17 June 2022

Forecasts/ISS Data Platform: Forecasts for 14 sectors for all African countries and regions up to 2043, the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term vision for Africa. Visit the site at futures.issafrica.org. Seminar/webinar on 22nd of June from 10:00 to 11:30 UT – registration needed.

Public health emergencies: The World Health Organisation (WHO) is sceptical with regard to plans to give Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the power to declare a public health emergency as such declarations can “trigger huge implications on African countries”.
BBC Africa Live 17 June 2022. 7:13

Migration from West Africa: According to the article’s author’s research, climate change, overfishing and COVID are triggering factors for the recent increase in migration to the Canary Islands especially from Senegal, but also from Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco and even Côte d’Ivoire. Migration promises social advancement, is attractive especially for youth. Resulting remittances help families back home. 23,023 reached the Canary Islands in 2020, “757% more than the previous year”. They were almost as many in 2021 – 22,316. For 2020, you need to add “about 1,500 (who) stayed on the road and about 600 (who) died through drowning or dehydration.”

Nigeria: More than 1 in 5 deaths of women because of pregnancy and childbirth complications is Nigerian. The maternal death rate was a staggering 512 per 100,000 live births in 2018 and 39 of 1,000 babies born alive died within the first four weeks of life. The article’s author’s research in tertiary (the highest) level hospitals found the following main factors behind mothers’ and children’s deaths: low education in the mother; lack of antenatal care; referral from another facility; previous Caesarean delivery; non-use of a labour monitoring tool; lack of a companion in labour; failure to give the mother an injection to stop bleeding after birth. Eclampsia (convulsions as a result of high blood pressure) accounted for 20.6% and bleeding after birth for 11.4% of the mothers’ deaths. It is urgent to improve on this – the article makes suggestions how.

Nigeria: The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation estimates losses by theft to have amounted to 4bn USD in 2022 – 200,000 barrels per day – and to 1.5bn USD so far this year.
BBC Africa Live 17 June 2022. 13:36

Makerere/Uganda: The halls of residence of renowned Makerere University in Kampala nurture different cultures and traditions – some (e.g., Lumumba Hall) being known as sociable and activist, others (e.g., Livingstone Hall) as academically minded and respectful. This is the case despite assignment of students to halls being random. By means of interviews with 3,000 present-day and 1,000 ex-students (since 1970), research tried to find how the university halls pass on their culture and also how long-lasting the effect is (it wanes over time).

Rwanda: The government’s spokesperson has called criticism of Kigali’s plan to accept UK asylum seekers “insulting” for a country that has made “tremendous progress”, as if living in Africa was punishment.
BBC Africa Live 17 June 2022. 7:49

Congo Basin/Peatlands: A giant slab of peat believed to be larger than England stores around 30 billion tonnes of carbon and is thus of immense importance for climate change. The peat must not dry out, or it’ll be destroyed. Threats come from deforestation, climate change (longer dry seasons) and oil exploitation: Congo-Kinshasa has recently “announced an auction of land that is to be developed for oil production” and Congo-Brazzaville has “begun parcelling out blocks of land and looking for potential investors”.

Mozambique: A graphite mining project in southern Cabo Delgado province run by Triton Minerals Ltd., an Australian firm, was attacked on 8th of June and two of its staff were killed. The Islamic State says it was behind the attack. The south of Cabo Delgado province has only recently been targeted by terrorist attacks.
BBC Africa Live 17 June 2022. 17:34<

16 June 2022

Ghana: If Ghana counts as a model democracy, it is “partly because its constitutional arrangement appears robust and open to revision. It nurtures competitive politics and has dispute resolution mechanisms.” Yet the power of the executive needs to be tamed further and for this, in the author’s view, civil society needs to weigh in more on the public sphere. The author remains totally vague how strengthening civil society should be achieved. That it needs to increase its influence urgently is “because the state does not have the capacity – or the willingness – to keep itself in check.”

South Sudan: Food insecurity has reached unprecedented levels because of conflict, climate change, Covid-19 and rising cost of living – food prices have increased by 17% month-on-month in May. On top of that, with the world focussing on Ukraine, the World Food Programme lacks funds and has had to reduce its food aid.
BBC Africa Live 16 June 2022. 6:55

South Africa’s Grass Roots: Today Thursday, on the 46th anniversary of the Soweto uprising (celebrated as National Youth Day), it is important not to sacralise the event, says the article’s author, but to see it as an alternative form of politics. “By gathering and marching together, and by acting together they constituted themselves as political agents – as people who already possessed the kind of agency that the apartheid state denied they could ever claim.” This is where the true roots of democracy lie. In post-apartheid South Africa, the shack-dweller movement Abahlali baseMjondolo or the Treatment Action Campaign achieving provision of ARVs or labour activism changing the platinum industry are more recent examples of such popular democracy. 1976 Soweto was an antecedent of such politics made by the people.

Human-wildlife cooperation/Mozambique, Cameroon: Long ago, “people cooperated with orcas to kill whales, and with wolves to hunt large mammals” and to this day humans and dolphins cooperate in Brazil and Myanmar. In Northern Mozambique and in Cameroon, humans cooperate with birds, the so-called honeyguides (Indicator indicator) to find wild honey. The humans harvest the honey and the honeyguides feast on the beeswax and larvae. The bird’s guiding behaviour (“(i)t approaches people and chatters and flies in the direction of a wild bees’ nest, urging the person to follow”) seems to be innate in honeyguides. But for different reasons, this bird-human cooperation is much less practiced nowadays. The article’s authors think it is time for a revival.

eSwatini: There is no progress towards democratisation or a resolution of the country’s political crisis – demonstrations continue “and the security forces continue to carry out illegal detentions and torture against protest leaders.” SADC, meant to be a mediator, seems to have no influence whatsoever on what is going on. Allegations by the regime that the pro-democracy/anti-monarchy movements are foreign sponsored could demotivate SADC – traditionally very sensitive in what regards foreign meddling – further. But SADC must push for the promised national dialogue.