Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
August 11, 2023
Visit Gothenburg at APSA. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“Everyone in the West should be questioning and asking ourselves every day: ‘How has the mass drowning of people become normalized?’” – Journalist Sally Hayden
Coup in Niger
West African countries are now deploying “the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the republic of Niger.” Learn more about the force here. But the situation remains tenuous. While there was initial support for military force to re-install the previous regime, the opposition to this is now much stronger. Domestic opposition from Nigerian lawmakers get in the way of Tinubu’s threat to use force in Niger. Lawmakers seek a diplomatic solution. Fola Aina explains why military intervention could be disastrous.
Howard French argues that the coup is a turning point for intra-African politics. Leonard Mbulle-Nziege & Nic Cheeseman ask whether France is to blame for the insecurity in West Africa. This is a nice discussion of the role that colonialism and propaganda play in fueling the conflict. This is how the US fumbled the coup, giving Russia an opening in the region. Could the coup also offer some hope to the region? What about the golden hour? What comes next?
Learn more about coup leader Abdourahmane Tchiani. For the best background on the political context leading up to the coup, make sure to read Rahmane Idrissa’s explanation of the coup and how we got here, and Alex Thurston’s analysis of the domestic level political factors.
Sudan’s civil war
This piece examines Sudan’s information environment. The US fumbled Sudan’s hopes for democracy. Neha Wadekar explains how the war has been a disaster for women, and the violence threatens peace in the Sahel. Alex de Waal asks: What is the next step in Sudan?
State of emergency in Ethiopia
Struggle for rights and freedom
This is a fascinating story of the role of DR Congo in making the first atomic bomb. Daniel Paget explains why it is important to reinterpret the messages of populists to uncover their elitist underpinnings. Zimbabwe’s upcoming election is a challenge for international observers. Khalifa Sall regains ability to run for President in Senegal. Iriann Freemantle argues that Europe’s “ineffective” migration policies work well for white supremacy. Four Nigerian stowaways hopped on a ship—and ended up in Brazil.
Security and instability
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Check out our article “Urbanization and political change in Africa” in African Affairs. Kristian Hoelscher, Nick Dorward, Sean Fox, Taibat Lawanson, Melanie Phillips and I draw attention to the mechanisms linking urbanization to political change, and advocate a place-based approach. More to come!
Victoria Island, 1999. This new project on the Just City looks great. On the value and worth of urban life. These are the key principles for urban reform coalitions to work. Setha Low explains why public space matters. Listen to this: Lonely in Lagos.
And, demolish nothing.
Learn more about opposition to Firestone and the enduring exploitation of land and labor in Liberia. This article examines one-party dominance during South Africa’s 2019 election. This study finds that refugees can have a positive spillover into Ugandan communities because host communities receive improvements in public services. This is a cool article: Omar Garcia-Ponce and Leonard Wantchekon explore independence movements and democracy in Africa. Hannah Waddilove examines campaign rallies and performing elite alliance-building in Kenya. Carolyn Holmes asks: What went right in South Africa?
I look forward to reading Danielle Jung and James Long’s The Social Origins of Electoral Participation in Emerging Democracies. Fair Enough? Support for Redistribution in the Age of Inequality looks good. Check out Africa’s Railway Renaissance.
The week in development
The World Bank will not be financing any new projects in Uganda due to the recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Act. Inflation remains a challenge in Ghana. Kenya Airways partners with Delta for its nonstop flight from Nairobi to New York. COVID proved again that Ghana’s housing policy is failing. This is how Nigeria’s fuel subsidy shock jolted Cameroon’s economy. In memoriam: Professor Michael Lipton.
Africa and the environment
Ghana approves a green minerals policy to develop its lithium industry. Uganda and DR Congo are set to face extreme heat. Climate change could worsen the spread of the West Nile virus. Brazil’s Lula to visit DR Congo for trilateral rainforest summit.
The hanging libraries of Nigeria. African women made their mark in this year’s World Cup. Meet the archivists preserving Nigeria’s past. I can’t wait for this cookbook: My Everyday Lagos by Yewande Komolafe.
RIP, Henri Konan Bédié.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil