17 September 2022

Dry vs. wet conditions worldwide: In this article, BBC presents soil moisture anomaly maps showing soil moisture between 1st of June and 31st of August 2022 in comparison to the period averages for 2001 through 2016. From these maps, it becomes obvious that Europe, the west of China, parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the USA are experiencing critically dry conditions. In as far as Africa is concerned, the dryness in the Horn of Africa region (eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya and Somalia) will come without surprise after news of four successive rainy seasons missed and many millions at risk of famine, but Congo-Kinshasa and Uganda are also severely concerned and, a bit less severely, western Kenya and western Tanzania. On the other hand, there has been higher than normal rainfall in South Sudan, Mauritania, Senegal and parts of southern Africa, often causing flooding.

Kenya: The economy was the primary focus of Ruto’s election campaign. He promised its radical transformation. The present economic situation of the country is characterised by “debt, inflation, joblessness and national pessimism”. The article’s author advises the new president how to rekindle the economy and how to address his five priority areas in particular: 1) agriculture, 2) micro, small and medium enterprises, 3) housing and settlement, 4) healthcare, and 5) digital superhighway and creative economy.

South Africa/Colonisation: “(O)ne of the blueprints for what we now know as colonisation was commons enclosure”. The article’s author takes the Liesbeek River site (where Amazon wants to construct its South African headquarters) as an example – there, “common land and resources (…) were enclosed and claimed to serve elite interests”. Africa was collectively treated as a commons, enclosed by the colonial masters “who imposed an individualist model of ownership and wealth accumulation at the expense of indigenous people who were living off the environmental commons”.

16 September 2022

Be slow to insult a madman who comes to your home frequently, he might be your mother's husband
BBC Africa Live 16 September 2022. 6:30. Proverb of the day. A Nyakyusa proverb sent by Palizga Wakana in Malawi.

Benin/Amazons: The Hollywood film “Woman King” is about the Dahomey kingdom’s 18th and 19th century women warriors – celebrated as “an example of ‘fierce’ representations of black womanhood, so unlike dominant popular culture stereotypes” – and its queen. Dahomey was a queendom only briefly – under Tassi Hangbé who reigned 1716-18 (and who “is sometimes credited as founding the corps” of Amazones).

Egypt: 46 activists – many of them held in pre-trial detention for several years – have been released. This comes after an announcement by the US that it would withhold 130m USD in aid “for Egypt's failure to improve its human rights record”. The country’s president keeps denying that there are political prisoners in Egypt.
BBC Africa Live 16 September 2022. 7:02

Uganda/Tanzania/EU: The EU parliament yesterday Thursday passed a resolution warning of “human rights abuses and the social and environmental risk” of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project – upon completion, this will be the world’s longest (1,443km) heated oil pipeline from Lake Albert to the Tanzanian Indian Ocean coast port of Tanga. The Ugandan parliament has condemned the EU resolution this as pure “neo-colonialism and imperialism”.
BBC Africa Live 16 September 2022. 6:37

Nigeria/Kidnappings: With the amendment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013, whoever pays ransom to free kidnap victims faces up to 15 years of imprisonment. With security forces rarely responding rapidly enough, 18m USD are thought to have been paid/collected in ransom between June 2011 and March 2020 in the country. Banning ransom payments is seen as “insensitive and impractical”. If the amendment is enforced, this is widely held to be a death sentence for the victims. As an alternative, the article somewhat naively proposes improving overall economic conditions in Nigeria (first of all reducing unemployment) and better equipping security forces (modern technology and training).

Eritrea: Asmara has recalled reservists up to age 55 to replenish the army, telling them “to bring their own supplies such as blankets and water containers”. This is seen as an indication that the Tigray conflict may escalate further.
BBC Africa Live 16 September 2022. 8:53

Somalia: With famine conditions expected to last well into 2023 and almost half of the country’s population in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, those who die “largely come from marginalised and minority groups” who neither government nor aid agencies provide for sufficiently. The article analyses the structural inequalities and power dynamics that are responsible for the Digil and Mirifle and the Somali Bantu being largely excluded from aid resources.

Architecture for hot conditions: Local building techniques using passive cooling techniques (i.e., without using energy) were often better suited to hotter climates than modern architecture using lots of concrete and glass. Now such traditions are being resurrected. A TheConversation podcast.

Nigeria/Morocco: The two countries have signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline from south-eastern Nigeria to northern Morocco to there connect with the Maghreb European Pipeline. The pipeline, which will pass through 13 countries, is to also supply West African countries with gas.
BBC Africa Live 16 September 2022. 14:07

Tanzania: Like Uganda’s parliament has done yesterday, the Tanzanian Energy Minister today criticized the EU parliament’s resolution concerning the oil pipeline project: “We will continue to make sure this project protects local communities, protects the environment, and meets our international standards” – so warnings about human rights and social and environmental harm are not called for from the EU.
BBC Africa Live 16 September 2022. 16:16

West Africa/Terrorists and digital platforms: As the internet is used for delivering propaganda, recruiting, radicalizing, inciting attacks, financing & planning operations and “social media platforms and messaging apps have become an integral part of extremists’ modus operandi”, allowing terrorist groups to reach online further than they ever could in the real world, tech companies must be persuaded to “’prevent and respond’ to terrorism online by increasing their transparency and reporting”.