29 October 2022

South Africa: The coronation of King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini as Zulu king has taken place today Saturday in the main stadium of Durban.

Kenya/Pakistan: Arshad Sharif, a Pakistani journalist well-known in his country not least for his very critical attitude towards the present government, was killed in Kenya by police recently. One of the explanations of his death is that one of his many enemies in Pakistan hired the Kenyan police officers to carry out the assassination. The recent “arrest of (…) nine police officers in connection with the disappearance of (…) two Indian nationals has been seen as a landmark” and makes this explanation seem plausible. The BBC article also gives the police version(s) of the incident and provides background information about the killed journalist.

28 October 2022

Droughts without famine/Ethiopia/Somalia: Why did Somalia have a famine in the early 2010s (with 260,000 dead in 2010/11) and Ethiopia not, while both were exposed to severe droughts? Most of the difference comes from Ethiopia having a state with a better capacity to deliver services and with higher political inclusion (with “the Ethiopian government invest(ing) in social safety net programmes to feed people in the midst of the drought through cash transfers, employment programmes and food assistance”) and it also “made good use of foreign aid”. Unfortunately, “progress can be undone” – as Ethiopia’s “huge food security risks” in Tigray are presently showing.

Somalia/Famine: Baidoa and Burhakaba districts (Bay region/south of the country) “face the highest level of famine” and there is a threat that “what happened in 1991-92 and 2010-12, when famine caused hundreds of thousands of deaths” will repeat itself. The article draws four lessons from the past: international help is essential; war hinders delivery of aid; beyond the deaths, there are long-term illnesses (physical and psychological) for survivors; migration and relatives abroad (through remittances) can help.

Lesotho: Sam Matekane, the millionaire businessman who won the recent elections, has taken the oath of office as Prime minister. He’s a political novice, but many “hope his business acumen will translate to good governance and service delivery in the economically embattled country.”
BBC Africa Live 28 October 2022. 10:03

Malawi: Fighting corruption figured top in the President’s election campaign. Few would then have thought of the turn that this fighting corruption would take: not the corrupt are arrested and pursued, but “(a)t least 33 people have been arrested at (anti-corruption) demonstrations in Malawi, including the organisers, after police accused them of inciting violence.”
BBC Africa Live 28 October 2022. 17:03

Kenya: While the fire of Mt Kilimanjaro in neighbouring Tanzania has still not been extinguished, hectares of bushland have been consumed by a fire on Mount Longonot – a dormant volcano and also a popular destination for hikers. The cause of the fire is so far unknown.
BBC Africa Live 28 October 2022. 8:22

Togo: Jihadist attacks – there have been at least five in 2022 in the country’s north – have caused over 4,000 people to flee from their homes. “Togo, Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast are increasingly concerned that the jihadist threat is spreading further south from countries in the Sahel region.”
BBC Africa Live 28 October 2022. 11:44

Medical brain drain: Globally, the health workforce shortage – though still substantial – has lessened over the last decade. But the maldistribution persists: there is a “6.5-fold difference in the density of the health workforce between HICs and LMICs”. Health systems are jeopardised by the “movement of health-care professionals from LMICs to HICs, and internally from the public to the private health sector”. Medical brain drain costs a lot, first because of training costs lost, then because of additional illnesses and deaths in under-staffed health systems. Some countries have attempted to stem medical brain drain – but to really be successful at it, “the underlying social and economic issues that prompt individuals to leave in the first place” must be addressed, including “(i)nvesting in and strengthening domestic health care, providing career opportunities and attractive remuneration, and investment in research and development in a context of political stability”. By no means easy.