17 February 2023

AU & Pan-Africanism: If the African Union has not made much progress in achieving political, economic and cultural goals of the Agenda 2063 – which was adopted in 2013 -, in the article’s author’s view, four main reasons are responsible for this: that the AU has no possibility to enforce its decisions, i.e., to make sure that members implement AU decisions; that the AU depends heavily on external financing; an unclear division of labour between AU and regional economic communities; members insisting on their sovereignty being little inclined to have the AU develop common policies.

Sub-Saharan Terrorism: The updated UNDP report finds that preventing extremism is much better than fighting it – it is necessary to address the root causes and not the symptoms – yet prevention measures are very much underfunded. For members of terrorist groups to sustainably get out of violent extremism, local communities and national governments’ amnesty programmes are essential.

Kenya: David Pkosing, MP for Pokot South (west of the country) has been arrested and questioned by police - he is suspected of having links with armed bandits. In Kenya, such “heavily armed bandits operating with impunity” have killed over 100 civilians and 16 security personnel in the past half a year. “The government has declared the prevailing security situation in the north a national emergency and imposed a 30-day dawn-to-dusk curfew in the region” and as from today, the army will help police fight armed bandits whose focus is cattle resp. cattle rustling for the lucrative meat trade. But can the banditry problem be solved militarily? Would not “dialogue and improving the economic well-being of communities who have faced historic marginalisation” achieve better results?
BBC Africa Live 17 February 2023. 7:12

Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali: Ahead of an African Union summit in which they will not be allowed to participate, the foreign ministers of the three countries are in Addis Ababa to lobby for the end of their suspension from the AU, arguing that their exclusion is “hindering (…) the transition back to civilian rule”.
BBC Africa Live 17 February 2023. 5:09

Frobenius: “Commendably, Frobenius brought African art to the attention of people in the culturally western world” and especially the rock art of South Africa’s San, building on “earlier efforts of the little-known South African teacher and rock art copyist Helen Tongue”. If Frobenius is not much credited for this in South Africa, it is partly because of “inadequacies in the copies created during his expedition” (1928-30) and partly because of his racism, his closeness to Nazi and Apartheid ideologies. “To Frobenius, African achievements were the influence of foreign cultures”, what “primitive” Africans kept as leftovers from highly civilized Atlantis.

16 February 2023

Ethiopia: According to the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the row with the breakaway clergy has been resolved by discussions between the two groups held in the presence of Abiy Ahmed, other government officials and elders. The conflict had had eight people killed and hundreds detained.
BBC Africa Live 16 February 2023. 6:20

South Africa/Hunger: Social vulnerability is about people’s susceptibility to natural disasters, adverse health outcomes and social inequalities. The relationship between social vulnerability and food insecurity had so far not been well researched for South Africa. The article’s author’s research found “(o)ver 20.6% of the South Africans in (the) sample were socially vulnerable, and 20.4% food insecure”, with Africans more vulnerable than white people or people of Asian or mixed descent. Unsurprisingly, females, people living in rural areas, people with low socio-economic status, people without high school certificates and adults over 45 are more vulnerable than others. The conclusion is a bit banal: “government and other stakeholders need to implement creative and targeted social strategies to reduce and eliminate food insecurity in highly vulnerable groups. Improving the economy and education system should be the main areas of focus in addressing social inequalities in the country.”

Nigeria: By presidential decision, the old 200-naira banknotes will be valid after all – but only until 10th of April. The Central Bank decision that old 500- and 1,000-naira banknotes are no longer valid (since 10th of February) remains in place. Will this half-measure calm the anger of cash-short Nigerians? Invalid old banknotes “must be taken to the central bank through designated channels”.
BBC Africa Live 16 February 2023. 6:58

Ghana: It seems that the government is so desperately short of money that it tries to cheat on bonds held by pensioners – “bonds that matured in early February were not paid” and a “strictly voluntary” exchange for new bonds with 3.5% less “return” and deferred payment was proposed. All of this, it seems, so that the country qualifies for an IMF “bailout”.
BBC Africa Live 16 February 2023. 17:31