05 December 2021

France/Africa: Macron’s “neo-colonial arrogance” has certainly contributed to the recent exploded unpopularity of France in Africa, but the roots of this anti-French sentiment go back to ‘Françafrique’ protecting vested interests with no regard for human rights or transparency. While Barkhane has been largely unsuccessful against jihadists, “a significant proportion of local public opinion feels that France, as a high-tech Western military power, should have been able to ‘sort’ the problem and should now get out of the way if it cannot do so.”

04 December 2021

Covid/travel bans/Nigeria: In the view of Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, a leading Nigerian public health expert, “by the time a variant is detected and announced, it has probably already spread to many unidentifiable countries”, so shutting borders will hardly stop the new variant from spreading though it will do economic harm. Only because South Africa discovered Omicron, it does not mean that Omicron originated there. Despite higher vaccination rates, “(i)f anything, Europe is the region having a rather surprising rise in cases”. The objective should be “to limit the spread of disease – not entirely discourage travel”. Plus recommendations what to do against the virus in Nigeria.

Uganda/HIV: Donors had moved out of HIV financing before the onset of Covid. With dependency of anti-HIV-programmes on donor financing still high, this has important consequences on the ground. While basic services (HIV testing and treatment) are still available, there were “substantial reductions in the scope and quality of services provided”. In concrete terms, in Uganda, changes in support by the US government’s HIV and AIDS response programme Pepfar meant that, generally, the scope of HIV services narrowed, the quality of care declined and community outreach activities drastically decreased. Conclusion: “It is clear that increasing local ownership of HIV programmes is of paramount importance.”