22 November 2022

Outcomes of COP27: The establishment of a fund for loss and damage finance is to compensate countries of the Global South for harm to the climate caused primarily by rich countries. But this will not be set up immediately – recommendations for its setting-up are to be submitted to COP28 in November 2023. Beyond the fund, negotiators in Sharm el-Sheikh lacked “(u)rgency, justice and equity”. No new collective quantified goal on climate finance was agreed (in replacement of the unmet US$100bn annual target), instead, this has been postponed to COP28. No action plan to double adaptation finance was adopted either. No commitment by all parties to phase out all fossil fuels was reached. The aim of “accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” is much too soft – the words “unabated” and “inefficient” in it leave loopholes. Despite progress on loss and damage financing, the article thus concludes: “In failing to deal with the central challenge of reducing fossil fuel use and reaching agreement on further reducing carbon emissions, COP27 has not addressed the key challenges of climate change.”

Expelling students for pregnancy or wedlock is illegal: In a landmark ruling, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children (a quasi-judicial AU organ which monitors and implements the African Charter on Child’s Rights and Welfare) “prohibit(s) mandatory pregnancy testing – in schools and in health facilities.” On top of pregnancy, Tanzania’s “government also has to remove wedlock as a ground for expulsion, readmit school girls affected by the ban, and provide special support to compensate for the lost years.” While this decision directly affects only Tanzania, “all 49 countries that have ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child are subject to this interpretation.” Although the committee has no enforcement powers, the article’s author expects the ruling to have an effect on reality – in Tanzania and beyond.

(North) Africa and WWII: The Second World War is mostly thought of as a European affair. But Africa and especially Norther Africa was very much concerned too. This article sets out to set this right, focussing most of all on North Africa’s jews, of whom there were about 500,000 pre-WWII, secondly also on Africans recruited for European armies.

USA/Wales/Liberia: The first and only goal for the USA in their draw yesterday with Wales was scored by Tim Weah who is no other than the Liberian president’s son (born in the USA and thus entitled to play for them). His Ballon d'or-father never got a chance to score at a World Cup since Liberia never qualified. But the father was present in the stadium when his son scored: “His presence in Qatar has been controversial back home as some Liberians feel the money spent on him being at the World Cup could be better spent in Liberia.”
BBC Africa Live 22 November 2022. 12:21

Chad: An Islamist attack near Ngouboua in the Lake Chad area early on Tuesday killed ten soldiers. This comes barely more than a week after interim leader Mahamat Idriss Déby boasted that Islamists were no longer strong enough to attack army barracks and announced deployment of 600 more soldiers to the area to help protect civilians.
BBC Africa Live 22 November 2022. 14:33

21 November 2022

Mozambique: According to the authorities, 300,000 of the 800,000 living in the Zambezi basin are at risk of being affected by flooding in the ongoing rainy season (October through March).
BBC Africa Live 21 November 2022. 9:11

Zimbabwe: On Wednesday, the country’s president will open the new parliament – constructed by China and given to Zimbabwe as a present – and deliver a state of the nation address on the occasion.
BBC Africa Live 21 November 2022. 8:30

South Africa: The country’s Supreme Court of Appeal has ordered Jacob Zuma back to prison as the medical parole he had been granted for an undisclosed illness had been unlawful. According to the judges, “prison authorities should decide if the time the former president has unlawfully spent out of prison should count towards his sentence or not.”
BBC Africa Live 21 November 2022. 11:06

South Africa: According to the article’s author, the country has suffered from “a shortage of truly strategic leadership” since 1994. Mandela strategically chose national reconciliation instead of transformation at the cost of the powerful and privileged white minority. Also, there was the transition from the Keynesian RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) to the neo-liberal GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) macroeconomic strategy which constrained possibilities of redistribution of wealth and opportunity. Mbeki then pursued in the direction set by Mandela, implementing GEAR with an iron fist. That he was “a flawed visionary” is evident “by his inexplicable lack of judgment on HIV/AIDS” and his refusal of government provision of antiretroviral treatment. Motlanthe, then, was only interim after the palace coup inside the ANCE – in his seven and a half months at the helm, he tried “to consolidate authority in democratic government and to stabilise an unstable body politic”. Then came Zuma – his “strategic intent (was) to capture the state for venal personal gain. He executed it with a ruthless sense of purpose.” And now Ramaphosa who “appears to be the least strategic of them all. His failure to grasp the strategic nettles inhibits his presidency”, instead of deciding, he waits for consensus to form around important questions, he’s a tactician – a leader, on the other hand, would offer an inspiring “narrative of hope and change” and execute decisions taken with “a sense of purpose and urgent expedition.”

South Africa/Flushing toilets in times of water scarcity: 9 to 12 litres is what is used by conventional flushing toilets per flush. Potable water. The article presents alternatives – non-sewered sanitation technologies. Unfortunately, for the time being, they are not yet affordable for households.

Somalia: “Somalia is profoundly fragmented, and the dysfunctionality of the state is unprecedented in Africa.” Al-Shabaab has proven resilient – it will not be possible to eradicate it militarily. A new approach is needed, a political settlement, thus negotiations with Al-Shabaab may be the necessary next step. The federal government is weak and lacks legitimacy, partly because of its lack of inclusiveness. Al-Shabaab, on the other hand, has built an image of being incorruptible – “in contrast to alternative centres of power built around clans and clan power dynamics”.

Nigeria/Oil field wastewater treatment: During oil and gas exploration and production, water comes out of the ground along with oil and gas – such “wastewater, known as ‘produced water’, is often heavily contaminated with salt, oil and grease, as well as potentially dangerous compounds”, dangerous to human health and to the environment that is. Properly treated produced water “can be recycled and reused for irrigation, livestock and in other industries”. But the author’s research shows that treatment  of produced water in Nigeria is absolutely inadequate.