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This Week in Africa
June 2, 2023
Quote of the week
“I could not carry any of my art or personal belongings. This conflict has robbed us of our art and our peace, and we are now left trying to stay sane in the midst of displacement and death.” – Sudanese artist Yasir Algrai
Nigeria’s new president
Nigeria has a new president. Bola Tinubu took office this week, facing a struggling economy and persistent insecurity in the north. He will likely look to a number of loyalists from his time leading Lagos to fill out key posts. He immediately declared the $10 billion fuel subsidy null and void. These are five tests facing the new president.
Anti-LGBTQ+ law in Uganda
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law harsh anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, which even prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” Human rights activists and Western nations were quick to condemn the law. Winnie Byanyima provides this strong rebuke. DeLovie Kwagala calls for an end to the erasure of Uganda’s Queer Community. Rita Abrahamsen warns the anti-LGTBQ+ campaign could spread beyond Uganda’s borders. Here is the state of LGBTQ+ rights across the continent.
An oldie but important: Homosexuality is not un-African.
Politics in Senegal
Supporters of opposition figure Ousmane Sonko clash with security forces in Dakar. Sonko was sentenced to two years in jail for “corrupting youth.” Catherine Lena Kelly emphasizes the importance of judicial independence. Will the next twelve months see the death of Senegalese democracy?
Sudan’s civil war
Sudan’s democracy is deferred. It’s generals disappeared the people on the way to the economy. Christopher Zambakari explains that the conflict in Sudan is a complex situation in need of solutions. One strategy is to make pariahs out of Al-Burhan and Hemeti. A resurgence of fighting in West Darfur has devastated the region. Looters took advantage of the fighting in Khartoum. There is a quieter but significant war on Sudan’s artists. Will the humanitarian ceasefire lead to a political solution? What does the destruction of Khartoum mean for the country?
Comfort Ero and Richard Atwood explain how regional power politics are fueling deadly wars in Sudan—and beyond.
Struggle for rights and freedom
This is the state of Visa openness in 2022. Learn more about the struggle for control of Mau Mau memory. This piece fact-checks William Ruto. Forced return migrations are running into resistance in Europe and across Africa. Scores are missing in a deadly boat accident on Ghana’s Volta River. DR Congo represses peaceful protests.
Karen Attiah speaks: Nigeria should do what it wants with the Benin Bronzes.
Security and instability
This is why the world’s deadliest wars go unreported in Western news media. Judith Verweijen and Christoph Vogel explain why Congo’s M23 crisis lingers on. Niger’s cycle of deadly violence raises questions over US counter-terror role. Is Burkina Faso the world’s most neglected crisis?
Africa’s rapid urbanization
The act of surrounding. Rebecca Enobong Roberts and Tiabat Lawanson explain internal displacement in Nigerian cities. It is important to understand risk management for fires in Africa’s informal markets. Uber’s vehicle-financing partner is impounding cars in Nigeria. Kristof Titeca discusses Kampala’s Nasser Road, the center of entrepreneurial printing. Police are accused of using social media to profile and execute Mathare slum youth. Their right to life is denied.
Freetown’s iconic Cotton Tree has fallen. Kenya is taking a radical approach to its refugee problem—transforming camps into cities. These are five fresh perspectives on Africa’s housing challenges. The cholera outbreak in South Africa is a symptom of two decades of continued sewage pollution and neglect.
And Isaac Samuel does it again: Africa’s urban past and early industry in its pre-colonial history.
There are some great articles in Africa Spectrum. This is a cool article on the improvised hybridity of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway. Investment projects are not a one-way street. Vincent Obia examines Twitter activism in Nigeria. This article examines policing and ethnicity in the global south. This chapter examines civil society responses to changing civic spaces. Learn more about community participation in Tanzania’s petroleum sector. Paul Williams explains Al-Shabaab attacks against African Union bases in Somalia. This piece examines traditional leasehold of land in Ghana. What stymies action on climate change in Kenya? Why do voters accept bribes?
This looks great: Rebellious Riots: Entangled Geographies of Contention in Africa. Check out the new volume Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Development.
And join the Publishing Improvement Pipeline for Emerging Scholars (PIPES) workshop at ASA.
Urban Politics in the Global South Workshop
We are excited to announce a call for papers for the 2nd Urban Politics in the Global South Workshop, co-sponsored by UCLA’s Luskin Center and the Urban and Local Politics Section of APSA. We are holding the event virtually on October 26-27. Submissions are due July 1st. Visit globalsouthurbanpols.com for more information.
Ghana’s IMF deal
The week in development
Duncan Green discusses how to reform the World Bank. Unilever pivots to African suppliers as forex pressure mounts. This is a cool initiative on the legal recognition of artisanal fisherfolk in Senegal. Getting a job isn’t a ticket out of poverty. Thieves are stealing generators from cellphone towers during load shedding in Durban South Africa. Cape Town’s demand for solar panels surges on power outages.
This is how economists got Africa’s AIDS epidemic wrong. Giving cash can lower deaths among women. The voice of community is in your ear. The number of African millionaires to rise 42% over next decade. The IMF and World Bank fuel water privatization in Africa. Universities play a role in rethinking global challenges from an African perspective. Global shocks put Africa’s resilient spirit to the test. Why does food security and famine persist?
Africa and the environment
Drought-hit Horn of Africa battles raging and unrelenting floods. Marion Ouma explains climate adaptation in Kenya. Life in the hottest place on earth. A drought triggered by climate change has led to famine in the Horn of Africa. A debt crisis looms for countries most vulnerable to climate change.
Unfolding the diasporic layers of the Venice Biennale. Ghana’s next generation of clothes designers blow the whistle on fast fashion. Material residues at work. Check out the shortlist for the African Photography Prize. Glenn Edwards combines a love of Africa with Welsh communities in his photography. The Mogadishu Book Fair sparks a literary revival in the country. Here are five things to do in Accra. Loving this: DanceAfrica welcomes Ghana to Brooklyn. Nigerian food and fashion came together at this dinner party in Brooklyn. In honor of Binyavanga Wainaina.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil