16 June 2021

Sudan: Choosing words that could hardly be more alarming, Abdalla Hamdok, the civilian Prime Minister, has warned of chaos and civil war: “The deterioration of the security situation is mainly linked to fragmentation between components of the revolution, which left a vacuum exploited by its enemies and elements of the former regime.” Is this a rallying call for all societal forces that brought down Omar al-Bashir by large scale and sustained peaceful resistance in 2019? Is he thus warning of the army that is still in control of the transition taking the country back to the old system?
BBC Africa Live 16 June 2021. 5:17

Burundi: BBC is once again allowed to broadcast in and from Burundi. “The BBC World Service was banned in March 2019 following a BBC Eye documentary that exposed secret detention and torture sites run by the country’s security services.” Several media banned under Nkurunziza have been allowed to reopen since Ndayishimiye became President. BBC will have to submit a request first to obtain a new operation licence.
BBC Africa Live 16 June 2021. 16:57

Congo-Kinshasa/Oxfam: 3 Oxfam staff members have been dismissed after an external investigation into allegations of abuses of power (nepotism, bullying, sexual misconduct and failure to manage conflicts of interest).
BBC Africa Live 16 June 2021. 16:00

15 June 2021

South Africa: The country’s youth unemployment rate (15 to 24 year olds) is a staggering 63%. The cliché about these young unemployed is that they do nothing and are prone to engage in crime. But in real life, “doing nothing is not a feasible option for most young people”. The article’s author’s research brought to light that most of the young engage in some economic activity, even if that activity may not be recognised as “self-employment” or “informal employment”. Examples are hustling, washing cars, fixing people’s cars as informal mechanics, renting back rooms or shacks, wiring illegal electricity connections for a fee, street-side gambling or acquiring sponsorship from NGOs or local politicians to access educational and economic opportunities. Their “informal livelihoods are embedded in networks and social relations that are critical to young people surviving unemployment.” The system works like an insurance, is based on “flexible reciprocity”, where “those who currently have money, or are employed in some form, help those who are without.”

Ghana: A so-called “Green Revolution” (relying on improved seed varieties, chemical fertilisers and other agrochemicals) started in the 1960s in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the new millennium, there has been a second wave mainly targeting Africa. In Ghana, the government, donor organisations and the private sector focused on the country’s major food producing areas, among them the Brong Ahafo region (now Bono+Bono East+Ahafo regions). But results are poor – according to the two authors of the article, “(d)espite the hopes – and hype – pinned on this second Green Revolution, it has failed to address the needs of poor farmers. It hasn’t reduced poverty. Rather, it has increased farm input costs, farmer indebtedness and inequalities among farmers.” Only large-scale commercial farmers benefit. A new approach with a local focus is needed.