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This Week in Africa
July 21, 2023
Get all your Sahel news here. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“Demand for democracy remains high, but the supply is weak and declining.” –Afrobarometer CEO Joe Asunka
Protests in Kenya
Kenyans are protesting the high cost of living, new taxes, and price hikes. The opposition called for three days of anti-government protests this week. Many schools closed due to the demonstrations. Some Kenyans threw rocks while police shot into crowds. More than 300 people were arrested. 31 people have been killed, mostly by security forces. Many Kenyans feel betrayed by President William Ruto. My article with Kathleen Klaus and Martha Wilfahrt touches on the role of political betrayal in Kenyan and African politics, and can help explain some of the intense anger. Patrick Gathara argues that President Ruto is coming up against the limits of his power. It appears that Kenya is far from becoming the Singapore of Africa.
War in Sudan
Nesrine Malik grieves the destruction of Khartoum, her city. Sudan army returns for talks in Jeddah as war enters fourth month. Read this thread of the state of the war in Sudan. Citizens continue to suffer. Looted goods are for sale in “Dagalo” markets. Peace talks must include civil society. Why is the ICC so silent on Sudan?
Migration and displacement
Agadez was relying on European aid to help create jobs and stop migration, but the money stopped. A human rights report finds that Tunisian security forces abuse migrants. Tunisia signed a border-policing deal with the EU. Many Senegalese youth still dream of Europe. Black refugees remain trapped along border between Tunisia and Libya. Sudanese Canadians feel abandoned by Ottawa as relatives await travel documents. Kudakwashe Vanyoro’s book Migration, Crisis and Temporality at the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border: Governing Immobilities looks great.
Reckoning with colonialism
Isaac Samuel explains how Hegel’s deliberate ignorance of African history legitimated the colonisation of Africa. This is an interesting thread of The Wretched of the Earth. A new documentary confronts fallacies about Frantz Fanon. A colonial statue in Senegal’s former capital is no longer welcome. Ken Opalo explains postcolonial political decay through the case of Guinea-Bissau.
Security and instability
The Abyei area, between Sudan and South Sudan, remains at a violent impasse. The Wagner Group will continue its activities in Africa, as hundreds of Wagner fighters arrive in central Africa. This is how Africom is destabilizing and militarizing Africa. Escalating violence in the DR Congo is displacing people and requires an urgent response. Roll over Prigozhin, here comes Paul Kagame.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Ghana attempts to repatriate Burkinabe refugees in the north in devastating news for the population. Paul Kamara argues that democracy is under threat in Sierra Leone. Putin will not travel to South Africa for the BRICS conference. Political killing in DR Congo casts a shadow over plans for December elections. Zimbabwe’s opposition launches election campaign despite setback. This report examines coups and democratic renewal in Africa. Mandela goes from hero to scapegoat as South Africa suffers. The Supreme Court rejected a bid to block Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ law from becoming law. Learn more about a proposal to amend South Africa’s intelligence laws.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Check out Hsi-Chuan Wang’s cool article on cultural variables and informal settlements in Accra and Buenos Aires. This is how inclusion and care policies can tackle inequalities in cities. Mukta Naik discusses flooding in cities. This report outlines how to rescue SDG 11 for a Resilent Urban Planet. Tom Gillespie and Seth Schindler examine rentier capitalism and urban geography in Africa. These photos tell the story of the real Johannesburg. Ghana’s “Trade Fair” sums up its urban problems. And check out the international review of slum upgrading policies.
Colleagues and I published this ODI Working Paper “Practical reflections on conducting survey research in cities in low- and middle-income countries.” We discuss research design, sampling in cities without censuses, survey design and implementation. We then propose some promising approaches to sampling and surveying urban populations. Check it out!
This briefing outlines patterns of electoral violence in Cote d’Ivoire’s “third-Term crisis.” Lisa Garbe examines the impact of Internet shutdowns on electoral violence in Uganda. This article analyzes legal autocratization ahead of the 2021 elections. Check out Marco Tavanti’s Sustainability Ethics: Common Good Values for a Better World.
The week in development
What are the top global destinations for higher education for African students? A vast demographic shift will reshape the world. It’s time to bet on Nigeria and South Africa. Africans challenge Biden policies at US business summit. Russia halts grain deal that allowed Ukraine to export crop, threatening food security in Africa. This is what the Mawazo Institute has been up to. This is an interesting piece about how one community in South Africa wants resources to be spent to fight malnutrition.
Former workers at Twitter in Ghana accuse the company of failing to pay severance. The Lagos-Ibadan freight railway was recently completed. Nigeria should have been able to see its food security emergency. Bill Gates is wrong on overpopulation. Landry Signe explains why US-Africa trade under AGOA has been successful for some countries but not others. Zambia’s copper output falls to 14-year low.
Check out the World Bank’s Africa Quarterly Updates.
Africa and the environment
The World Resources Institute outlines a strategic plan to get the transition right for people, nature, and climate. Ethiopia attempts a massive tree-planting exercise. This is how a voluntary forest restoration in Kenya ended a decades long security problem.
Make sure to read this report on climate change and environmental politics in Africa.
Shipwrecks off the coast of Mombasa. Yum: Cured and blow-torched mackerel with hibiscus and ginger sauce. Tunisian startup curbs “Fast Fashion” revitalizing shoes. The dance at Mamaya in Guinea is very cool. Get some grub at Nairobi Street Kitchen.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil