26 May 2022

Malaria: Africa bears 94% of cases and 96% of deaths. Of the latter, there are estimated to have been 600,000 globally in 2020. Resistance of the parasites against drugs and diagnosis is increasing and mosquitoes are becoming more resistant to insecticides. Vaccines look promising. Using artificial light to disturb anopheles’ nightly feeding pattern could add one more arrow to our anti-malaria arc. But the technique is not ready yet – it needs further research and, if thought propitious, applied in real life.

Lesotho: The country’s 2014 political crisis was resolved by means of national dialogue (supported by the international community) and mediation by SADC (Southern African Development Community). But crucial reforms have still not been voted into law – though there is agreement about the content of such reforms (curtailing floor-crossing after elections; two-thirds instead of one-half majority necessary for impeaching the prime minister; appointment of high officials and ambassadors by the prime minister based on merit, not just political affiliation; the king to be the army’s commander-in-chief; etc.) – and this is becoming urgent as general elections will be held in October. The law still being at the committee stage, elections may have to be postponed to make passing of the law before them possible. On top of this, the security sector also needs to be depoliticised – and that before the elections.

25 May 2022

Eritrea: In a clear-sighted analysis of world politics rare elsewhere, President Isaias Afewerki in a speech on the occasion of Eritrea's 31st Independence Day said that “developments in Ukraine are a continuation of a long-term Western strategy to contain Russia, and that Ukraine and its people are ‘victims’.”
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 9:13

Nigeria: Chima Williams has been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. The Nigerian lawyer helped the victims of Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary’s widespread environmental damage to bring a case before a Dutch court in The Hague by partnering with Friends of the Earth Netherlands. “(I)n January this year a court of appeal ruled that Royal Dutch Shell ultimately had oversight and control over its subsidiary's operations to the point that it had a duty to prevent oil spills” – meaning that the victims will receive compensation (amounts yet to be determined).

Traditional contraception tested: Amongst the 23 medicinal plants reported to be used for contraception in South Africa, the researchers chose a herbal mixture that is commonly used for contraception by traditional practitioners mixing three plant species (Bulbine frutescens, Helichrysum caespititium and Teucrium trifidum). The mixture was administered to rats in an experiment testing different doses. The herbal mixture was found to be safe and to have some contraceptive efficacy.

Environment/Global consciousness: The article deals mostly with the Stockholm conference of 50 years ago that can be seen as the starting point of global environmental consciousness and which resulted in the foundation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the first UN body to be located in the developing world (Nairobi). In November 2022, COP 27 will be the first such conference to be held on African soil (Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt). Africa, of course, only contributes 4% to global emissions of greenhouse gases, but bears “the brunt of their impacts, with the combined effects of severe drought, flooding and pestilence”.

Zambia: President Hakainde Hichilema announced that Zambia would be working towards abolishing the death sentence. No executions have taken place in the country since the late 1990s.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 8:37

Tanzania: At an AfDB forum in Accra, on her first official trip to West Africa, President Samia Suluhu told how it was a major challenge to make people trust her because of her being a woman. “In the course of one year I have shown women’s power”, she said, and: “I led the country the same way men did and in some circumstances better than they did.”
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 8:04

Mining/Glencore/Bribery and corruption: The chairman of Glencore has admitted that “‘unacceptable practices’ had taken place in relation to the bribery charges it pleaded guilty to at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday”. Glencore had paid bribes worth more than 25m USD between 2011 and 2016 for preferential access to oil in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and South Sudan. Glencore said that it would also pay more than 1bn USD for similar wrongdoings in the USA and in Brazil.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 7:17

Gambia: In response to the report of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, having waited to the last day of the 25th of May deadline for reacting, the “government says it is ready to prosecute former President Yahya Jammeh for what it called ‘the myriad of crimes’ he committed during his rule.” Jammeh lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2022. 13:57