19 February 2023

Ghana: The country is desperately short of cash and in the middle of a cost-of-living and economic crisis, but that doesn’t stop its president to push ahead with plans for a 5,000-seat, multi-million dollar National Cathedral. Though donations are to finance most of it, the government has already spent some 58 million USD on the project. Amidst allegations of misappropriation of funds and dispute over the fee paid to British-Ghanaian star architect David Adjaye, parliament in December refused to approve another 6.3m USD for the project. Critics say that “tax-payers’ money should not be used fund a personal pledge to God” and that it is a “vanity project” like Houphouët-Boigny’s Basilica in Yamoussoukro in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire. As to project advocates’ comparison with European cathedrals, many centuries have passed since those were constructed. The funds that parliament has refused need to be found elsewhere, making it unlikely Akufo-Addo will be able to inaugurate the cathedral before he’ll leave office next year.

18 February 2023

A renaissance of non-alignment: With the original 1955 Bandung movement having run out of steam, recent impulses for up-to-date versions of non-alignment have mostly come from Latin America and South-East Asia while African voices have largely been absent from the debate. In December 2023, Uganda will take over the rotating chair of the Non-Aligned Movement for three years. “Strengthening the organisation into a more cohesive bloc, while fostering unity within the global south, is a major goal of its tenure.” To reach a Pax Africana, the article’s author advocates dismantling US, French and Chinese military bases and ending Russian military presence and instead “building local security capacity in close cooperation with the UN;                promoting effective regional integration; and fencing off the continent from meddling external powers, while continuing to welcome trade and investment from both east and west.”

AU/Israel: In recent years, Israel has tried to gain ground in Africa. In 2021 it obtained observer status at the African Union – “but this decision was queried, with Palestinians urging a rethink, and a committee was formed last year to look at the issue.” At the opening of the annual AU summit in Addis today Saturday, Israeli diplomat Sharon Bar-li was escorted out of the congress hall by a security guard. A spokesperson of the Israeli foreign ministry blamed Algeria, South Africa and other such “extremist countries”, “driven by hatred and controlled by Iran”. Rather undiplomatic language, it seems…
BBC Africa Latest Updates 18 February 2023. 13:11