26 November 2021

Covid & the poor: The article’s authors present their research on the effects of Covid measures on the poor in five countries: Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia. Al five have large informal sectors and low social protection coverage, in all five, the agriculture sector did not suffer from the pandemic, while services suffered a lot. Covid effects varied widely. In Ghana for example, “(p)ausing the large national school feeding programme dwarfed the positive impact of other policy measures”. Except for stating that in future, more needs to be done to cushion shocks like the pandemic, the article does not tell much about the study’s results – maybe looking at the study itself would help (https://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/Publications/Working-paper/PDF/wp2021-148-mitigating-role-tax-benefit-rescue-packages-poverty-inequality-Africa-COVID-19.pdf)

South Africa: Thula Simpson has just published “History of South Africa from 1902 to the Present”, 600 pages about the country’s history that puts black people at the centre – since 1902 only, forgoing older periods, thousand-year-old trade routes, the Bokoni, “a pre-colonial mixed farming society” and others. The article gives a short overview.

South(ern) Africa: France, Kenya, Britain and some others have suspended or restricted flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries because of a new coronavirus variant, B.1.1.529. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, is sure that “imposing restrictions such as banning flights is unlikely to reduce the spread of the new variant” – abiding by public health measures such as wearing masks would work better.
BBC Africa Live 26 November 2021. 11:43
BBC Africa Live 26 November 2021. 11:13
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Libya: A hearing before a Libyan court concerning the rejection of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s candidacy for the presidential elections of December was interrupted when militiamen stormed the court and forced judges and court employees out at gunpoint.
BBC Africa Live 26 November 2021. 10:32

Sudan/West Darfur: Inter-communal fighting – herders vs. farmers – has left 43 or more dead, thousands displaced and at least 40 villages burnt and looted.
BBC Africa Live 26 November 2021. 6:32

Zimbabwe: On the basis of a good harvest and higher global commodity prices, the government is expecting more than 7% growth in 2022. According to the budget, it will double government expenditure, with increased spending on social services, 14% going to health.
BBC Africa Live 25 November 2021. 17:36 25 Nov

Covid & violence against women: A study commissioned by UN Women found that violence against women has become a “shadow pandemic”. “One in two women report that they or someone they know have experienced violence since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.” In Kenya, instead of one in two, it was 80% of women.
BBC Africa Live 25 November 2021. 16:37 25 Nov

Gambia: The 17-volume report, result of the hearings at the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has been handed over to President Barrow. The findings have not been made public. The head of the commission in charge of the report thinks that those responsible need to be prosecuted. “To forgive and forget with impunity the violations and abuses... would not only undermine reconciliation but would also constitute a massive and egregious cover-up of the crimes committed”.
BBC Africa Live 25 November 2021. 16:22 25 Nov

25 November 2021

Violence against women and children in South Africa: An ISS report – downloadable under the given link – presents comprehensive evidence “of interventions in South Africa to prevent violence against women and violence against children, that were documented between 1999 and 2021. It identifies and distils principles, approaches and activities that hold promise for effectively reducing violence experienced by women and children in South Africa.”

South Africa:  The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have backed Mpho Phalatse of the Democratic Alliance (DA) so that he could be elected Johannesburg mayor, thus prevailing against ANC candidate Mpho Moerane.
BBC Africa Live 23 November 2021. 11:17 23 Nov

South Sudan: While the transitional unity government will be two years old soon, only a bit more than one year remains for reaching the objectives laid down in the 2018 peace agreement. On 1st of December, ISS is holding a Zoom seminar on “what needs to be achieved in the next year, the realities within which the peace agreement is being implemented and how various actors and warring parties have adjusted to the power-sharing arrangement”.

Somalia: With the drought worsening (rains have failed three times), the Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency. According to the UN, 3.5 million are already in a situation of acute food insecurity
BBC Africa Live 24 November 2021. 6:39 24 Nov

Somalia: Meeting the 24 December deadline for the presidential elections will hardly be possible. Even if some progress has been made, it is minor. Which is no surprise, seen that there are quite a few “stallers”, first and foremost the still-president Farmajo (who is not sure at all he will win at the elections, though he would be allowed a second term). If nothing advances, the political opposition could get frustrated and tensions could explode.

eSwatini: The 2021 protest movement, according to the article’s author, is a pure “youthquake” – frustrated youths try to change the political system so as to participate. The constitution-making which started in the 1960s has never been finished. Support comes from the outside – the US and EU called for freedom of political expression in the Africa’s last absolute monarchy. Will the upcoming National Dialogue Forum be able to introduce meaningful changes?

Nigeria: The leaked Lekki massacre report is a fake. So says Information minister Lai Mohammed. Hear hear!
BBC Africa Live 23 November 2021. 10:41 23 Nov

Nigeria: After 2005 and 2008, the country is experiencing its third inflationary bout of food items of the last two decades. Food is cheaper in the north, more expensive in the north. The difference in prices can be explained by the cost of diesel – almost all of it imported. It is not the farmers up north who gain from the higher food prices in the country’s south but the diesel producers or importers. Now Dangote wants to build the world’s largest refinery. Though this is good news for the Nigerian trade balance and its forex reserves, the overall effects remain to be seen.

Tanzania: For almost 20 years, pregnant students had been banned from attending school. Around 6,500 girls dropped out of school every year due to pregnancy. On Wednesday, Education Minister Joyce Ndalichako has announced the decision to remove the ban.
BBC Africa Live 25 November 2021. 12:18

Gambia: The country's Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission has said it will submit the report on human rights violations during the 22-year rule of Yayha Jammeh to President Adama Barrow today, Thursday. Barrow then has one month to study it before submitting it to Parliament. “The president is also expected to issue a detailed outline of how the government plans to implement the recommendations of the findings within six months.”
BBC Africa Live 25 November 2021. 10:05

Burkina Faso: The governments suspending mobile internet services for 4 days, then extending the suspension for another 4 days does not go down well with the concerned.
BBC Africa Live 25 November 2021. 5:49
BBC Africa Live 9:11 24 Nov

Ethiopia: The UK is urging its citizens to leave (has even suspended Covid regulations for returnees), the US embassy warns of possible terror attacks in Addis, and according to the French embassy, “(a)ll French nationals are formally urged to leave the country without delay”.
BBC Africa Live 24 November 2021. 17:32 24 Nov
BBC Africa Live 24 November 2021. 14:03 24 Nov
BBC Africa Live 23 November 2021. 14:02 23 Nov

Ghana/Poetry: British-Ghanaian poet Dzifa Benson has been awarded the 33,000 USD-worth Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship, the most important British poetry prize.
BBC Africa Live 24 November 2021. 16:31 24 Nov

Sudan: Coup leader Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok but protests are continuing, demanding that the military completely withdraw from politics. The US wants to see more progress (e.g. the freeing of political prisoners) before resuming aid. According to Hamdok, investigations into violations against protesters since the 25 October military coup have been launched. Furthermore, all appointments made during his detention will be reviewed.
BBC Africa Live 24 November 2021. 11:10 24 Nov
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BBC Africa Live 23 November 2021. 5:29 23 Nov
BBC Africa Live 22 November 2021. 15:00 22 Nov

Mozambique: After a suspension of nearly 2 years, the collection of crocodile eggs is to be resumed along Zambezi River so as to reduce crocodile attacks on people. Environmentalists say this could endanger biodiversity.
BBC Africa Live 23 November 2021. 17:03 23 Nov

Liberia: 7,000 women have shown up in Monrovia for pre-recruitment physical training for 100 women (among 200 personnel) to be recruited by the army.
BBC Africa Live 23 November 2021. 16:46 23 Nov