09 November 2022

Kenya/Standard Gauge Railway: The new Kenyan government has just published details of the 5bn USD loan agreement with Beijing for the Standard Gauge Railway project, 3.6bn in 2014 and 1.4bn in 2015. That the former government refused to publish the details may have its explanation in the contract obliging Nairobi “to keep the terms of the of deal ‘strictly confidential’.” According to the contract, “neither the borrower (Kenya) nor any of its assets ‘would be entitled to any right of immunity on the grounds of sovereignty or otherwise from arbitration, suit, execution or any other legal process’.” That sounds as if fears were justified that the unviability of the railway and resulting failure to pay back the loan could put “strategic assets at risk of being seized”. On top of that, agreed dispute resolution terms skew adjudication in favour of Beijing, with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Committee the only arbiter and its decision final.
BBC Africa Live 09 November 2022. 7:09

South Africa/Transition to clean energy: The help promised by G7 nations at COP26 for Pretoria’s transition from coal to cleaner energies was miserly: of the 8.5bn USD, only 2.7% was to be grant money. At COP27, President Ramaphosa has called on the rich countries to do better than that – especially as total cost of moving South Africa away from coal is estimated at 98bn USD.
BBC Africa Live 09 November 2022. 4:39

Ghana: On Saturday, people had taken to the streets to protest against inflation and government economic policies. Now the Ghana Statistical Service has published a yet higher latest figure for the average annual price rise: it stood at 40.4% in October.
BBC Africa Live 09 November 2022. 15:58

Sudan: Thousands of Nuba have marched through Khartoum to protest against the “genocide of the Nuba” – they accuse authorities of supporting Arab militias to drive Nuba off their lands in West Kordofan.
BBC Africa Live 09 November 2022. 17:31

Crop pests/West Africa: Climate change may allow insects and diseases to spread and thrive in new places – especially where there are no natural predators or where unsuitable synthetic insecticides are used. With climate change accelerating, research is struggling to keep abreast of development and find adequate answers to new threats. Instead of synthetic pesticides, biological alternatives would be better to use. The author provides a list of examples, from natural predators to fungi to botanical extracts/powdered plant parts and essential oils. Also, some plant varieties are resistant to certain pests. “But much more is needed to unlock the full expertise of women and men across the continent to equip farmers with next generation tools for next generation threats.”

Nigeria/waste-picking: Working on dumpsites is hazardous and detrimental to children’s health. Government has not really tried to keep them from working there. To stop them, an integrated approach would be best which would definitely also include free and compulsory schooling for children.

08 November 2022

Armed conflict & Climate change: Armed conflict is “a critical driver of vulnerability, which makes adverse impacts from weather extremes more likely and more severe”, i.e., armed conflict further fragilizes communities already weakened by effects of global warming. Armed conflict “erode(s) local capacity to cope and adapt to environmental hazards”.

Mali: The government has denied reports of increased IS presence in the north-east of the country and of an imminent fall of Menaka – no more than anti-government propaganda trying to weaken the army. But, according to BBC, there are “nearly daily reports of kidnappings, armed robberies and livestock theft by criminal gangs that move between the volatile borderlands” and in Ansongo (south-east of Gao), CSOs have declared two days of civil disobedience to protest against government inaction against insecurity. Yesterday Monday, Tuareg self-defence group Gatia by audio message reportedly urged “members of the Tuareg community in Mali and neighbouring countries to take up arms against the IS”.
BBC Africa Live 08 November 2022. 8:48