19 July 2022

Ethiopia: Right after graduation, Ephrem Belete, a graduate of computer science at Addis Ababa University, “put his cap and gown on his mother while he carried a bunch of firewood”. This was in honour of the work she did for years to get him through school. The video of this was widely shared.
BBC Africa Live 19 July 2022. 7:53

GM Cowpeas/Ghana: Cowpeas are a major protein source in Ghana and the subregion. Cowpea having been genetically engineered at the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute to resist the Maruca pod borer, has cleared the first of three regulatory hurdles when approved by the National Biosafety Authority. Now come the Food and Drugs Authority plus the National Varietal Release and Registration Committee. Since GM cowpea is first in Ghana to go through the process, it is not known how long this will take. After it come seed multiplication, packaging and distribution for GM cowpeas to be ready for the real-world test: the market, in other words producers’ demand. The price – which could be 50% higher than non-GM cowpeas – will be weighed against its advantages. With GM cowpeas still subject to pests like thrips and aphids, it is not clear by how much the use of insecticides can be reduced. Opposition by some NGOs to GM foods will no doubt also continue.

Nigeria: The famous demographic dividend is based on a high percentage of youth driving economic growth. With median age of 18.1 in Nigeria and around 70% of the population below 30 years old, will this human resource be properly harnessed and thus well used? So far, it does not look like it at all, rather, a “large population of unskilled, economically unproductive, unhealthy and poorly educated young people (will be…) a burden to society.” The right conditions for the demographic dividend to work need to be created: investment in education, health, infrastructure is needed and a reduction in fertility rates would also help.

South Africa: Mass shootings (defined as incidents with at least 3 people shot) account for about 5% of murders in 2019/20. The author, a criminologist, looks into the reasons of such mass shootings and says what the government could do against them: have gangs’ illegal firearms and ammunition confiscated by police and/or “identify and monitor the activities of groups responsible for mass shootings to secure arrests and convictions in court”, this second solution necessitating considerable crime intelligence gathering.

Digital labour platforms: Hailed as providers of employment that better suits workers’ skills, interests and schedules, they come with their problems: lack of economic security and control over the work process. Digital labour platforms are “location-based” (delivering food, taxi services, domestic work, care services) or “online web-based” (mediating tasks like data categorisation, translation, editing services). In real life, what arises is “algorithmic management” aka “algorithmic control” with the apps also “assess(ing) performance and determin(ing) pay. They have the power to deactivate or disconnect a worker from the platform”. With algorithms inaccessible, it becomes, for example, impossible for “workers to contest customer ratings”.

Mozambique: Because of the “complexity of the case”, the judge has pushed back the verdict in the “tuna bond” scandal trial originally due 1st of August to 30th of November. Amongst the 19 accused is a son of former president Guebuza.
BBC Africa Live 19 July 2022. 6:33

Zimbabwe: It was the Portuguese who brought maize with them in the 1500s and maize is nowadays the national staple. But production is slowly turning toward the traditional sorghum and millet again – they require less fertiliser, are more drought-resistant and more nutritious.

UK/Rwanda: Apparently, the UK High Commissioner to Rwanda has in 2021 advised the Home Office against an asylum deal with Kigali, criticising the country’s “human rights record and ‘heavy-handed’ security, warning a deal could ‘cause problems reputationally’.” Furthermore, it has emerged that Rwandan authorities were given the opportunity to suggest amendments to the “supposedly ‘objective, impartial and independent’ assessment of Rwanda's safety by the Home Office’s Country Policy Information Team (CPIT)”, especially also where Kigali’s human rights record was concerned.
BBC Africa Live 19 July 2022. 15:56

18 July 2022

Nigeria: The country suffers from insecurity/banditry/terrorism – the article shortly presents five articles that have dealt with the problem in the past and provides the links. The five articles try to answer the following questions: Where did it all start? Are they unknown gunmen? Who is at risk? Why have government strategies failed? Is reintegration working?

Nigeria: The uncle of Afrobeats star Davido won elections in Osun and will thus be governor of the south-western state. This was the last electoral test before the 2023 presidential elections and the opposition won. Davido had actively participated in the campaign.
BBC Africa Live 18 July 2022. 6:46

Ghana: Before the background of effects of Covid and the Ukraine war and reckless management of public finances, Accra is asking the IMF for assistance – for the 2nd time in three years and for the 17th time overall. Successive governments have lacked fiscal discipline and there is over-reliance on foreign financing (40.2% of total public debt in March 2022). Underneath it, Ghana needs to “fix the structural problems – such as its over-reliance on primary commodity exports – and live within its means”. The article makes recommendations what is to be done to fundamentally change the economy.

Ghana: In what is only the second outbreak in West Africa ever (after 1 case in Guinea last year), 2 people have died of the Marburg virus in the southern Ashanti region and almost 100 were placed in isolation. Marburg is similar to Ebola, highly infectious.
BBC Africa Live 18 July 2022. 5:08

Kenya: With prices soaring and the rains unreliable, the economy is at the heart of upcoming elections. All candidates have made unrealistic promises, “promis(ing) to create economic opportunities and lessen the suffering of ordinary Kenyans”. The article urges realism and makes concrete suggestions what needs to be done.

UK/Rwanda: The British government has been criticized by a parliamentary committee according to which there is “no evidence that sending migrants to Rwanda would deter people from crossing the Channel in small boats.”
BBC Africa Live 18 July 2022. 10:21

Niger/EU: Brussels has announced 25m euros for Niamey “to help Niger's armed forces fight terrorism and defend its territorial integrity”. The money will, amongst others, serve to build an operating base “to reduce the vulnerability of the Nigerien army in the Tillaberi region” in the country’s south-west bordering Mali and Burkina Faso.
BBC Africa Live 18 July 2022. 15:45

South Sudan: The Opposition Movements Alliance, a “coalition of South Sudan's opposition parties and rebel groups still fighting the government” as to whose representativity or importance the article gives no indication, is calling for new talks. In their eyes, the country has become ungovernable, is “at the brink of disintegrating”. Only a week ago, “the US announced it was ending its assistance for monitoring the peace process due to the country's failure to meet specified milestones.”
BBC Africa Live 18 July 2022. 14:08

Mozambique: 98 have been arrested and charged in Maputo and its suburb Matola for “acts of disorder and vandalism” at protests against high costs of living last Thursday.
BBC Africa Live 18 July 2022. 17:17