23 June 2021

Ethiopia: The Ethiopian air force is reported to have struck Togoga, a town 25 km from Tigray’s capital Mekelle. There were reportedly “heavy casualties” amongst civilians, a market having been hit. The government denies that civilians have been targeted.

Lake Chad: The Transaqua Project – diverting water from Congo River to Lake Chad via a 2,400km-long canal – is meant to compensate the shrinking of Lake Tchad. While the riparian states of Lake Chad Basin, the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC/Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, Central African Republic, Libya, Sudan), the African Development Bank (AfDB), Italian state-owned company Bonifica and state-owned hydropower contractor PowerChina all support the project, Congo-Kinshasa and French scientists oppose it, the latter warning that such a large-scale project could cause irreversible environmental damage in both the Congo and the Lake Tchad basins. “The Transaqua Project remains in the planning and feasibility study stage.”

22 June 2021

Gabon: 90% of the country is covered by forests – they capture more carbon than the country emits. Gabon has shown that it has managed to lower deforestation and reduce carbon emissions. It is being rewarded by the UN-backed Central African Forest Initiative (Cafi). It has received USD17m from Norway, the first tranche of USD150m, the rest being due over the next 10 years. Yet Gabon continues to harvest trees and make money from timber and “data from the monitoring group Global Forest Watch (…) shows that 2017 saw one of the highest rates of forest loss in Gabon since 2001.” Gabon’s plan to go on and now sell carbon credits to rich countries is criticized for offering a cheap way to rich countries to not reduce their carbon emissions.
BBC Africa Live 22 June 2021. 13:00

Tanzania: In 2017, John Magufuli said girls who give birth should not be allowed to return to school, reiterating a measure already introduced in 2002. Because of that policy, the World Bank in 2018 withdrew a USD500m loan to the country. After consultations with the World Bank, the education ministry has now agreed “to allow teenage mothers to attend classes at what are called Folk Development Colleges, which teach basic numeracy and literacy” from next year. “But the ban from school has not been reversed.”
BBC Africa Live 22 June 2021. 16:00

Nigeria: The Ecowas Court of Justice said the government's indefinite suspension of social media platform Twitter violates the right to freedom of expression. It has ordered authorities not to prosecute people using Twitter. But the government has in the past not respected the same court’s orders (e.g., not releasing ex-security adviser Sambo Dasuki despite being ordered to do so).

Ethiopia: The Tigray Defence Force (TDF) has re-taken several towns in Tigray – Adigrat and several towns north and south of regional capital Mekelle – and heavy fighting is reported to be going on. The Prime minister has ruled out talks with the TPLF, which in May was labelled a terrorist organisation by the government. According to Teklemariam Bekit of BBC Tigrinya, “(t)his war is set to linger for a long time, aggravating Tigray's already dire food shortages and imminent famine.”