02 June 2022

Only certain refugees are welcome: Ukrainian refugees were made to feel very welcome recently, though there were many – an exception were the African immigrants to Ukraine who were refused entry into neighbouring states. Very evidently, black Africans’ “humanity is worth less than other groups.” For one thing, the pain of others elicits more emotional, more empathetic reactions “when the sufferer is perceived to be of the same in-group.” Racist stereotypes reduce the possibility of connecting humanely and as equals. “What does it mean to witness your own dereliction ignored while others are aided?” Healing from trauma “begins with another seeing our pain and responding to it in a way that communicates that we matter.”

Hunger in South Africa: Though enough food is produced, “just over a quarter of the population are still food insecure”. Over a quarter of the country’s children suffer from stunting (being short for one’s age because of long-term undernutrition). Hunger and malnutrition, partly caused by dietary and lifestyle changes, are widespread and need to be dealt with urgently. Undernourishment and micronutrient deficiencies are forms of malnutrition, but so is over-nutrition, thus overweight and obesity. The article deals with the different forms & the reasons of malnutrition and makes recommendations what measures could & should be taken.

Somalia: On the basis of a balkanized tribal political system created about two decades ago, the process which produced the new parliament and president Hassan was “profoundly corrupt”. Will the new president now “dare to introduce a transformative agenda”? If not, reconciliation and development will remain out of reach. The president’s first appointments – “sectarian” – point in the wrong direction. The article’s author lists the most important aspects of the political system that need to be changed. Hassan’s first real test will be the nomination of his Prime minister.

Elections – a global comparison of their quality: A research report makes an “assessment of the quality of national elections (…) based on nearly 500 elections across 170 countries.” The article focuses on the USA that finished bottom amongst liberal democracies, but there is a table in it with the results for the 170 countries. In Africa, Cape Verde has been ranked first, South Africa second, Namibia third, Burkina Faso fourth and Ghana fifth. At the bottom end, we find Equatorial Guinea as second-to-last, the Central African Republic next-to-last and Comoros last.

Gabon/Ill-gotten-wealth/France: Sonia Rolland “has been charged with receipt of embezzled public funds” for accepting a 750,000 USD worth Paris apartment as a present from deceased Gabon president Omar Bongo. The former Miss France says she had no idea about the source of Omar Bongo’s funds.
BBC Africa Live 02 June 2022. 5:49

Congo-Kinshasa: Bintou Keita, the UN secretary general's special representative for DRC, said that ending the M23 insurgency required “a strong military response on M23 aggression or attack; a political response by regional mechanisms; the government’s program of disarmament and reintegration of rebel groups.” Last week’s fighting displaced almost 100,000. The UN operation in eastern Congo – the largest globally with 15,000 soldiers – has been going on for more than 20 years. More than 100 rebel groups are active in eastern Congo.
BBC Africa Live 02 June 2022. 9:35

Nigeria/Boko Haram: Ansaru, a 2012 breakaway Boko Haram faction mostly active in Nigeria’s north-west and centre-west is making a comeback. It has often been engaged in abductions and has links to “bandits” and other violent extremist groups. It confirmed its allegiance to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) at the beginning of 2022. “Ansaru’s ‘hearts and minds’ approach to winning community support is perhaps the most threatening trend.” A sort of humanitarian approach including the distribution of food, clothing and cash plus the provision of essential public services in places where the state fails to do so and sometimes also the protection from “bandits” is instrumental in building a sustainable presence and facilitates recruitment.

Côte d’Ivoire/Cocoa: High cocoa yields are best insured by natural soil fertility in virgin forests. Fertility lessens after 5 to 10 years and pushes cocoa farmers to clear more virgin forests – sometimes even in national parks. Logging companies and illegal timber traders who remove trees to make way for cocoa plantations also profit. And the environment suffers. If deforestation continues at the present rate, experts think that the country’s forest cover will have disappeared by 2034.

UK/Rwanda/Asylum seekers: Several asylum seekers who have been notified that they will be deported to Rwanda have gone on hunger strike – they say that, for them, deportation is worse than death.
BBC Africa Live 02 June 2022. 11:53

Guinea: A 19-year-old who participated in protests against the increase in petrol prices – the biggest demonstrations yet since the junta took over – was shot dead by security forces in Conakry
BBC Africa Live 01 June 2022. 16:31

01 June 2022

Tigray/Ethiopia: Because of power outages, lack of fuel and a general lack of medicine and medical supplies, the Ayder Referral Hospital – the largest in Tigray – has suspended regular operations. Doctors (and other personnel?) have not been paid in over a year.
BBC Africa Live 01 June 2022. 8:35

Mali: Bamako has refuted a damning report published by Minusma last week that alleged gross and exponentially rising rights abuses by the Malian army including summary executions and forced disappearances. The ministry of foreign affairs said the report’s intention was to damage the national army’s image and “to discredit it vis-a-vis the population and the international community” while the “allegations are very often tedious, uncross-referenced, reported in non-contradictory ways, and not supported by any tangible evidence”.
BBC Africa Live 01 June 2022. 7:15

Mali: A UN peacekeeper of Jordanian nationality is the latest of 170 victims of the UN Minusma mission in Mali. His convoy “came under fire from small arms and rocket propelled grenades in the northern region of Kidal”.
BBC Africa Live 01 June 2022. 15:43

Nigeria: Because of surging crimes and road accidents and because the “the taxi riders (are) a threat to road users”, Lagos has decided a ban on motorcycle taxis in major districts of the city two weeks ago and has not started to enforce the ban. Users like motorbike taxis because they are faster than cars in the perpetual traffic jams and thousands used to make a living from it, so there is bound to be “a backlash” against the ban.
BBC Africa Live 01 June 2022. 10:22

South Africa/Cost of lockdowns: Measure the effect of three quarters of a year or more out of school on students’ learning, the authors of the article found that – concerning both mathematics and language – the lockdown “left public school learners in South Africa about a year behind previous cohorts”. Students in richer communities lost less, but even they lost around two-thirds of a school year. Special efforts now need to be made to catch up.

South Africa/Land reform: Unlike similar policy papers in the past, the ANC’s latest policy document “has a sharp focus on the key interventions to drive the agricultural and rural economy.” Agriculture is better than other sectors in creating jobs and reducing poverty. If adopted (hopefully without being diluted) as official ANC policy, it will have to be translated into concrete government policy – and then implemented. At the heart of land reform, we now find the Land Reform and Agricultural Development Agency. “The agency would bring about national coordination, reduce red tape, and become a one-stop shop for issues related to a decentralised redistribution of agricultural land.” Not to be forgotten for success in the agricultural sector are the contributions from municipalities and network industries: roads, rails, water, electricity and ports. Is all of this wishful thinking or is the article’s author’s optimism justified?