10 May 2022

Health/Youth/Cell phones: Mobile health interventions offer convenience, confidentiality, and privacy and this makes them ideal venues for improving, for example, sexual and reproductive health behaviours amongst adolescents – who, in sub-Saharan Africa, have the highest rate of unplanned pregnancies with 46% of such unintended pregnancies among adolescents ending in abortion. The authors’ research found that mobile health interventions improve adolescents’ “contraceptive use, sexual health knowledge, adherence to HIV treatment, self-reporting of pregnancy, exclusive breastfeeding, delay of resumption of sexual activities for postpartum young women”. What works best is interactive interventions.

Mozambique: After a six-year suspension because of the “tuna bond” scam (with 2.7bn USD of undisclosed debts), the International Monetary Fund has now approved a 3-year 456 million USD loan to support economic recovery and reduce public debt. The IMF lending makes borrowing from other creditors possible.
BBC Africa Live 10 May 2022. 5:43

Mauritius: Parliament is discussing a no confidence motion today – for the first time in 26 years. This follows uproar because of rising prices. The opposition leader “wants the government to reverse some of its ‘unhealthy policies’ and take urgent measures to improve the wellbeing of citizens.” The debate is expected to last for more than 10 hours.
BBC Africa Live 10 May 2022. 8:42

Sudan: A UN-brokered intra-Sudanese political dialogue is to enter its second phase today. But Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) boycott the dialogue. Some think it is only “an attempt to ‘legitimise the military coup’.”
BBC Africa Live 10 May 2022. 7:44

Nigeria/Illegal refineries: Illegal refining of crude oil is dangerous and harmful to the environment. This article describes how it works and what can go wrong.

Ethiopia/Tigray/Eritrea: The present famine in Tigray is caused “by the closure of the borders of Tigray by Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali forces, reinforced by militia from Ethiopia’s Amhara and Afar ethnic groups.” The article looks at some of the history of the conflict between Eritrea and Tigray and how Eritrea at the height of the famine of the 1980s for two years cut off Tigray from supplies from Sudan – though both the Tigrayan and the Eritrean rebels were fighting Addis Ababa. Today, once again, Asmara is trying to cut off Tigray from Sudan. The article concludes that Western Tigray – claimed by both Tigrayans and Amhara, bordering Sudan – may be the most difficult issue to resolve in the present war in Tigray.

South Africa: Sociology professor Roger Southall has written a book about South Africa’s white people’s adjustment to post-apartheid democracy starting from the knowledge white practices, ideas and attitudes are not homogeneous and that, despite apartheid in the past, being white is not synonymous with being racist. Empirically, he has found that whites are “reluctant democrats” – but that “they have accepted democracy” and he therefore calls South Africa a “failed settler state” – “a liberating failure that has created the possibility for the extension of human dignity to all in the country.” While most think that apartheid was wrong and feel relieved that it is over, few take on responsibility. In this context, Achille Mbembe is quoted stating “that what is needed among white people, specifically, is a ‘politics of responsibility’.”

Somalia: There is only 1 woman, Fawzia Yusuf Adam, amongst the 39 candidates for the country’s presidency – elections are to be held on Sunday and according to the BBC’s Patience Atuhaire, the most likely to win is either the present President, Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo” or one of the two former presidents who are also candidates.
BBC Africa Live 10 May 2022. 17:22

09 May 2022

Abortion US-Africa: It seems likely that the “1973 landmark ruling (Roe v Wade) which gave women in the US a constitutional right to abortion” will be overturned in a couple of months’ time. Then, 26 US states will most likely ban abortion. “Those who are poor, young, black, undocumented or have experienced intimate partner violence will be most affected.” Overturning Roe v Wade will have effects on many an African country’s stance on abortion. As Trump’s and other Republican Presidents’ Global Gag Rule has demonstrated, with the US being the largest bilateral funder for sexual and reproductive health, “countries may use the US abortion ban to further restrict abortion access out of fear that the US global health assistance on which they depend may be reduced.” Yet banning abortion does not reduce abortions – it only makes them much more dangerous for the women and girls concerned.

Only a fruitful tree has stones thrown at it
BBC Africa Live 09 May 2022. 4:31. Proverb of the day. Sent by Dessy Scott Younglord to BBC News Pidgin

Nigeria/Stolen art: Chidi, a creative designer, founded Looty, he says, in order to digitally repatriate stolen art, transforming such art into non-fungible tokens (NFTs – similar to cryptocurrencies, but indivisible and unique). After research into potential pieces, these are scanned in their museums using mobile phones and special apps, then transferred to computers and converted to 3D, again using special apps and technology. Work began in November 2021; the formal launch is to take place on 13th of May. So far, Looty has “repatriated” 25 different pieces, including some Benin Bronzes. Only cryptocurrency can buy NFTs of artwork on the Looty website – 20% are to go to a fund that will support African artists.

Antibiotics/Uganda: Excessive use and misuse of antibiotics contributes to the emergence of resistant strains of disease-causing organisms and renders many treatments in modern medicine ineffective. Globally, “(i)t’s estimated that drug-resistant infections caused more than 1.2 million deaths in 2019. That is more than malaria and AIDS combined. And resistance contributed to about 5 million additional deaths.” And it looks like Covid made things worse. With “sub-Saharan Africa suffer(ing) from the highest rate of drug resistance-related deaths”, the article gives an overview of research into the question undertaken in Uganda.