13 May 2022

Debt: 22 African countries are in debt distress (e.g., Mozambique, Zimbabwe) or at high risk of debt distress (e.g., Malawi, Zambia, Comoros). Between 2012 and 2020, total external debt of African countries increased from 380.9 bn USD to 702.4 bn USD – with 119 respectively 258 bn of this owed to official creditors, creditors that have diversified and now include China, India, Turkey, the African Export-Import Bank, the New Development Bank. The amount of bonds issued by African countries has tripled over the last decade. After Covid, the effects of the war in Ukraine are likely to further increase pressure on external accounts of African states, so careful debt management is a must. For this, the authors of the article (and of the book that the article summarizes) make 5 recommendations: debt transparency; good governance; legal predictability; comparability of treatment during restructuring; and a comprehensive approach (taking social et al. aspects into account, not only financial and economic aspects).

Kenya/FGC: Anna Qabale Duba, a nurse at Marsabit County Referral Hospital (northern Kenya) has been awarded the global nursing award for her dedication to put an end to female genital cutting (FGC). Anna Qabale Duba has also set up a foundation that aims to empower young girls. This was the first ever edition of the global nursing award – 24,000 nurses from 184 countries had submitted applications.
BBC Africa Live 13 May 2022. 6:27

Mauritania: Tomoya Obokata, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery recognizes that “some progress had been made in abolishing the practice” of slavery in Mauritania, but adds that “much more need(s) to be done” and Nouakchott needs to urgently take measures to implement the 2015 anti-slavery law.
BBC Africa Live 13 May 2022. 14:41

12 May 2022

Ghana: Consumer price inflation has reached 23.6% year-on-year at in April, up from 19.4% in March. That is the highest level in more than a decade. “Trade unions have called on the government to give public sector workers a 20% cost of living allowance, an increase in the minimum wage and the removal of petroleum taxes.”
BBC Africa Live 12 May 2022. 5:11

10 African languages added to Google Translate: Several African languages were already available on Google Translate, amongst them Amharic, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Somali. 10 more African languages have now been added: Bambara (Mali, Burkina Faso), Ewe (Ghana, Togo), Krio (Sierra Leone), Lingala (central Africa incl. DRC), Luganda (Uganda, Rwanda), Oromo (Ethiopia), Sepedi (South Africa), Tigrinya (Eritrea, Ethiopia), Tsonga (South Africa), Twi (Ghana). Don’t expect perfect translations, at least for the time being, but a good basis to work from.
BBC Africa Live 11 May 2022. Posted at 19:27

South Sudan: The 2018 peace agreement has reduced violence in the civil war that had started in 2013, but implementation of the agreement has run into problems. There is little progress in the writing of the constitution, the UN’s mission’s role is not clear and the details and the timetable for elections have not been agreed upon. Nor is the context in any way conducive to free and fair elections. What a review of the UN mission concluded in 2020 still holds true: “achieving durable and inclusive peace in South Sudan requires addressing deeply entrenched power dynamics and political systems that have primarily fuelled violence rather than served to protect citizens and create conditions for them to prosper.” With the end of the transition period not even a year ahead, this will not be achieved. On top of that, elections could prove divisive. With its winner-takes-all-approach, “introducing electoral competition into war-torn and deeply divided societies has often (…) sharpened and exacerbated conflict rather than mitigated it.” The article suggests that, beyond continuing with the UN mission’s strategy of brokering local peace deals, “a formula for power sharing, irrespective of who wins, should be worked out before elections are held.” If not, increased violence or the return to full-scale civil war could result.

Rwanda: Protais Mpiranya, who had played a major role in the 1994 genocide as the then head of the presidential guard (he is thought to have ordered the murder of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and other moderate senior Rwandan leaders and also of 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers), had been indicted more than 20 years ago by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He has now been confirmed to have died in Zimbabwe in 2006.
BBC Africa Live 12 May 2022. 15:26

Rwanda: ISS’ senior researcher Liesl Louw-Vaudran will on 18th of May discuss on Zoom with author and journalist Michela Wrong who’s book Do not disturb – the story of a political murder and an African regime gone bad ”deals with the complex web of loyalties and political intrigue in Rwanda and beyond”.

Uganda: Museveni’s regime at its most typical: Dr Kizza Besigye, many times unsuccessful opposition candidate at presidential elections, “was blocked from leaving his home as he attempted to start protests against the government over the rising cost of living.”
BBC Africa Live 12 May 2022. 13:46