05 October 2021

East Africa/droughts: Up to 1999, linked to the natural, recurring La Niña phenomenon (cooling of ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific) droughts would happen “once every five or six years. But since 1999, poor March to May rains are coming every two or three years”, as the climate change-induced warming of the West Pacific tends to reduce rainfall in eastern Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. The article’s author predicts another bad drought for 2021/22 – early action is needed. The author gives examples of action needed: “providing cash to vulnerable farmers and pastoralists; distributing drought-tolerant seeds; conducting animal health treatment campaigns; providing livestock supplementary feed; providing schools adequate drinking water; assisting families with cash payments so they can afford to keep their children in school.” The time to act is now.

Male violence/South Africa: In the author’s opinion, “to change male violent behaviour towards females, there is a need to focus on changing male thought patterns that drive gender-based violence and femicide.” For example, women and girls being seen as ‘property’ fosters an entitlement mentality. Men and boys need to be resocialised. To start this, the curricula from primary to tertiary education could be changed.

Refugees & Self-reliance: Immediate needs often eclipse the overall aim of work with refugees: self-reliance/a new life in a new community with dignity. To help evaluate work with refugees, a tool has been developed: the Self-Reliance Index, officially launched in 2018. Easy to handle, this tool is available for free download on the Self-Reliance Index website (https://www.refugeeselfreliance.org/self-reliance-index). Note that the index has not been developed for high-income contexts/countries – in Africa, it is being used in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.

04 October 2021

Coffee: World market prices have doubled over the last twelve months and may go on increasing. Increased use of Robusta (less expensive and of lesser quality) may partly cushion consumers against the increase. The article goes into the reasons and the history of price fluctuations. For its author, the big question is whether “the smallholders and subsistence farmers who make up 95% of coffee farmers” will benefit from the higher prices.

Libya: A fact-finding mission of the UN, the first ever, concludes “that violations which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed across the country” and accuses all parties of the conflict (also other countries, foreign fighters and mercenaries) of “major violations”. The fact-finding mission’s list of the people responsible of the worst violations will remain confidential.
BBC Africa Live 04 October 2021. 13:46

Nigeria: Doctors will be back working on Wednesday after a strike against poor pay/allowances and lack of insurance cover that lasted for two-months. Their union “is giving the government another chance to meet its demands”. The government had threatened them with punishment unless they returned to work. A court order to return to work had been appealed by the doctors.
BBC Africa Live 04 October 2021. 10:17

Algeria: Income tax will be reduced to mitigate the effect of rising food prices and food price controls are to be tightened.
BBC Africa Live 04 October 2021. 6:04

Sudan: A two-week blockade of the country’s main port – Port Sudan – has caused a shortness in essential medicines, fuel and wheat. The government has promised the protesters “to work on a solution to the economic and political marginalisation of eastern Sudan”.
BBC Africa Live 04 October 2021. 4:32