16 July 2022

Nigeria/Coconuts: Demand is booming and climatic conditions in the country are excellent for coconuts, yet Nigeria imports coconuts – 500,000 tonnes in 2021. This is set to change: In June, a coconut planting initiative has been launched – to promote the fruit as a cash crop and to reach self-sufficiency. “Everything from the husk to the flesh can be processed into a wide range of products – food, beverages, cosmetics, textiles, charcoal and even soil and energy.” Coconuts could also make a contribution to Nigeria getting away from its over-reliance on oil.

Democracy in Africa: The Africa Drive for Democracy conference, to be held in Arusha (north of Tanzania) on 20th and 21st of July 2022 is “to rebuild African solidarity around democracy”. Authoritarianism is on the advance – despite an overwhelming majority favouring democracy according to AfroBarometer. “(L)eading academics, researchers, jurists, student leaders, journalists, trade unionists, political parties and active citizens” are to participate. The Institute for Security Studies is one of the hosts of the conference.

15 July 2022

Sorghum: World-wide, wheat, rice, maize and soybean reign supreme. Indigenous foods could make food systems more sustainable, healthy and fair. Sorghum is indigenous to Africa’s savannas – archaeologists tell us it has been in use for 8,000 years or more. But it has been neglected and production has decreased a lot. Research could help to improve yields and bring down prices. Demand could be increased by relying on the marketing potential of its health benefits and its indigenous heritage, replacing its image of “beer and the ‘drunk uncle’; and poor man’s food, ‘porridge’.” Sorghum now ranks on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste which lists “artisanal products steeped in culture, but also at risk of extinction”. In South Africa – and this certainly holds for other parts of Africa too –, a strong cultural link to sorghum subsists – it is not just “a commodity, but (…) a culturally significant food that could help build resilience in local food systems”.

Nigeria/Music: The article gives an overview from the 1922 music recording in London by Fela’s grandfather (Rev Josiah Ransome-Kuti), “regarded as the first formal effort at commercialising and ‘popularising’ Nigerian music”, to the present day. The author distinguishes four periods: juju and palm-wine music (1922-44), highlife and civil war (1945-69), Afrobeat and oil (1970-99) and Naija hip hop and Afrobeats (2000-22).

SADC/Inequality: South Africa, Namibia and Zambia are the world’s most unequal countries, eSwatini, Mozambique and Botswana are amongst the top 10 of global inequality. Oxfam, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Development Finance International (DFI) have published a report called “The Crisis of Extreme Inequality in SADC. Fighting austerity and the COVID-19 pandemic”.
BBC Africa Live 15 July 2022. 17:22
Download report: https://policy-practice.oxfam.org/resources/the-crisis-of-extreme-inequality-in-sadc-fighting-austerity-and-the-pandemic-621370/

Chad: The government has announced that the national dialogue will finally be held from 20th of August onward. The junta has recently been under increased pressure to make steps towards a return to civilian rule.
BBC Africa Live 15 July 2022. 11:33