06 May 2023

Pangolin trafficking: Central Africa has become the hotspot for the killing and trafficking (to Asia) of the four species of pangolins inhabiting the African continent – who are all today endangered or vulnerable. A 2017 global trade ban and domestic legislation in Central Africa have not changed that. The meat is considered a delicacy and the scales “are thought to have magical and curative properties that drive demand for traditional medicine”. One of the problems is that authorities mostly accord low priority to wildlife crime, not considering it very serious. The article describes how the trafficking works and what should be done about it.

05 May 2023

Kenya: Mukami Kimathi, widow of Mau Mau leader Dedan Kimathi captured, tried and executed by the colonial government in 1956, has died last night. Kenyans have paid tribute to the “mother of our liberation struggle and a beacon of hope surrounding the freedom fighters and their descendants”, as the country’s vice-president put it. It is an understatement to say that Mau Mau fighters “did not enjoy the benefits of the sacrifice they made for Kenya's independence” – it took until after the year 2000 for them to be officially recognized.
BBC Africa Live 05 May 2023. 10:04

Sudan: The article is about other countries’ interest and role in the Sudan war and possible consequences. But it seems written from afar and based on abstract hypotheses.

Nigerian fuel subsidies: They cost 10bn USD a year, a quarter of last year’s budget. They are unsustainable and “lack a sound economic rationale”. It benefits the rich (who use much more petrol) most. Though removing it will make transport more expensive, it will benefit poor Nigerians if “a significant portion of the savings (is) distributed to low-income Nigerians.” The article makes suggestions how the savings could be spent productively and pro-poor, e.g., “to subsidise mass transport systems, agricultural inputs, education, affordable healthcare and low-income housing.” But it may well be that Tinubu, as he takes over, will be too afraid to rock the boat by scrapping the fuel subsidies.

Caracals in Cape Town: As “animals occupying higher positions across an ecosystem’s food web (…) are exposed to greater concentrations of pollutants than those lower down”, top predators – like caracals – have worryingly high levels of metal pollutants (and not only those) in their blood, arsenic and chromium even at toxic levels. This does not augur well for humans also as it shows “that Cape Town’s freshwater and marine systems are likely more polluted than expected”.

Musk: Civets, both male and female, produce musk to mark territory and to communicate with other civets. Ethiopia is the world’s leading producer of much appreciated civet musk, mostly harvested from civets in captivity. But production (an ancient tradition in the country) needs to be properly regulated and commercialised to become really profitable – and to ensure good conditions for the animals.

Somalia: Authorities claim that “sustained military operations” since August 2022 have reduced al-Shabab attacks by 70% and have allowed Somalis to peacefully observe Ramadan. More than 80 villages and towns are said to have been reconquered by the army.
BBC Africa Live 05 May 2023. 16:00