be a human rights component added to the United Nations Mission in Western Sahara, ultimately causing Morocco to cancel annual war games with the USA.