This Week in Africa
January 20, 2023
Quote of the week
“I don’t care who you are or where you’re coming from, I can’t let people sleep in the street.” -- Imam Omar Niass, who houses newly-arrived African migrants in the Bronx
Africa in 2023
This is why the world feels different in 2023. Learn more about the new Cold War in Africa. Landry Signe argues 2023 will be a year of opportunity for the continent. These five trends will shape urban Africa in 2023. What’s in store for 2023?
Peter Obi has a real chance in Nigeria’s upcoming election. Learn more about the youth movement behind the politician. How significant would an Obi victory be? Meanwhile, attacks on electoral commission spark concerns for Nigeria polls.
Migration and mobility
African immigration is a growing, and often hidden, challenge to US states. Nigeria’s resettlement program is putting IDPs in harm’s way. This is how free movement of people across Africa can work. Learn more about the Senegal dream.
Leo Arriola, Lise Rakner, and Nicolas van de Walle’s volume Democratic Backsliding in Africa draw attention to the role of the law and the international arena in preventing the deepening of democracy on the continent. Andrew Little and Anne Meng argue that we are not actually in a period of democratic decline, and that the general narrative is rather driven by coder bias. Let the debate begin.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Get politics out of the universities (is that possible?). Thousands of people rally against President Saied in Tunisia. Elliott Green sets the record straight on whether Asians were kicked out of Kenya. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò argues that the idea of “precolonial Africa” is wrong. Ethiopia is in denial about injustices of its past. Eritrea’s dictator emerges as the winner of Ethiopia’s war. Independent journalist Ntwali John Williams is reported dead in Rwanda. Howard French explains what Europe stole from Africa. Learn about the politics of the Belt and Road workers in Africa. Ufahamu Africa takes on African activism. Is the colonial mindset dead? No.
And read this week’s The Continent.
This is an interesting article on conducting research with African adolescents. More on the Zambian Copperbelt. This article examines mining-induced displacement and livelihood resilience in Marange, Zimbabwe. Learn more about protests and racial nationalism in Zambia. Lachlan McNamee’s book examines why states colonize and why they stop. Daniel Agbiboa examines women countering insurgency in Nigeria. The Afrobarometer is crushing it!
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Western Cape has tried a new approach to housing that accepts informal settlements as part of its cities. An online housing scam is threatening families in Cape Town. This paper argues that smaller factory cities spurred US industrialization rather than large ones—this provides important insights for the role emerging cities can play in Africa. Wow, Nairobi.
Eric Gaisie and Patrick Cobbinah examine flood management in Accra. This paper examines the role the Economic Commission for Africa plays in its urbanization processes. Astrid Haas discusses unlocking financing for Africa’s cities. Lina Gutheil examines the impact of urbanization on political regimes. This is how to strengthen urban management and service delivery. Building sustainable cities. Are you a neocolonial transport planner? What is under the Old Fort of Zanzibar?
David Pilling asks: How to create a city?
The week in development
This study shows how a rural development interventions can contribute to increased migration to cities in Ethiopia. This paper studies women’s empowerment and the intrinsic demand for agency in Nigeria. The World Bank prepares for the polycrisis. Inflation hits Freetown’s cookeries. These are the countries with the worst food inflation. Ghana-based aid and advocacy groups call for debt cancellation amid crisis. Nigeria’s currency redesign and withdrawal limits are questionable policy and bad timing. Europe is trying (and failing) to beat China at the development game. How OpenAI used cheap Kenyan labor to make ChatGPT less toxic.
Africa and the environment
Mining and armed conflict threaten eastern DRC’s biodiversity in a complex web. More on climate change and the greening of water financing in Africa. Climate change is threatening Madagascar’s famous forests. A Tunisian cave village empties out due to drought and the draw of modernity. Droughts threaten food security in Tunisia. Climatologists warn of unprecedented heat waves as El Nino returns in 2023. African activists question the credibility of upcoming UN climate talks. Climate change and conflict are contributing to starvation in Somalia. South Africans reject energy price hike amid power shortage: blackouts hit 12 hours a day.
Trains into Tamale. Red clay, Tamale. Ibrahim Mahama explains how he is building institutions through art in the Global South. A cool thread on Hausa architecture. Who invented jollof rice?
Remembering activist and South African speaker Frene Ginwala.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil