26 July 2022

Cryptocurrencies: They give “everyone with access to a mobile device and internet connectivity the opportunity to engage in activities similar to those conducted through financial institutions and intermediaries. That includes payments, sending remittances and making investments.” That is the reason for their success in Africa. 8.5% of the population in Kenya, 7.1% in South Africa and 6.3% in Nigeria’s are using them and bitcoin has been adopted as legal tender by the Central African Republic. There are risks associated with them, on the micro level, volatility is one of them, on the macro level, if many people use them, the state or its central bank loses some of its control over the money market plus capital flight becomes even more difficult to counteract. According to the article’s author, cryptocurrencies are here to stay in Africa and thought needs to be given to how to regulate them.

Renaissance Dam/Ethiopia/Egypt/Sudan: The article gives a very brief overview and provides the links to five articles on the controversial dam from the archives of The Conversation. The roots lie in colonial time treaties. Could the dam cause a “water war”?

South Africa: The country’s worst power cuts ever have prompted the president to announce “a raft of interventions aimed at solving South Africa’s energy crisis”, centring on getting the state-owned company Eskom on its feet again and adding other sources of electricity.
BBC Africa Live 26 July 2022. 5:49

25 July 2022

Central Congo Peatlands: Covering 16.7 million hectares and of astonishing thickness, the “sensitive peat swamp forests (…) store even more carbon below ground in their soils than is held by the trees above.” But one million hectares of this peat swamp forest of Central Congo is up for sale in the form of oil concessions in Congo-Kinshasa. According to the article’s authors, this could release 6 billion tonnes of CO₂ – 14 years of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Kenya/Somalia: Khat is back – the first plane carrying the” narcotic leaf” has landed in Somalia after a two-year pause because of diplomatic tensions between the two countries. An agreement between the new Somali president and a Kenyan president at the end of his tenure allowed resumption of a trade that is worth millions and millions of dollars.
BBC Africa Live 25 July 2022. 8:32

Tanzania/Kenya: Maasai are to be moved in Tanzania because it is thought that they disturb wildlife. Events around that eviction prompts the author of this article to remind us of what happened to the Maasai in neighbouring Kenya when it was still a British colony. Maasai were then forcibly resettled because whites wanted their lands. In 1913, “the Maasai took their case to the High Court of British East Africa”. They finally lost – “on a technicality.” But this was probably “the first time (…) that an indigenous people in Africa had taken such legal action against a colonial power.”

South Africa: Starting 1st of September, the country will for the first time have a woman deputy chief justice. On the basis of the Judicial Service Commission’s recommendation, the country’s president nominated Mandisa Maya who has so far been head of the appeals court.
BBC Africa Live 25 July 2022. 9:04

South Africa/UAE: The formal procedure of extradition of the “State Capture”-Gupta brothers from the United Arab Emirates has been initiated with South African authorities “serving a formal extradition request to prosecutors in Dubai”. They fled South Africa in 2018 after investigation into their involvement into state corruption started.
BBC Africa Live 25 July 2022. 13:12

Congo-Kinshasa: According to Human Rights Watch, the M23 armed group (which Rwanda has been accused of supporting) “has summarily executed at least 29 civilians” in North Kivu province in the country’s east over the last month. They were suspected by M23 to be army informers.
BBC Africa Live 25 July 2022. 10:52

Congo-Kinshasa/UN: Monusco, the UN mission to the country, has been invited by protesters to leave the country and it has seen its premises in Goma vandalised and looted. The largest or second largest UN force globally with about 15,000 personnel, present in eastern DRC for now more than two decades, peace and calm remain elusive.
BBC Africa Live 25 July 2022. 15:30

Russia-Africa: This short article points the way (providing links) to five articles published by The Conversation in the past dealing with relations between Russia and Africa. In October or November, a 2nd Russia-Africa summit is to be held in Addis Ababa (the 1st one was held in Sochi in 2019).

Trafficked children: The article explains why trafficked victims and especially children find it extremely difficult to disclose what has happened to them – Mo Farah is a recent and very prominent example.

Angola: Remote from normal life but omnipresent: José Eduardo dos Santos built a “paranoid and authoritarian political system”, people were afraid and yet he also “inspired loyalty”. His legacy is most ambivalent. He did, for example, not manage to get the economy away from over-reliance on oil. Now that he is dead, his successor would like to instrumentalise him, João Lourenço has declared 7 days of national mourning. Dos Santos’ children have agreed to a state funeral – but only after the elections or else it would mean to much of an advantages for his successor at the elections.