11 June 2021

Mozambique: Insecurity in Cabo Delgado in the country’s north continues and “thousands continue to flee”. According to UNHCR, “people have reported ‘regular gunfire at night and torching of houses’.” The number of displaced is thought to have reached 800,000 in the meantime – to other parts of Mozambique and also across the border, to Tanzania. For those “stuck in Cabo Delgado”, humanitarian aid access is restricted. UNHCR “was allowed into some of the areas and has distributed relief to 10,000 people.”
BBC Africa Live 11 June 2021. 13:15

Zambia: The Constitutional Court has declared that Edgar Lungu is serving his first term (2016-21) and can thus run for presidency in August’s elections. At his predecessor Michael Sata’s death, he had served as president for the remainder of Sata’s term – but the Constitutional Court has decided that that does not count as a first term.
BBC Africa Live 11 June 2021. 15:21

South Africa/Privatisation: 51% of South African Airways, the struggling national airline, are going to be sold to the Takatso Consortium for around USD220m. Takatso Consortium is made up of Harith General Partners (a “largely black-owned” fund manager that specialises in infrastructure development in Africa and also owns Lanseria International Airport) and Global Aviation, a local airline “that boasts itself as ‘the Uber of airlines’.”
BBC Africa Live 11 June 2021. 9:57

Ethiopia: The electoral board has postponed elections in Somali and Harari federal states to 6th of September, citing “irregularities and problems with the printing of ballot papers”. There is no date set for elections in Tigray. Elsewhere, elections will be held in 10 days’ time.
BBC Africa Live 11 June 2021. 8:23

Kenya/Somalia: In a move that could “could pave the way for normalisation (of) bilateral relations”, Kenya has lifted its month-old ban on flights to and from Somalia. The ban had hurt Kenyan khat farmers for whom Somalia is the biggest market.
BBC Africa Live 11 June 2021. 4:33

10 June 2021

Zimbabwe/Tsitsi Dangarembga: The writer, a fierce critic of the government, is the winner of this year’s Pen Pinter Prize and “will be speaking at a ceremony hosted by British Library and free speech campaigners English Pen on 11 October”. In 2020, “Mournable Body”, her latest novel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
BBC Africa Live 10 June 2021. 6:05

Big irrigation: Food security, poverty reduction, increased economic growth – the objectives of big irrigation projects in Africa have not been attained. The article’s authors’ research into big irrigation schemes over the last 70 years found that they “deliver on average only 18% of the irrigated production area they originally propose” and this has not gotten better with time. Politics and management were the main causes of failure. Donors have preferred big schemes because they “seem to be less complex technically and logistically than a multiplicity of smaller scale initiatives”. But many a government agency lacks “the technical and institutional capacity needed to manage such large-scale projects”. Small-scale, farmer-driven irrigation will “be several orders of magnitude cheaper than large schemes” – so go for them!

Nigeria: The article’s two authors diagnose Nigeria with a violent setup. According to them, this “is partly why the Biafran question remains an open sore”. Igbo grievances have been answered by a police relying exclusively on brute force. Recently, Buhari’s aggressive anti-Biafran tweet had Twitter delete the tweet and temporarily lock his account. After revisiting briefly the Biafran war (1967-70), the article states that “(t)he feeling of desertion by the central government has never left Biafra”. Does the Nigerian state need to be reinvented? Has it failed?