23 March 2021

Tanzania: A short biography of Samia Suluhu Hassan, the country’s new president. Here’s how she rose to prominence:
The ruling party’s “presidential nomination of 2015 was a tight contest. After the party’s National Executive Committee votes were counted, three candidates were selected; John Magufuli and two other women – Asha-Rose Migiro, a Tanzanian who had served as the United Nations deputy secretary general, and Amina Salum Ali – a Zanzibari who had served as permanent representative of the African Union to the United States.
In the end, John Magufuli was nominated as a compromise candidate. He was viewed as candidate who could walk the middle line in a party that had been divided by competing interests.
Because there were two female finalists during the nomination process, it was deemed appropriate for Magufuli to nominate a woman as a running mate at a time when the country was already making great strides towards gender inclusion. Five years earlier, in 2010, Anna Makinda had broken barriers by becoming the first female speaker of the National Assembly.
Magufuli went ahead and nominated Samia Suluhu Hassan as his running mate. With Magufuli’s victory in the 2015 general elections, Hassan became the first female vice-president.”
As vice-president, she has gained lots of international experience (Magufuli rarely travelled abroad). Thought to be compassionate, rational and calm, she “has the chance to heal a polarised nation”.

Nigeria/feminism: A historical overview, focussing on the post-colonial period and on transnational feminism. “Gender studies is a catalyst for the empowerment of women. It has increased awareness of patriarchy in Nigeria, and resistance to it.”
The article is a summary of an 8 page article: Olutayo, Seunfunmi & Yalley, Abena. (2019). Feminists across Borders: Transnational Feminism, Knowledge Production and University Education in Nigeria. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. 9. 35-41. 10.30845/ijhss.v9n8p5. It can be downloaded on https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336319248_Feminists_across_Borders_Transnational_Feminism_Knowledge_Production_and_University_Education_in_Nigeria.

Ghana: Ghana’s lockdown triggering job losses and business closures illustrates the challenge of designing targeted policies that ensure the most vulnerable are not being left behind – “the labour market recovery has remained partial and uneven, and the economic burden of the pandemic continues to fall on the most vulnerable”. Workers in informal employment were harder hit than in formal employment and women were harder hit than men in terms of both employment and earnings. “Our research shows that future containment policies will need to be coupled with protective measures that prevent the most vulnerable workers from being left behind in the crisis.” Income support in the form of cash payments will then be necessary.

Gambia: Parliament upheld a ban (firsts introduced in 1996) on skin bleaching on Monday, as “chemicals used in the production of skin-bleaching creams is hazardous to human health”.
BBC Africa Live 23 March 2021. 8:40

South Africa: The third wife (among six wives) of the recently deceased Zulu King was named interim successor in the late king’s will. She will appoint the new king from among her sons after discussion of succession by senior members of the royal family.
BBC Africa Live 23 March 2021. 7:29

Niger: Sunday’s attacks on villages in Tahoua region are now known to have killed 137, substantially more than first announced.
BBC Africa Live 23 March 2021. 4:31

A silent tongue does not betray its owner
BBC Africa Live 23 March 2021. African proverb of the day. Sent by Jacob Ekele and Abdul Jakusko, both from Nigeria.

Dust storms: Dust is produced by wind erosion of arid or semi-arid surfaces. “Dust storms increase eye infections and the incidence of respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and are associated to meningitis incidence rates in the African Sahel. Intense outbreaks can disrupt communications, force closing of roads and airports due to poor visibility and can damage croplands and livestock.” The potential for large-scale source mitigation being rather limited, impact mitigation becomes crucial. Prediction and warnings play important roles. Doing this for haboobs – “immense walls of blowing sand and dust produced by strong downdrafts” that regularly occur in Saharan and Sahelian Africa – is a big challenge.

22 March 2021

Niger: Another at least 40 died in attacks – probably by the Islamic State – on Sunday targeting the villages of Intazayene and Bakorate, the well at Wirstane and camps near Akifakif, all near the Malian border in Tahoua region.
BBC Africa Live 22 March 2021. 7:10

Eritrea: The EU has imposed sanctions on Eritrea’s National Security Office (NSO) because of extra-judicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances. No details were given about the type of sanctions or why now.
BBC Africa Live 22 March 2021. 14:42

Water: Collection must be safe, not only the water itself. “Water carriage is associated with pain, fatigue, problems accessing perinatal health care and violence against vulnerable people.” In comparison with households that have access to water on their premises, maternal and child health are poorer where water needs to be fetched. “There’s a clear need for water supply systems that prioritise personal safety alongside the traditional goals of improving water quality and quantity.”

Zambia: “(O)nly one in five rural households in sub-Saharan Africa has water supply at home, compared to one out of two households living in urban areas.” “Beyond harming both physical and mental health, fetching water also takes time away from activities such as education, caregiving, gardening and employment. It’s no surprise that households that depend on distant water sources are at increased risk of child diarrhoeal disease and stunting, maternal stress and violence against women.” No wonder that the experiment conducted for the study that this article is about, providing safe water on premises, showed positive results – with, on average, 4 hours a day being liberated that could be used by the concerned women and girls for productive activities or, in some cases, for leisure.

Egypt/Sudan/Ethiopia: A historical overview over (also the politics of) dam construction – Aswan et al. – on the Nile.

Nile water: “The history of the Nile has demonstrated that water management infrastructure can provide resilience to climate challenges.” The Renaissance Dam could produce clean energy. Meanwhile, the “360km Jonglei canal (could) divert some of the river around the Sudd swamps in Southern Sudan where half of it is lost to evaporation (and which also emits huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane)”. But riparian states need to agree…

Ghana: Problems around hydro-electric dams, for example the relatively small Bui Dam in Ghana.