Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
May 5, 2023
Quote of the week
“I want to come back to my house.” – Dallia Abdelmoneim whose family fled Sudan
Violence in Sudan
Warring generals agreed to a week-long truce this week, but the humanitarian crisis continues and its health care system collapses. Yousra Elbagir documents those fleeing Sudan, from Port Sudan to across the region. More than 100,000 people have fled in the past weeks, though thousands are still stuck. Many people are stranded because their passports are locked in Western Embassies. Learn more about the journey out of the country. The Sudanese diaspora is stepping in to provide aid to Sudanese needing help. BBC World Service launches an emergency pop-up service for Sudan. Explosive weapons are harming civilians as people are stuck in a prison of urban warfare. Actress Asia Abdelmajid was killed in Khartoum cross-fire. There is also a war of information. Zeinab Mohammed Salih explains what she feels covering the war that is tearing her country apart.
The fighting has escalated in Darfur, where an old foe is undercutting Hemedti. This is what the fighting means for the western frontier. Analysts worry that the war will draw in regional actors. The conflict is straining the fragility of Chad, the Sahel and its neighbors. This is a thorough investigation into how efforts to guide Sudan to democracy ended in war. The world supported two generals, rather than the pro-democracy protesters and groups. Lydia Polgreen argues that Sudan is too big to fail.
One strategy to end the war is to take away the generals’ money. Mai Hassan and Ahmed Kodouda argue that only civilian leaders can forge a path to peace. Murithi Mutiga provides his take. Alex de Waal suggests that Western countries and Arab allies must demand a humanitarian truce and path to political dialogue to stop the conflict. Civil society groups call for an end to the war and restoration of democracy. This is how Sudan’s resistance committees perform democratic power.
And follow these reporters for more coverage and analysis.
The stakes are as high as ever with Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law. Kalundi Serumaga examines the well-funded riddles in Uganda’s sexual culture war. Rachel Maddow traces anti-LGBTQ legislation to activists in Arizona. Psychologists warn that “rehabilitating” LGBTQ people as the law suggests is unjust and dangerous. This article centers religious leaders as agents of LGBTQI inclusion in East Africa.
Challenges of democratization
Chipo Dendere argues that the deck is stacked against Zimbabwe’s opposition in its upcoming election. Check out the new series on Internet shutdowns in Africa. This piece explains the political logic of Internet throttling, and this one explains how repressive governments control telecommunication networks to limit freedom of speech. The distrust between MPs and citizens is deepening in Malawi. Female politicians in Sierra Leone face sexism and abuse. Senegal’s democratic credentials have taken a beating under Macky Sall. This is how not to hold elections in South Sudan. Learn more about term limits in Francophone Africa. Martin Fayulu argues that DR Congo is heading toward another sham election. Tunisia is slowly backsliding from democracy. Democracy Delivered.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Learn more about Kenya’s starvation cult and the tragic death of more than 100 people. Tanzanian students speak of transport woes. A critique of everything in Kenya. Abdirashid Diriye Kalmoy explains how Kenya’s cost of living demonstrations have as much to do with popular discontent as they do with the opposition capitalizing on frustrations. Rwanda is expanding its military role across the region. Military and political agendas are unsettling Rwandan football. Gillian Mathys explains why the Congo-Rwanda border cannot be redrawn. Will the invasion of Ukraine reshape Russia-Africa relations?
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Maureen Donaghy and I have a new article “Sustainability Politics and Housing Development in Urban Brazil and Ghana.” It is part of a special issue on “Sustainability, Democracy and the Dark Sides of Civil Society,” edited by Amanda Machin and Alexander Ruser. Meet the architect of the riverscapes. Secondary cities are Africa’s next big investment opportunity. This is a neat article on Africa’s border cities. Learn more about urban politics and power in Mogadishu. The Ga people of Accra’s ban on noise restores a spiritual connection to the sea. Nicole Wilson examines democratic norms behind the gates of Lagos’ high-income neighborhoods. Learn more about the changing pattern of inequality in greater Johannesburg. How does Lagos State spend its money?
This is a cool article on refugee integration in Uganda. Make sure to read this great article on gender, representation, and legitimacy with evidence from Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. Sabine Franklin explains community responses to Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Paul Williams analyzes Al-Shabaab’s attacks against AU missions in Somalia. This article historicizes sexual violence in the Congo. Learn more about the history of dictatorship in Uganda.
I look forward to reading Landry Signe’s forthcoming book Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution. This looks cool: The Political Posters of Uganda. So does this: The Building of the Communist Party in Kenya. Faeeza Ballim’s Apartheid’s Leviathan: Electricity and the Power of Technological Ambivalence is out. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni’s Beyond the Coloniality of Internationalism looks great.
The week in development
The 2023 World Development Report is out: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies. Tom Wein discusses ID Insight’s Dignity Initiative. Western countries should partner with African countries in an equitable way. Somalia launches first census in nearly 50 years, while Nigeria delays its count. Economic growth could permanently decline if geopolitical tensions escalate. This report highlights Netflix’s socio-economic impact in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. This is why Nigeria’s governors matter for the future of the country. This piece comes to grips with poverty in Africa. Kinshasa and Abu Dhabi finalize an arms and mining deal. Learn more about this new Evidence Localization Initiative at USAID. Soaring demand for electric cars is leading to a deadly rush for minerals in Guinea. Who wins the scramble? Should African countries invest in agriculture or infrastructure?
Africa and the environment
Floods and landslides kill more than 120 people in Rwanda. This report provides a stocktaking of security sector roles in climate and environmental security in Sierra Leone. This is how climate change is affecting Africa. China is investing in Africa’s green energy future. NASA helps scientists map 10 billion trees.
Naipaul & Africa. Abdirahman Kahin of Afro Deli & Grill in Washington DC was named National Small Business Person of the Year. A Harlem Institution reimagines how Americans interact with Africa. The rise of Nigerian owners of European football clubs. African kids’ shows go local.
And the pitfalls of the soft life.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil