13 July 2021

IMF: From 1980 to 2015, there were 763 IMF programmes. Of these, 512 were interrupted. Of these, 291 did not resume. The article’s two authors “show that they simply entail too many policy conditions. Even reform-minded governments struggle to implement them.” Yet interruption of an IMF programme means that investors tend to lose confidence in the concerned country. Presently, there is “a record-high number of 80 new IMF lending arrangements due to the COVID-19 crisis.” Shouldn’t the IMF be more careful with its “help”?

Mozambique: A two year military training mission has been approved by the EU to provide “capacity building of the Mozambican Armed Forces units that will form part of a future rapid reaction force”. The mission will consist in “military training, including operational preparation, specialised training in counter-terrorism, and training and education in the protection of civilians”.
BBC Africa Live 13 July 2021. 6:50

12 July 2021

Democracy: Contrary to what is usually said, there is “widespread support for a form of consensual democracy” in Africa “which combines a strong commitment to political accountability and civil liberties with a concern for unity and stability”. Authoritarian rule is generally seen as a worse option.

South Africa: South Africa’s post-apartheid national project is a success if an incomplete one if you listen to Mahmood Mamdani, “one of Africa’s leading scholars”. The project of non-racialism has “forged community beyond the ‘settler/native’ division“ and made adversaries rather than enemies out of the country’s citizens. But since the ANC has pursued predominantly neoliberal policies, the country’s race-based wealth gap is still intact, except for the upper echelons of society.

South Africa: The army has been deployed as unrest continued today Monday in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal. Since Jacob Zuma, condemned to 15 months in prison for contempt of court, handed himself in to police, at least 6 have been killed and 200 arrested.

Egypt: A bill approved by parliament makes sexual assault a criminal offence, as opposed to a misdemeanour and increases jail terms. This “follows a move last year to encourage women to report sexual harassment and assault by giving them an automatic right to anonymity.” NGOs have since reported more than 400 rapes. Sexual harassment is very common in Egypt – “women experience (it) at least once in their lives”.
BBC Africa Live 12 July 2021. 6:04

Nigeria: Two media bills, the Nigerian Press Council Bill and the National Broadcasting Commission bill, are about to restrict media freedom. “(J)ournalists and media houses who do not ‘ensure truthful, genuine and quality services’” are to be fined up to 12,100 USD. As a form of protest against the bills, you can read “Information Blackout” on Nigerian newspapers’ front pages today.
BBC Africa Live 12 July 2021. 11:11

Ethiopia: The government having come under pressure from the US seems to have shifted alliances towards China and Russia. With the latter, after three days of negotiations, it has now signed a military cooperation deal. Back to the old days?
BBC Africa Live 12 July 2021. 17:21

Ethiopia: Reporters Without Borders has called for the release of 12 journalists whose “arrests were clearly aimed at stopping independent investigative reporting on the war in the country’s Tigray region.” The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission had already drawn attention to “the detainees (not having) been granted visitation rights by their lawyer or their families.”
BBC Africa Live 12 July 2021. 14:50