02 October 2021

Nigeria: At age 61, the country is beset by many problems. But there has also been progress. Though the 40% of the population living below the poverty line and the many unemployed will find it difficult to believe, Nigeria has “moved from lower income to lower-middle income status, (…) during the Fourth Republic” which started with the adoption of a new constitution on 29th of May 1999. Of late, the sharp decline in world market oil prices between 2014 and 2016 has put the economy under great stress. To tap into the country’s immense potential, better politico-economic governance is needed, says the author of this article that seems overall too little political and overly technical and growth-oriented.

Radicalisation: “(A)dults seek and maintain relationships with corporeal objects such as places and people as well as non-corporeal objects such as religious entities.” In a context of socio-political grievances, attachment disruption resp. fractured relationships may be at the root of many a radicalisation. An example is the radicalisation of conservative nationalists in Europe, the US and Australia following the influx of migrants and the normalisation of Islam in their societies. Another example is the radicalisation of Boko Haram as a reaction to the mishandling of late Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf by the authorities resulting in his death and in him becoming a martyr. For his group’s members, “(t)here was a perceived threat to their attachment, whether it was the connections they had with sacred objects (such as the Quran, Sharia Law), the need for safeguarding their ancestral lands over Western influence, or their religious and or political figure (in the person of Mohammed Yusuf), to whom they had forged their sense of identity and found a haven of safety.” According to the author, what is needed is that jihadists and radicalised people be encouraged “to detach from the attachments that no longer serve them” so that they become able “to explore new forms of meanings and relationship experiences, so as to disentangle themselves from the ties that impair their sense of self and others.”

Nigeria/deradicalization: Since a military approach cannot end terrorism, Abuja has since 2013 adopted a soft approach to the conflict in the north-east of the country. Under Buhari, this “National Security Corridor” was remodelled and renamed “Operation Safe Corridor”. Under it, a 52-week programme is administered to male defectors in Mallam Sidi rehabilitation camp (in Gombe State) and for female and child defectors in Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Centre in Maiduguri (Borno State). The articles discusses the problems that this deradicalization programme has encountered – amongst them that there are no preemptive measures to prevent radicalisation.

01 October 2021

Food price hikes in Africa: “(T)he global spike in food prices of 2007/8 (…) triggered upheavals in over 30 countries, including 14 in Africa”. Since the onset of the pandemic, the situation more and more resembles that of 2007/08, with the FAO’s Food Price Index rising from 95.8 to 127.4 between August 2020 and August 2021. Are we in for another wave of unrest?

A whole day’s The Conversation articles on Nigeria: https://theconversationafrica.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/r/B04BC794A4D71F1D2540EF23F30FEDED/084D13362212457838A555EB6E97B45B

Covid & the informal sector: The authors’ research (done on Facebook) in Burkina, Mali and Senegal shows that workers of the informal sector suffered more from the pandemic. Amongst informal workers, 48% lost their job in Burkina Faso (only 4% in the formal sector), 34% in Mali (against 8% in the formal sector) and 42% in Senegal (against 8% in the formal sector). A decreased in earnings also concerned informal workers much more: 65% reported such decreases in Burkina Faso, 76% in Mali, and 73% in Senegal.

Western Sahara: Enormous quantities of sand are being illegally exported from the Western Sahara to cater for the Canary Island tourist industry: at least 750 000 tonnes between 2012 and 2017 and 191 000 tonnes from October 2019 to December 2020. The benefits of this trade accrue mainly to Moroccan authorities and companies. While the Canarian tourist industry benefits from the low prices.