18 January 2023

Algeria: Amnesty International calls for the release of Ihsane El Kadi, a journalist and government critic remanded end-December, who, according to Amnesty, is a victim of a “ruthless campaign to silence critics”. He “is accused of illegally receiving money from people and organisations ‘in exchange for carrying out activities that could harm state security’.” Trumped-up charges, according to Amnesty.
BBC Africa Live 18 January 2023. 5:35

Angola/Peatlands: Besides being a carbon sink (storing more carbon than forests), peatlands also “conserve biodiversity, purify water and reduce flooding and soil erosion” and are even good “for planting certain crops, such as potatoes and carrots.” Yet they have been largely overlooked so far – so the author, for his PhD thesis, “set out to quantify and map recently discovered peatland deposits in the (…) Angolan Highlands“, the 1,634 km² of them. Of course, “(p)reserving these important peatland deposits will help facilitate carbon capture.”

Central Africa/IDPs: The 7 million internally displaced people in Central Africa (5.5 million of them in Congo-Kinshasa) are not getting the support they need. The article’s author proposes to address this on the regional level, by adopting a protocol, a legally binding instrument. This protocol “must include a number of articles dedicated to stringent enforcement of the provisions of the Kampala Convention” which, on a continent-wide level, deals with the return, relocation or resettlement of IDPs but lacks an enforcement mechanism.

South Africa: State of the art technology was used to make Gwakwani in the extreme north of Limpopo province South Africa’s first smart rural village. The village only has 70 to 100 inhabitants. Beyond stating what was done (diesel borehole pumps replaced by solar borehole pumps; a network of taps and tanks installed; solar lights installed in villagers’ homes and solar streetlights installed; a solar bakery built; large cold storage units were; a solar-powered crèche built), the article does not tell anything about concrete results – you get almost nothing but hot air.

Equatorial Guinea: Ruslan Obiang Nsue, one of the president’s sons, is thought to have illegally sold a plane of the national airline to a Canary Island company. The 74-seater turboprop “had gone missing last year while undergoing routine maintenance in Spain”.
BBC Africa Live 18 January 2023. 10:14

Congo-Kinshasa: After the UN troops, the East Africa regional force is the target of protests in Goma. It is being accused of “inaction”. Tear gas and live bullets have been fired at the protesters.
BBC Africa Live 18 January 2023. 11:03

17 January 2023

Sudan/Turkey: In Khartoum, Turkey's intelligence chief has separately met the head of the junta and his deputy. The meetings amongst others served to express Ankara’s “support for the framework agreement the military leaders signed with some pro-democracy groups on 5 December” and which has not been accepted by important parts of the opposition.
BBC Africa Live 17 January 2023. 5:55

Malawi: Primary and secondary schools in Blantyre and Lilongwe reopen today. There are still lots of cholera cases in the country’s two main cities, but, according to the Health minister, “schools now have access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities”. More than 750 have died in the cholera outbreak which started back in March.
BBC Africa Live 17 January 2023. 4:34

Vatican/Congo-Kinshasa/South Sudan: A synodal process, a worldwide consultation, has been initiated by the pope in 2021 and will, until 2024, discuss “the fault lines in modern Catholicism”, contested issues like “women, celibacy, sexuality, marriage, clericalism and hierarchism”. Africa is presently home to close to 20% of the world’s Catholics and the church here is expanding faster than anywhere else in the world. It also looks more dynamic. The “fairly progressive” pope, very much looking to youths, women and the vulnerable, provides space for modernisation and Africanisation. With his February visit to Congo-Kinshasa and South Sudan come hopes for a bigger role for Africa within the global church, more executive functions for Africans in the Vatican, maybe even an African pontifical commission for the continent (like there was one for Latin America in 1958).

Nigeria: The current public university model needs a comprehensive overhaul. The Higher Education Bill will not fix it. The main challenges are financial sustainability, investment, alignment of courses to the country’s needs, and graduate employability. The article makes some recommendations.

Kenya: Water levels in the lakes of the Rift Valley have risen considerably since 2010, between 2.38 and 8.53 metres, increasing lake areas between 21% (Lake Naivasha) and 123% (Lake Solai), affecting an estimated 80,000 households/about 400,000 people and damaging fields and also tourism infrastructure. The article is based on research which shows that seemingly negligible increases in mean annual effective rainfall can explain important increases in the lakes’ water levels. “In the period 2010-2020, rainfall increased by around 30% for the Baringo, Bogoria and Solai catchments. In Nakuru, Elementaita and Naivasha, the rainfall increases were lower, amount to 21%, 25% and 25% respectively.”

Somalia: It looks like a response to government troops’ conquest of Haradhere port a few days ago: a military base in Hawadley town (Middle Shabelle region) has been attacked in today Tuesday morning, no doubt by al-Shabab. The jihadists have lost lots of territory since Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took over as the country’s president, but continue their bomb attacks unabated.
BBC Africa Live 17 January 2023. 8:52