22 May 2023

Ghana/Kenya: The AU’s Agenda 2063 and many an African country’s economic policy nowadays focuses on infrastructure-led development. But according to the authors’ research, development corridors, special economic zones, ‘new cities’ etc. do not by themselves boost economies. Instead, in both the Ghanaian and the Kenyan case studies (the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor resp. the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor/Standard Gauge Railway), “improved connectivity failed to catalyse industrialisation. Instead, it encouraged land speculation as it opened up new spaces to real estate investment.” Citing successful Asian examples, the authors suggest levying taxes on property which would discourage urban sprawl and speculation in land and real estate and furthermore generate revenue that could be used for public spending.

Ilé-Ifè/Nigeria: Its name meaning “House of Abundance”, it is one of the oldest cities of Africa, more than a thousand years old. “Ilé-Ifè developed a coherent framework for Yoruba city-making by standardising the ideology of divine kingship and what an urban layout should look like.”

Booker Prize 2023: Among the six shortlisted books is “Standing Heavy” by Franco-Ivorian GauZ’ (a translation of his 2014 book “Debout-Payé”) and also “The Gospel According to the New World” by Maryse Condé, who’s not African but almost (translated from the original French by her husband Richard Philcox).

Nigeria: Aliko Dangote’s 19bn USD oil refinery will hopefully remedy the country’s chronic fuel shortages. So far, almost all oil was exported as crude oil and refined products, like fuel, then had to be imported. The plant – not yet functional, but Buhari apparently wanted to inaugurate it before stepping down – has a capacity of around 650,000 barrels of petroleum products per day. It is “the world's largest single-train refinery, meaning the plant has one integrated distillery system which can produce a variety of products and petrochemicals, instead of having different units for each type of product.” The plant, which will only be operational at full capacity in 2024 is in Lekki area (Lagos State).
BBC Africa Live 22 May 2023. 10:42

Gambia: Rohey Malick Lowe is a member of UDP (United Democratic Party/opposition) and she has just been confirmed as the country’s only female mayor, of the capital Banjul. In Saturday’s municipal and region elections, Barrow’s ruling NPP (National People's Party) did rather badly. Kanifing, the most populous municipality, and the most populous regions, West Coast and Lower River, are in UDP hands.
BBC Africa Live 22 May 2023. 17:08

21 May 2023

Nigeria: The article takes stock of Buhari’s eight years as president and the result is disastrous: he “will be leaving Nigerians less secure, poorer and more in debt than when he came to office in 2015”. When he took office, hopes had run high, he had promised success against Boko Haram and against corruption – and he had, on the basis of his “brief stint in power” as a military ruler in the 1980s following a putsch, the reputation of a no-nonsense man who could get things done. With large-scale oil theft rampant, the country’s oil production was at a 30-year low in 2022. Concerning the economy, the scarcity of the new naira notes following the redesign of the currency at the beginning of 2023,