This Week in Africa
May 13, 2022
Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“Many mothers have never spoken publicly about what happened to their sons. They have been threatened that if they report it or publicly talk about it the same officers who killed their sons will come for them or their other children.” – Benna Buluma, activist fighting against police brutality in Kenya
Struggle for rights and freedom
Sudan is intensifying its crackdown on prodemocracy protests. Somalia’s Parliament will vote in presidential elections on Sunday. Tunisia is sliding back into authoritarianism. Museveni’s plan to jail rivals for even longer might backfire. Refugees in Kenya gain employment rights as new law takes effect. To build its largest consulate in the world, the US has gone into business with a man convicted of money laundering. Learn more about the rise of African immigrants in the US. Meet the Kenyan mothers fighting to end police brutality. Watch this great event about traditional leaders and politics in Africa.
Are rights abuses tarnishing China’s image in Africa? How will Kenya’s election impact the East African community? Is Africa paying a high price for neutrality in Ukraine? Riva Levinson discusses the costs of the Ukraine War – from Kharkiv to Khartoum.
Security and instability
Ethnic clashes in Cameroon are not about religion. Here are some lessons learned from Europe’s military presence in the Sahel. Togo might have faced its first recent Islamist attack, as eight soldiers were killed. Learn more about the actors and drivers of conflict in the Sahel. This report examines ethnicity, conflict and politics in eastern Congo (thread here). Africa’s solutions to conflict are in crisis.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Lagos gets a pumping station to prevent flooding. This cool project digitizes Accra’s architectural history. The murals at Nairobi’s City Market are neat. Check out this symposium on comparative methods for global urban studies. This book looks good: Social Contracts and Informal Workers in the Global South. A brief history of Ojuelegba.
Make sure to check out Current History’s Africa Issue, which includes many great articles including this one by Celso Monjane and Anne Pitcher on the elusive dream of democracy, security, and well-being in Mozambique. This article examines media reports of child labor and lack of policy reform in Ghana. Check out Patrick Heller’s review article “Democracy in the Global South.” This article links the SDGs to the Africa Agenda 2063. This article examines making and unmaking the state in the Horn of Africa. Under what conditions do strong states under a centralized political authority emerge? What’s wrong with identity politics?
Students of the World: Global 1968 and Decolonization in the Congo looks great. Rebekah Mitsen writes African Impressions: How African Worldviews Shaped the British Geographical Imagination across the Early Enlightenment. Check out Carola Lentz and Isidore Lobnibe’s Imagining Futures: Memory and Belonging in an African Family. Roger Southall’s new book Whites and Democracy in South Africa unpacks the complexities of whiteness in the country. Take a look at Where Credit Is Due: How Africa’s Debt Can Be a Benefit, Not a Burden. Emmanuel Katongole’s Who Are My People? Love, Violence, and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa looks fascinating. Timothy Masiko writes Flexible Regional Economic Integration in Africa: Lessons and Implications for the Multilateral Trading System.
And check out the African Data Hub for the Study of Democracy.
The week in development
Pregnancy is a deadly gamble in Sierra Leone. Ghana is amidst a serious debt crisis, but will try not to go to the IMF. Tanzania is seeking support from the World Bank and IMF to combat rising cost of living. Financial speculators are pushing millions of people into hunger. Ethiopians escape war only to face hunger in Somaliland.
Malawi joins Zimbabwe in switching from growing tobacco to cannabis. Turkish builders are thriving in Africa. Tanzania eyes 100,000 jobs from a new $3 billion investment. These are three things that can go wrong at an oil refinery in Nigeria. A content moderator in Kenya sues Meta over working conditions. South Africa is set for a year of power cuts. Africa is still the least connected continent. Angola’s honeymoon with China has ended. Investors are rushing back into copper country.
Africa and the environment
As drought worsens, can Kenyans coexist with wildlife? Evicting people from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro conservation area is a bad idea and there are alternatives. Nalova Akua explains the climate crisis tinderbox in Cameroon. Growing African mangrove forests aim to combat climate woes. Climate change will make droughts longer and more common. A global scramble for metals puts Africa back in the limelight. The ocean’s biggest garbage pile is full of floating life.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil