African Union member states gather in Niamey to talk free-trade deal | AFP

The African Union gathers in Niamey, capital of Niger, for a summmit which the organisation hopes will pave the way towards a continent-wide free trade agreement. The AU envisions a free trade zone driving economic integration across a single African market of 1.2 billion people, expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. IMAGES

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Burkina Faso: African dolls challenge barbie stereotype | AFP

In Burkina Faso, the creators of African dolls hope that their toys will resonate more with the children of the continent than the typical blue-eyed Barbie dolls. But the uncertain security situation in Burkina Faso means that sales figures are never certain.

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From a lake high in Madagascar, Africa’s own caviar | AFP

Renowned for its unique wildlife and its vanilla production, the island of Madagascar has a new claim to fame — source of the first and only African caviar. An unlikely project in a country beset by grinding poverty, but the business’ owners are determined that luxury foods can play a part in improving the local economy.

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Fearful of elephant attacks, some in Botswana cheer hunting’s return | AFP

Botswana has just announced the lifting of the ban on elephant hunting, a highly criticized international measure rooted in the many human-animal conflicts in this rural southern African country.

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Fearful of elephant attacks, some in Botswana cheer hunting’s return | AFP

Botswana has just announced the lifting of the ban on elephant hunting, a highly criticized international measure rooted in the many human-animal conflicts in this rural southern African country.

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Africa Weekly – a round up of news and features | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly, we take you to Botswana where locals fear being overrun by the increasing elephant population, and we travel to Burkina Faso, where creators of African dolls hope that their toys will resonate more with the children of the continent.

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Penguin-cam sheds light on seabird fishing techniques | AFP

When pint-sized African penguins dive in the icy waters off South Africa’s Stony Point, there’s a good chance that hungry cormorants and shearwaters are hovering overhead. Air-borne birds remain in an holding pattern because the penguins, when they reappear, are likely to have herded a school of anchovies to within striking range.

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Ravages of time on an African cocoa plantation | AFP

Time has not been kind to Agostinho Neto. In this town in Sao Tome and Principe, a small archipelago off the coast of Gabon off Africa’s western coast and once the world’s leading cocoa exporter, former workers of colonial cocoa and coffee plantations still live on these grounds, now only a shadow of their more prosperous past.

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