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This Week in Africa
March 4, 2020
In Tuesday’s post, I call for “Expanding the political.” Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“Writing it felt like responding to a call of duty. I felt like I needed to be part of the collective struggle that was going on. So the book is my participation; that’s my way of showing up.” – NoViolet Bulawayo
Ukraine invasion and Africa
African students in Ukraine are stranded amid the Russian invasion and the closure of Ukrainian airspace. Many students feel like they are on their own. They are terrified, and face discrimination by border guards. Some say authorities hindered them from fleeing – and even assaulted them. The Russia-Ukraine crisis could drive up food prices. Danielle Resnick explains what the war in Ukraine means for Africa. Mvemba Phezo Dizolele explains what it could mean for Africa’s territorial sovereignty, food security, and the extractive industries.
Are the Russians really coming to Africa? The Russians are here. Does the invasion threaten the sovereignty of African nations? What is Ukraine’s Africa connection? How have African leaders responded to the invasion? Countries like Kenya are using the UN to push back. Museveni’s son? Not so much. Learn more about how Russia forged closer ties with Africa. For example, Sudan’s Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council strengthens his ties with Russia.
Coups in West Africa
Erica De Bruin and Maggie Dwyer explain how this wave of African coups differs from previous ones. Christopher Faulkner, Jaclyn Johnson and Naunihal Singh: Don’t blame contagion for the resurgence in coups. Kristen Harkness argues that diversifying Africa’s militaries may be the key to successful democratization. Why do US-trained officers keep overthrowing governments?
The state of democracy
V-Dem released their annual report, and democracy worldwide has declined: The level of democracy enjoyed by citizens is down to 1989 levels. There is a global expansion of authoritarian rule.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Sudan’s resistance groups outline a political vision. Here are some lessons for Mozambique after France’s withdrawal from the Sahel. The Sudan-Ethiopia border needs a soft border solution. There was an escalation of violence in South Sudan between June and September last year. Kenyans don’t trust their electoral commission. Check out “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story.”
The US bombed Somalia amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mozambique is gearing up for “the trial of the century,” with the country’s elite accused of corruption. Nigerian women protest parliament rejection of pro-equality bill. Learn more about Gambians’ pursuit of justice for Jammeh’s bogus AIDS cure. Eritrean refugees face brutal attacks in Ethiopia’s war. Jihadists are inching closer toward West Africa’s biggest and most stable states. Maina Kiai argues that Rwanda gets a free pass at African Court.
Will the populist wave crash over South Africa?
Africa’s rapid urbanization
This is an interesting thread on urban warfare. Learn more about the rising urban sprawl and informal settlements in Lusaka. A new Amazon Headquarters sparks feud among indigenous South Africans. Ola Oduku and Taibat Lawanson explain the challenges of governing Lagos. Learn more about the recent demolitions in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Listen to this podcast: How to grow liveable cities in Africa.
The Malthusian Trap never existed.
This looks great: Emirs in London: Subaltern Travel and Nigeria’s Modernity. Check out Milli Lake’s APSR article “Policing Insecurity” on the DR Congo.
Check out all that we are doing at GLD.
The week in development
Why is China building so much in Africa? Is a debt crisis a reason for seeking loans from Europe? Facebook is slow to respond to reports of cartel behavior and drug trafficking on its platform (with rich reporting from Kenya). Check out Isaac Samuel’s post: “Between Africa and India: A millennia of Trade, Population movement and cultural exchanges in the Indian ocean world.” Africa faces tough job not to become world’s plastic “dustbin.” Young South Africans want recreational facilities. Sudan’s economy tumbles in post-coup deadlock. Total is creating a mess in Mozambique. There is a troubling pattern of land grabbing, pollution, and death in the country.
Buzzwords are killing development.
Africa and the environment
Africans are fighting to save its pangolins. Key African sectors are feeling the burden of climate change. South Africa’s carbon tax rate goes up but emitters get more time to clean up. The UN works to curb plastic pollution. Nations plan a treaty to try to fix plastic pollution. From floods to food, African countries are not ready for climate stress (is any country?). Climate change is hitting staple crops in Africa.
The IPCC Report is out, and it does not look good. Here are five takeaways from the report. Check out chapter 6 on cities and settlements. This is a good report summary for climate change’s impact on Africa. Tackling inequality will break the gridlock on what to do about climate change. Without action, extreme weather will trigger global humanitarian needs. This is cool: This climate interactive simulator is now in Swahili!
Squid Game in Uganda? NoViolet Bulawayo believes freedom begins with imagination. This is why Kenya’s copyright change is bad for sports. Ghanaian movie posters become collector items. Happy birthday, Lupita Nyong’o!
All the best,
Jeff and Phil