09 December 2022

Seychelles/Seagrasses: The plants “act as a barrier to rising ocean levels and extreme conditions” and they “capture carbon at a rate 35 times quicker than rainforests”. Acting as a natural carbon sink, 10% of oceans’ total burial of carbon is due to them. Worldwide, seagrasses are declining, there even being a threat of their extinction. With 115 low-lying islands, the government of the Seychelles has this year finished mapping its seagrass ecosystems and committing “to protect half of its seagrasses and mangroves by 2023, and 100% by 2030”.

Ghana: In the country’s north, between two and four times as many people are food-insecure compared to the national average: 23-49% compared to 11.7% (4-10% in the country’s south). The article’s author’s research among Kassena farmers on the border of Burkina Faso allows him to have precise information about typical seasonal changes in food availability (best between September and December) and also about sources of food, with market purchases becoming very important for farmers at the height of “hungry season” (May through August). “(L)imited access to proper storage facilities and markets” is an important reason for farming families not being able to nourish themselves year-round.

Ghana: Accused by the opposition “of a conflict of interest and incompetence in managing the economy”, the Financem Minister has “survived” a no confidence vote in Parliament.
BBC Africa Live 09 December 2022. 5:11

Equatorial Guinea: Aged 80, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been sworn in for his sixth term as president. He took power in 1979. “He declared he was – and always would be – the leader of all Equatorial Guineans.”
BBC Africa Live 09 December 2022. 6:36

Niger: A group of MPs have tabled a motion to criminalise same-sex relationships. This, they say, is to “protect the ‘rights and interest of the public’.”
BBC Africa Live 09 December 2022. 4:42

Ethiopia/Youth: While “youth-dominated protests were instrumental in bringing Abiy to power”, youth have – despite the promises made by Abiy – not benefitted. Employment schemes, for example, were “used as mechanisms to silence and co-opt the youth”. Dissent was met with repression. The article’s authors draw the conclusion: “In authoritarian contexts, translating protest gains into genuine political (and economic) gains is an uphill battle.”

South Africa: On the very same day, 21st of November, the Constitutional Court made two decisions public that were likely to upset large parts of the country’s population, revoking the medical parole of ex-president Jacob Zuma condemned to 15 months in prison for contempt of the court, and releasing Janusz Walus on parole, the murderer of Chris Hani on 10th of April 1993. Zuma’s imprisonment had sparked riots in July 2021 – “all those South Africans who revere Zuma might reason that his medical parole should not have been revoked as his offence was much less egregious than Walus’ crime”. While releasing Janusz Walus on parole was legally sound – laws apply no matter who is concerned –, the way the decision was communicated lacked sensitivity; with all the judges involved knowing that the issue was very sensitive, communicating the decision should have made proof of compassion. One way of doing so would have been to provide the Hani family with “a more visible platform through a victim impact statement”, and that statement could have been made part of the court’s judgement, even though the decision would still have had to be the same.

South Africans & Climate change: Unemployment, HIV and crime rank highest in South Africans’ hit-list of problems, the environment does not figure in the top ten. This is what resulted from the author’s exploration of the 2017 South African Social Attitudes Survey. That the environment has to do with real life does not seem to have entered public consciousness.

Nigeria: The DSS (Department of State Services) has given National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and oil marketers a 48-hour ultimatum to end the country’s fuel shortage, warning that “DSS was prepared to intervene and stabilise fuel supply if oil marketers failed to comply”.
BBC Africa Live 09 December 2022. 10:39

G20/AU: Washington is about to back permanent membership of the African Union in G20. So far, South Africa has been the only African G20 member. The news comes as Biden is about to meet African leaders in Washington for a three-day US-Africa summit.
BBC Africa Live 09 December 2022. 17:17

08 December 2022

Pastoralism in support of conservation: Instead of arming rangers and militarising conservation while excluding all others from wildlife areas, “pastoralists can be partners in biodiversity conservation efforts”. In Kenya, for example, there is a plan that “pastoralists alert the authorities to commercialised poaching and protect water sources for joint use by wildlife and livestock”. Excluding pastoralists can increase the risk of fires as more dry biomass is left around to fuel wildfires. While some livestock production systems are harmful for nature and biodiversity, others have positive effects. They should be judged on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa/RET: A faction of the ruling ANC, the Radical Economic Transformation is not really radical – its objective is the end of white racial domination in the economy. While white monopoly capital is attacked, it is not “capital” but “white” that is the enemy. E.g., compulsory expropriation of (white) land is advocated. RET is against privatisation – because it is thought it would benefit the whites. The RET faction overlaps with Jacob Zuma’s support base in Kwa-Zulu Natal and is supported by “black business lobbies doing business with the state, notably at provincial and local government levels”.

Congo-Kinshasa: An investigation by the United Nations has found that at least 131 civilians were killed in the M23 attacks end of November on Kishishe and Bambo villages (Rutsuhuru district/North Kivu province). The M23 attacks seem to have been “a reprisal to the current government offensive”.
BBC Africa Live 08 December 2022. 7:28

Uganda/Ebola: Since the September Ebola outbreak, 142 cases and 56 deaths have been registered. With no new cases registered in over three weeks, the outbreak may be under control. Today Thursday, “a shipment of Ebola vaccine candidates set to be used in a clinical trial” from WHO will be received by the health ministry.
BBC Africa Live 08 December 2022. 6:48

São Tomé and Príncipe: In this article, ISS consultant Peter Fabricius ponders what was behind the so-called coup attempt of 25th of November. Things are not as clear as the Prime minister makes them out to be. Anyhow, the coup attempt was not the country’s first, there had been two in the past, in 1995 and 2003 – so maybe the country’s reputation as one of the most “democratic” in Africa has got it wrong?

Islamic State: In Africa, at least 20 countries “have directly experienced the group’s activity” and at least 20 more “are used for logistics and to mobilise funds and resources”. ISS warns the UN Security Council “that Africa could be the future base of a caliphate” for IS. What is needed is a comprehensive continental strategy – and one that goes well beyond military measures.

Ghana: Over 8 million Sim cards have been blocked because they had not been registered by the final (after several extensions) deadline on 30th of November. Over 20 million Sim cards have been registered. Many Ghanaians have no national identity cards – linking these to the Sim cards is the first step for Sim card registration.
BBC Africa Live 08 December 2022. 14:29