30 March 2021

Africa’s elephants: Since 1990, Africa’s savanna elephants have decreased by 60% and forest elephants by over 86%. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now classifies savanna elephants as ‘endangered’ and forest elephants as ‘critically endangered’. “Habitat encroachment, increased human population densities, urban expansion, agricultural development, deforestation and infrastructure development are all reducing African elephants’ rangelands”. Added to this comes (over-)hunting for ivory. Efforts to stop illegal trade in ivory and thus poaching need to be maintained. “Innovative work with communities in countries such as Namibia and Kenya to enhance people’s livelihoods by developing wildlife-supported economies has led to the protection of enormous tracts of lands as conservation areas. And researchers and conservationists are working to find solutions to conflicts between human activities and elephant needs that can be applied across Africa.” Forest elephants “are among the slowest-reproducing mammals on the planet. This means that even if they receive adequate protection, their recovery will take decades.”

Fresh Water Fish Farming: Fish farming at sea is attracting a lot of attention, but freshwater fish farms are more interesting: freshwater aquaculture suffers from fewer technical, economic and resource constraints than ocean farming. Africa could and should learn from Asia. While ocean farming is high-risk and demands much investment, the main freshwater species (carp, tilapia, catfish) are herbivorous or omnivorous, “their mainstay diet consists of inexpensive byproducts of crops like rice, groundnut and soy, as well as natural plankton” and “(i)t’s relatively cheap and easy to grow freshwater fish in small earthen ponds.”

South Africa: Comparing South Africa’s child support grants and Brazil’s Bolsa Família “(w)e found that regular income assistance boosted the self-esteem and agency of women recipients in both countries. Our findings also underscored the added benefits of Brazil’s cash transfer programme because it is embedded in a stronger public health and social service network than is the case in South Africa.
The broader lesson we took from our findings was that income transfer programmes must operate in deliberate coordination with ancillary social service institutions to deliver the maximum benefits for women’s empowerment.”
“Cash transfers don’t in and of themselves transform gender roles. Nevertheless, they help improve the standing of women beneficiaries in important ways. These include increasing social recognition, reducing levels of poverty and increasing financial control, decision making and agency.”

Egypt/Suez Canal: “Under normal circumstances, it is extremely cheap to transport all types of cargo over long distances on ships. Freight rates are barely noticeable in the price of most goods, so higher freight rates are unlikely to be a significant issue for economies as a whole. Nevertheless, the implications of a blockage as we’ve seen in the Suez Canal will have been felt in many sectors. For example, refineries need crude oil, factories need raw materials, shops need goods to sell.”

Egypt: President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is threatening over Ethiopia’s Renaissance dam: “I say once again no one can take a drop from Egypt’s water and if it happens there will be inconceivable instability in the region.”
BBC Africa Live 30 March 2021. 15:01

Uganda: Climate change affects the Ruwenzori Mountains in the country’s south-west, on the border to Congo-Kinshasa. The melting of the glacier (from 6.5 km² in 1906 to less than 1 km² in 2003) is the most visible sign. Floods, droughts, forest fires reached at altitudes above 4,000m…

29 March 2021

Egypt: The stranded container ship Ever Given is no longer blocking the canal, it was refloated at 13:05 GMT today Monday and the canal is once again open for business.
How much did the Suez Canal blockage cost? According to the insurance company Allianz, “the blockage could cost global trade between $6bn to $10bn a week”. “About 12% of global trade, around one million barrels of oil and roughly 8% of liquefied natural gas pass through the canal each day. SCA chairman Osama Rabie (said) on Saturday that the Canal's revenues were taking a $14m-$15m (…) hit for each day of the blockage. Prior to the pandemic, trade passing through the Suez Canal contributed to 2% of Egypt's GDP, according to Moody's.”

And also: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56559073
Also see: https://theconversation.com/after-the-ever-given-what-the-ship-wedged-in-the-suez-canal-means-for-global-trade-157865
And also: https://theconversation.com/suez-canal-container-ship-accident-is-a-worst-case-scenario-for-global-trade-157802

Tanzania: Air Tanzania, the national carrier, has made a huge loss in financial year 2019/2020. “Reviving Air Tanzania operations was a flagship project of the late President John Magufuli who (…) also oversaw the construction of a new airport in the commercial hub, Dar es Salaam, approved another in the north-western town of Geita and also one in the outskirts of the capital, Dodoma.” Air Tanzania had also bought two Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
BBC Africa Live 29 March 2021. 17:24