08 November 2021

Benin: 92% of African women “live in countries which have restrictions – some moderate, some severe – on abortions.” Benin has changed its law to make abortion possible upon request during the first trimester of pregnancy. So far, only Cape Verde, South Africa, Tunisia, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Angola permitted abortion upon request. With this “groundbreaking” law, Benin goes beyond the Maputo Protocol which demands the legalisation of “medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus”. Most other African countries are still in the process of advocating for implementing the Maputo Protocol.

Zambia: “(G)ay practices cannot be condoned because the country is a Christian nation” – this is wisdom dispensed by President Hichilema who so far had seemed quite enlightened.
BBC Africa Live 08 November 2021. 8:49

Sudan: Hemeti has come out in support of coup leader al-Burhan who, he said “came to correct the course of the people's revolution, and preserve the security and stability of the country”. Yesterday (Sunday), demonstrators were teargassed and some teachers were detained.
BBC Africa Live 08 November 2021. 5:48

Informal sector: The article’s authors believe that IMF and World Bank are wrong in advocating policies to abolish the informal sector. In reality, this will neither increase tax revenue (the majority in the informal sector being survivalist own-account operators likely to be earning too little to be ‘evading’ tax in any substantial way) nor decrease inequalities. What’s needed is “focusing on progressive taxation and the expansion of social protection for the poor”, regardless of whether they are formal or informal.
“In emerging and developing countries, direct measures of informal employment show that 78.1% of all economic units are own-account workers in the informal sector. This is even higher in African countries at 87.3%. By contrast, only 4.4% are informal sector employers.
As a further indication of limited tax liability, the share of the working poor in informal employment ranges from 50.4% to about 98% in developing and emerging countries (at US$3.10 PPP per capita per day).”

Kenya/Malawi: Tea production is at very high risk of temperature extremes. Producers need long-term (tea plants have a lifespan of more than 80 years) location specific weather forecasts to select adaptations that are appropriate for their specific conditions and tea varieties. The article’s authors have developed such site-specific weather forecasts up to the 2080s.

South Africa: Less than a third of eligible voters voted at local elections, which was by no means apathy, rather a deliberate stay-away vote. And the ANC’s country-wide share in votes dropped below 50% for the first time. According to Afrobarometer, local councils are the least trusted institutions in South Africa. The provision of basic services (water, sanitation, etc.) by municipalities has deteriorated and this combines with corruption (only 27 of 257 municipalities received clean audits) and infrastructural (water, electricity provision) collapse.
Will the local election results finally jolt the political elite into action?

Malaria/Southern Africa: Three quarters of SADC inhabitants are at risk of catching malaria. In 2009, SADC established its Elimination 8 initiative. Of this coalition of eight countries four – eSwatini, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa – report very low transmission, the other four – Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are high-burden countries. The focus is on the mosquito vector including indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated bed nets. But in the face of increasing parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs, what is needed is an integrated approach and cooperation across borders. And, last but not least, any strategy needs “community buy-in”.