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.”

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