23 October 2021

Conservation tourism: Income and job losses have hit Africa’s conservation tourism sector most severely. There is no respite in view at least until next year. The article provides some figures and some tentative solutions.

Polluting kitchen fuels: Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) demands “to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy”. Globally, use of polluting fuels is slowly declining, but “the number of people using mainly polluting fuels in sub-Saharan Africa is rising at an alarming rate and is due to exceed 1 billion people by 2025”, with charcoal being the favourite amongst polluting cooking fuels.

South Africa: There has been little change to spatial inequalities (distribution of housing, sanitation, transport) in Johannesburg since 1994. The author has done research to discover the reasons. According to him, there are two “relatively hidden strategies that traditional white elites” used to keep their privileges: “ring-fencing”, “area-based hoarding of taxes for local infrastructure improvement” and “venue-shopping” whereby property developers, by means of construction approvals, were able to orient city development. “Fragmenting urban management (…) will only benefit the largely white wealthy homeowners and property developers”, while municipal unification (“one tax base for one city”) makes redistribution possible.

22 October 2021

Congo-Kinshasa: Pleading and threatening: protesting schoolchildren have been asking for higher salaries for their teachers, on strike since 4th of October, so that classes will reopen. Amongst other slogans, they chanted “if we don't study, we will take drugs”.
BBC Africa Live 22 October 2021. 4:41

Zambia: Changes in labour laws (banning of strikes, easier subcontracting of workers, wages no longer negotiated for the whole industry but at each workplace) have been unfavourable to workers. The article’s author studied three of the country’s largest unions to understand why, between 2016 and 2019, they could not protect workers’ wages. It seems that the unions got too close to management, were won over to the system delivering “just” results (wages). “(T)hrough framing themselves as entrepreneurs, selling goods and services on credit, unions made it possible for their members to live on lower incomes. This subsidised employers, by enabling them to pay less than a living wage.”

Surveillance: As reported by BBC yesterday, Institute of Development Studies and the African Digital Rights Network have researched privacy rights in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan. What results from this research is that “governments are purposefully using laws that lack clarity. Or they ignore laws completely in order to carry out illegal digital surveillance of their citizens.” And there is impunity. Unsurprisingly, the study also found the states investing in surveillance technology like “artificial intelligence-based internet and mobile surveillance, mobile spyware, biometric digital ID systems, CCTV with facial recognition and vehicle licence plate recognition”.

Nigeria: According to national security advisor Babagana Monguno, the recently appointed leader of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (Iswap) has been killed two days ago by security forces. Malam Bako had recently succeeded Abu Musab al-Barnawi, whose death was announced a week ago.
BBC Africa Live 22 October 2021. 17:38