31 January 2022

Eritrea: The country has somewhat broken out of international isolation with peace concluded with Ethiopia. It then clearly sided with Addis to fight its arch-enemy, Tigray’s TPLF. To better its own position, “Asmara’s best-case scenario is a prolonged, unresolved conflict in Ethiopia in which the presence of Eritrean forces and political support are still required by Addis Ababa.” But if Addis and Tigray do negotiate and reach an agreement, Asmara could find itself out in the cold once again.

Zambia: The very controversial Kangaluwi open-pit mine project in the Lower Zambezi National Park is to go ahead despite opposition by NGOs and ecologists. According to the Minister of the environment, “after exhausting legal processes and the courts dismissing an appeal to stop” the project, Zambia had “no option but to monitor the situation and ensure the developer operates within strict conditions.”
BBC Africa Live 31 January 2022. 17:37

Congo-Kinshasa: Dubai Port World will construct the country’s first deep-water port, the port of Banana on “a narrow strip of land with the Atlantic Ocean, on one side and the Congo River on the other”. The port is a 1bn USD project, according to the plan, the first phase will be completed in three years. So far, the country is relying on its neighbours “for the docking of sea-liners and container ships”. Hope is that imports will get cheaper.
BBC Africa Live 31 January 2022. 17:50

30 January 2022

Patent-free cheap Covid vaccine that can be stored in a normal refrigerator: The vaccine could reduce world-wide vaccine inequality substantially. “CORBEVAX was developed by the co-directors of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine, Drs. Maria Elena Bottazzi and Peter Hotez.” Corbevax has already been licensed patent-free to India’s largest vaccine maker BioE where production is to top 100 million doses per month from February 2022 onward.

Antimicrobial resistance: According to a recent paper, resistance of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi) to the drugs designed to kill them now kills more people than malaria and HIV/AIDS together. Even everyday bacterial infections could become life-threatening again.

Ethiopia, Mali, Guinea: Because of human rights violations or coups, the three countries have lost their tariff-free access to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2021. Granting or withdrawing admission to AGOA is entirely at the discretion of Washington. But their suspension may have little effect on Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea, as they found it difficult to access the US market despite AGOA and the share of the USA in their exports has been falling before their suspension from AGOA. For Mali, it had always been almost insignificant.