21 June 2021

South Africa: According to the finance minister, of the 278 South African municipalities 163 are in financial distress, 40 are battling to deliver basic services, and 102 have adopted budgets for 2021/22 that they cannot fund. Also, “(a) growing number are (…) failing to collect revenue from residents and businesses for electricity, water and property taxes.” In towns of low service delivery, levels of investment in businesses will shrink – as shown by the recent relocation of food and beverages group Clover’s cheese production from Lichtenburg in the North West province to an existing plant outside Durban in KwaZulu-Natal due to ‘ongoing poor service delivery’.” This reduces the concerned municipality’s financial resources yet again. Farmers also suffer, as “poor roads, unreliable electricity supply and water supply directly affect the profitability and sustainability of farming operations.” The municipalities’ governance is of prime importance, as “a healthy farming sector rests on towns that are functional and that have the basics in place.”

Ethiopia: 102 of 547 constituencies will not vote in today Monday’s parliamentary elections – amongst the 102 are the 38 constituencies of Tigray. Unlike most African states, Ethiopia has a parliamentary system – the Prime minister (the President being mainly representational) will come from the winning party.
Some background on: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57102189
BBC Africa Live 21 June 2021. 5:26

20 June 2021

War on terror: In this short article, the BBC security correspondent is asking himself whether “the era of big ‘boots-on-the ground’ military deployments to distant warzones (is) coming to an end” the world over. No, he answers, “there is still a substantial commitment to fighting jihadists in the Sahel”. He mentions costs and lives lost – e.g. the more than 50 French soldiers who died in the Sahel over the last 8 years – and reputation endangered when human rights are not respected, all of which make such interventions unpopular and have prompted “a radical rethink in how these missions are conducted”.