11 November 2022

Green neighbourhoods suffer less form crime: The authors’ research in South Africa proves that “greener neighbourhoods have significantly lower rates of violent and property crimes”. But public parks ought to be well-maintained (with fencing, lighting, playing fields and some sort of security). So “benefits of urban greening extend well beyond an environmental agenda” and well beyond advantages for health.

West Africa/Climate change monitoring: The West African Canary Current is extremely rich in fish – it “is one of the world’s most productive ocean ecosystems, a consequence of the upwelling of cold and nutrient-rich waters”. But there is only one mooring, managed by French researchers, that monitors what climate change does to the Canary Current. In the absence of data and knowledge, communities are unable to adapt – change could happen “as a consequence of overharvesting, deoxygenation that causes fish to migrate to more oxygen-rich waters, or shellfish mortality brought on by acid waters. Or a combination of these factors – or others.”

Digital communication and women activism: The article’s author has done research into women group activism in Nigeria and Ghana and has found that the internet and social networks give women voice – but this applies to towns, rural areas being hardly connected. The article presents some results of this research. Amongst others: “The language used tended to be encouraging towards women, and not hostile to men.”

Mali/Women mediators: Women play vital roles in the dialogue and negotiations between communities and terrorists in central Mali that have led to several local peace agreements. They mostly operate behind the scenes, especially in the role of adviser to community leaders. Or they – mostly elder women of high social status – “discreetly negotiate with the local leaders of armed groups”, for example for them to accept more moderate interpretations of Islamic rules. Overall, “the success of dialogue policies will depend on their consideration of local dynamics. Interventions must be adaptable to realities”, the all-military approach has failed, that’s for sure.

Ethiopia: The 2nd of November agreement between Addis and the TPLF includes the AU’s 2019 Transitional Justice Policy – “(t)ransitional justice is considered vital in many peace processes”. It is “to ensure accountability, truth, reconciliation and healing in post-conflict Ethiopia.” Instead of victors’ justice focussing on prosecution, reconciliation or reparation for gross human rights abuses and memorialisation are central. Will there be sustained political will to put such a transitional justice system into practice?

Zimbabwe/Commonwealth: Can the country be readmitted to the Commonwealth from which it withdrew in 2003 “after being suspended for breaching core values”? A team from the Commonwealth will visit Zimbabwe to assess the situation – the third such visit since Harare applied for readmission in 2018. “The visit comes as Zimbabwe’s opposition says there is renewed crackdown on its supporters.”
BBC Africa Live 11 November 2022. 9:42

Ethiopia: While peace seems to be returning to Tigray, Addis is still fighting the Oromo Liberation Army in the west of the country. An airstrike in Mandi on Wednesday is reported to have killed many (at least 20) civilians.
BBC Africa Live 11 November 2022. 5:09

GM foods in Africa: So far, on the continent, genetically modified crops have been approved in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa, eSwatini, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso.
BBC Africa Live 11 November 2022. 11:45

Recycling instead of waste burning and dumping: Only 11% of Africa’s 180 million tons of waste per year or more (the figure is for 2016) were disposed of in properly designed and managed landfills while over 60% went to open dumpsites, much of it will be burnt. This has severe effects on health and the environment. Yet “(m)ore than 60% of the waste generated in African urban centres is biodegradable. Another 20% of it is recyclable (such as paper, plastics and metals).” The African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN-18) in Dakar from 12th to 16th of September 2022 committed to “eliminate open dumping and burning of waste in Africa by 2050”. This decision now needs to be implemented.

10 November 2022

A young shepherd does not let his sheep sleep
BBC Africa Live 10 November 2022. 4:31 Proverb of the day. An Amharic proverb sent by Amanuel Fikru in Ethiopia.

Botswana/Okavango Delta: Canadian company ReconAfrica holds exploration licences for 34,325 km2 straddling Namibia and Botswana and has started drilling in Namibia. This oil and gas exploration project could endanger the unique ecosystems of the Okavango Delta World Heritage Site. In Botswana, the project is yet in its early phase and authorities as well as ReconAfrica say that no harm will be done – but why turn back to gas and oil?

Sudan: Abdelaziz al-Hilu, leader of the SPLA-North (Sudan People's Liberation Army) which controls large swathes of the Nuba mountains (South Kordofan state/south of the country) and Blue Nile state (south-east) says his group prefers national unity but may opt for independence if the military government was to pursue its politics of “segregations” and “oppression”.
BBC Africa Live 10 November 2022. 11:24

South Africa/Strike: Civil servants are on strike – after weeks of negotiations, the government offers below-inflation wage increases of 3% while the union demands 6%.
BBC Africa Live 10 November 2022. 10:12

Madagascar: According to research by Transparency International, the country’s lychee trade is beset by “graft and fraud by French companies and citizens, and Malagasy organisations that export to the EU.” There is evidence of “foreign bribery, unlawful agreements, tax fraud, laundering and concealment of such offences”. In this way, “a few powerful and politically-connected individuals” benefit – at the expense of “thousands of small-scale lychee producers and collectors”.
BBC Africa Live 10 November 2022. 16:08

Mozambique: Maputo is doing all it can to stop former finance minister Chang – who’s been in prison in South Africa for five years – from being extradited to the USA. “Nyusi doesn’t want Chang singing in a New York court, where he might reveal who knew and who did what in the” 2bn USD hidden-debt scandal of 2013. Nyusi, who was defence minister in the days of the scandal, was probably in the know about the loans. The article speculates what Chang himself wants and what could or would happen to him if he was extradited to Mozambique.