It’s 6:30 am, some 70 km southeast of the capital, Dakar: Diambars football academy is coming to life. Students are just waking up to the competing sounds of the school bell and very, very loud crickets outside. In ten minutes they will be on the football pitch, ready for practice.
Some are blind; all are disabled. But on the banks of the river Congo, between Kinshasa and Brazzaville, they are the kings of commerce. Because they can travel at reduced prices and pay no customs duty, their handicap is a gold mine. The tradesmen use their disability to escape a life of begging.
Growth in China's manufacturing slowed in February amid efforts to curb overcapacity in some industries and cool inflation by tightening control over bank lending, two surveys showed Monday. The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers index, or PMI, slipped to 52 in February from January's 55.8 on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 show manufacturing activity expanding. There were clear signs of weakening in many components of the index, the federation said in a statement.