12 August 2021

Africa/Environment: The world is getting warmer (because of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities), wetter, sea levels are rising and extreme climate events (e.g. droughts) are projected to increase in both frequency and intensity. As for Africa, average temperatures and hot extremes will rise across the continent which will experience drier conditions with an exception of the Sahara and eastern Africa; the rate of temperature increase for Africa exceeds the global average; the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events will increase.

Angola: The constitution has recently been reviewed: the relationship between parliament and the executive branch has been clarified, the Central Bank has been made independent, etc. According to the article’s author, positive changes have been made – but they don’t go far enough. Most importantly, what has not been addressed are “the extensive powers of the president, the method for his election as well as the fact that (…) the way that local government is formed” has been left intact.

Niger: 5 dead after heavy rains in the capital (144 mm Tuesday/Wednesday) take the number of dead in Niger floods this year to 52 so far. 34 have been injured, over 4,000 houses and 200 huts have been destroyed. Last year’s floods killed at least 70 and affected 350,000.
BBC Africa Live 12 August 2021. 11:08

Nigeria: Shell will pay the Ejama-Ebubu community 111 million USD over an oil spill during the 1967-70 Biafran War. The case had been launched in 1991. In a separate case, Shell had earlier this year been told by a Dutch appeals court to pay compensation to Nigerian farmers for damage caused between 2004 and 2007 by leaks in the Niger Delta.

11 August 2021

Libya: They kill prisoners, intentionally kill civilians, mine and booby-trap civilian areas: the “shadowy” Russian mercenary group Wagner (which was first identified in Ukraine in 2014, has also been active in Mozambique, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Syria) first appeared in Libya in April 2019 backing Khalifa Haftar’s forces. A Samsung tablet left by one Wagner group fighter when they retreated from areas south of Tripoli and a 10-page document containing a comprehensive list of weapons and military equipment have made revelations about the group’s Libyan activities. Beyond Dmitry Utkin (an ex-Russian military intelligence man thought to have founded Wagner and given it its name) there are indications for the involvement of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a rich businessman close to Putin. “About 1,000 Wagner men are estimated to have fought with Gen Khalifa Haftar in Libya from 2019 to 2020.” Wagner, according to one of its ex-fighters “is a structure, aimed at promoting the interests of the state (of Russian) beyond our country's borders.”

Algeria: More than 100 wildfires, most of all in the Kabylie region, have killed at least 42 people. Arsonists are suspected to be behind many of the fires. The heatwave forecast by meteorologists could yet again worsen the wildfires.
BBC Africa Live 11 August 2021. 6:32

Mozambique: After the conquest of Mocímboa da Praia on Sunday, the Rwandan (and Mozambican) offensive against the Islamists of Cabo Delgado is now targeting Mbau, Siri I and II forest which is thought to be the insurgents’ most important base.
BBC Africa Live 11 August 2021. 14:11

Zambia: Amidst an economic crisis and the Covid pandemic, politics is “in decay”, Edgar Lungu’s “grip on power has increased and the quality of democracy has declined” and human rights keep being violated. The elections are permeated by politics of fear.

Zambia: According to the article’s author, the winner of the presidential elections “will face two key challenges: reviving the country’s democratic credentials and stimulating the economy”. To do this, the new president and parliament need to first and foremost 1) regain credibility with international financiers (debt is 110% of GDP and Zambia has defaulted on some of it in 2020), 2) fight corruption (which has become endemic under Lungu), 3) curtail the dominance of the executive branch of government (a constitutional reform – Bill Number 10 – trying to weaken legislative oversight over the executive has only just been avoided but will be reintroduced if Lungu wins), 4) end the reign of terror by political party vigilantes, known as “cadres” (“typically unemployed men hired to extort money, provide informal security for party elites, and disrupt opposition events”).

Environment: There is hardly any good news in the 3,900 pages of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “the peak climate science body of the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization”. The article provides evidence from all over. Climate change reaches everywhere, even the deep sea, and many changes are irreversible. It depends on what will be done by us humans: “global average surface temperature (will rise) between 1-1.8℃ and 3.3-5.7℃ this century above pre-industrial levels for the lowest and highest emission scenarios, respectively. The exact increase the world experiences will depend on how much more greenhouse gases are emitted.”