1 March 2021

Your silence does not provide for you”. BBC Africa Live’s African proverb of the day – a Luo proverb sent by Patrick Ochieng in Nairobi, Kenya.

Congo-Kinshasa: Despite Tshisekedi’s lip service, Grand Inga on the lower Congo river does not seem to be going anywhere. There is no transparency at all. No financing, no future customers for the electricity generated… “A forthcoming Institute for Security Studies report argues that (…) Kinshasa should ‘focus on the fundamentals’ of governance, which includes comprehensive household electrification through renewables, using mini- and off-grid electricity solutions. This would provide significantly more benefits than large capital investments on the government balance sheet such as the pursuit of Grand Inga beyond Inga 3.”

Eritrea/migration: At least before the Tigray conflict, Ethiopian refugee camps offered safe space, but not a desirable future, that is why Eritrean refugees “risk falling prey to human traffickers, abuse, detention and death” in trying to reach Europe. The article’s authors undertook research from 2016 to 2019 and “discovered that although refugees are aware of the risks of leaving, there are risks to staying, including the despair of being stuck in ‘camp time’ with no prospects for a future.” In Ethiopia itself, the refugees are mostly restricted to camps with little real-life perspectives.

Zambia: Last year, the transmission lines of Copperbelt Energy Corporation were declared as a common carrier by the government. But the company had appealed against the “expropriation” and the High Court has now overturned the government’s decision.
BBC Africa Live 01 March 2021. 10:02

Ethiopia: Two fixers (local journalists who help foreign correspondents), one working for AFP, the other for the Financial Times, have been arrested in Tigray. The arrests – unexplained so far – came one day after a warning the the government would “take measures against those misleading international media”.
BBC Africa Live 01 March 2021. 17:07

28 February 2021

Nigeria: Cryptocurrencies (currencies that only exist digitally, usually have no central issuing or regulating authority but instead use a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that rely on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions) such as Bitcoin are thriving in Nigeria. “A 2020 survey by data platform Statista revealed that 32% of Nigerians are users of cryptocurrencies - the highest proportion of any country in the world.” In absolute terms of cryptocurrencies traded, Nigeria is thought to be third in the world after the USA and Russia. With prices rising and the country’s currency, the naira, falling, cryptocurrencies become all the more attractive – though there is, of course, the possibility of the bubble bursting.
The central bank has been trying to regulate the cryptocurrency market since 2017 without enforcing the rules emitted, but seems to have gotten serious in 2021 and bank accounts have now been frozen due to cryptocurrency-related activity.

Sudan: A Russian warship has docked in port Sudan. This looks like an advance notice of the building of a Russian naval base in Port Sudan with 300 military and civilian personnel, a base where nuclear-powered vessels will be able to dock.
BBC Africa Latest Updates 28 February 2021. 13:58