12 February 2022

Trade in Small Arms: The highlight of the article is a map of northern, western and eastern Africa showing small arm supply routes as well as trafficking routes. There is plenty of them. Available statistics don’t capture all the trade in small arms on the continent. “Achieving more transparency in the small arms and ammunition trade would support better and more independent monitoring of the legal trade. This, in turn, would contribute to preventing its diversion to unauthorised users and traffickers.”

11 Feburary 2022

South Africa: Mandisa Maya is likely to be the country’s next Chief Justice. The article describes her career and her qualifications. Since 2016, she’s been the judicial system’s number 3, Judge President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. “Her years on the bench, including the current position, have been characterised by the championing of children and women’s rights, the poor, and many other marginalised groups.” She’s been the first woman in her present job – she’d be the first woman supreme judge. On the topic, she herself says: “I’m not here because I’m a woman, I’m a worthy judge … I’m just a good woman judge.”

Kenya: The country’s schools closed in mid-March 2020, partially reopened in mid-October 2020, fully reopened at the beginning of 2021. The damage of such school closures on pupils has been important – for many, 3 months of school closure mean they lose a whole year. Kenya has tried to provide alternative learning during school closures, especially online. Unsurprisingly, many were left behind, with poor girls in rural areas the hardest hit. The article provides more information about the deepening of the divide in the wake of the school closures.

Soapy plants: There is a natural alternative to soap: saponin-rich plants. Saponins like soap clean and act against viruses (also the coronavirus), bacteria and fungi. Though this is little known, lots of plants contain saponins – in southern Africa like elsewhere.

Ghana: A proposed 1.75% tax on all electronic money transactions above 100 cedis (15 USD) has got people protesting in Accra. The opposition is calling the tax “daylight robbery” while the government says it will help “deliver crucial services and improve infrastructure”.
BBC Africa Live 11 February 2022. 7:46

Burkina Faso: Unsurprisingly, insecurity has had dire consequences for the country’s health system. By end 2021, according to the health ministry, “444 health facilities (30.7% of the total) have been impacted by insecurity in the regions most affected by the humanitarian crisis. 149 facilities are completely closed, depriving around 1.8 million people access to health care. 96% of these facilities closed because of direct attacks by unidentified armed groups”.