This Week in Africa
January 13, 2023
Ken Opalo’s Substack is great. Meet the new GLD fellows! Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“Our future is not in our hands, as the climate change is caused outside our borders.” — Khadija Mohamed Al-Makhzoumi, Somalia’s first climate change minister
Nigeria’s presidential election is the most important in the world in 2023. Bola Tinubu, Nigeria’s kingmaker, eyes a chance to become king. Peter Obi wants to clean up the country. Will insecurity undermine the elections?
Death of Edwin Chiloba
Edwin Chiloba, a Kenyan LGBTQ+ rights activist, model, and fashion designer was found dead on the side of a road outside Eldoret. He was smothered to death. The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights issued this statement. His roommate is suspected in the death. The brutal murder has shaken Kenya.
Kenya’s “Hustler” Fund
Kenya is experimenting with a number of new social protection schemes as an approach to national transformation. It has called the “hustler fund.”
End of Uganda’s Ebola outbreak
Uganda declares the end of its Ebola outbreak. These are five recommendations for successful community engagement in emergencies.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Tigray is reopening for business, but is short on cash. This is a an interesting piece on the effects of early colonial warfare in central Africa. A horrific bus accident killed scores in Senegal. Benin’s parliamentary elections test its democracy. Amnesty International reports “chilling” attacks against opposition supporters in Zimbabwe. Museveni’s son jostles to succeed his father. This is interesting: Racial imaginaries on the Yugoslav construction sites in Zambia. Are great writers forged by repressive regimes, or crushed by them?
And check out Human Rights Watch World Report 2023.
Security and instability
Stabilization policies fall short in limiting West African coups. Nigeria’s youth bear arms to protect land and homes in Kaduna. Learn more about Somalia’s offensive against Al-Shabaab. US Congress urges the Pentagon to form a deeper partnership with Somaliland.
Migration and displacement
These are the African migration trends to watch in 2023. Rwanda says it will not accept DR Congo refugees anymore. Kagame is politicizing refugee rights. Taibat Lawanson and Rebecca Enobong analyze cities as spaces for IDP resettlement.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
These are the five trends that will shape urban Africa in 2023 (thread here). Africa’s Urbanization Dynamics 2022 is out. Meet Freetown’s Heat Officer. Artists and makers are doubling down on Johannesburg. 100-year coastal floods in Africa now happen every 40 years. Africa’s seven largest coastal cities are projected to grow by 40 percent. Mwangi Mwaura provides these thoughts on theories of urban Africa. Festival Boateng and Jackie Klopp explain why Ghana relies heavily on used cars. Elizabeth Dessie examines the gendered experiences of rural migrant youth in Addis Ababa.
And a vibrant nightlife booms in South Africa’s townships.
Elliott Green’s new book looks great: How and when do people change their ethnic identities? Pick up your copy of African Refugees. A Dictionary of Mozambican History and Society is out. Check out Humour and Politics in Africa: Beyond Resistance.
Inocent Moyo analyzes informal cross-border trade facilitation strategies in in the SADC region. This is cool: Historicizing the images and politics of the Afropolitan. The pleasures of African popular culture. Good work, Africa Spectrum!
And a cool syllabus on Making the Global South.
The week in development
Tavneet Suri recaps the year at VoxDev. I am looking forward to this cool new project on land tenure and strategies of climate resilience. Ken Opalo examines USAID’s localization agenda. Ghana is poised to request debt relief via the G20 Common Framework program. Its inflation hit 54% in December, a 22-year high. Cote d’Ivoire has boosted its cocoa supply. Meta ends its content moderation contract with Sama in Kenya. Meta denies that this poses a new risk. This is why Africa should look east. Java House is for sale. Obinwanne Okeke was a Forbes under 30 and rising star—and a fraud. Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia are the only African countries with a 100 % constant power supply. There is an epidemic of hospitalized children in Kenya. This is an important investigation into the treatment of Uganda’s disabled children.
Building a culture of innovation in Nigeria.
Africa and the environment
Hannah Ritchie asks: Will a few countries control low-carbon technology? An offshore energy bonanza spells doom for Senegalese fishermen. Alexander Kjaerum breaks down the “statistic” that 700 million people will be displaced by drought by 2030. Climate change could set off a copper mining boom. Plastic is east Africa’s evil new dictator. Water quality worries hang over Durban months after severe flooding. The ANC signals caution over green energy transition. Scientists say that restoration of the ozone layer is back on track. The last eight years were the hottest on record.
Countri res. Lunch in Nairobi. Yum. From Gold Coast Railways to Ghana Railways and beyond (Ibrahim Mahama is doing very cool stuff). The Black Star Line Festival looks pretty cool: the diaspora unites. Jogging through Dakar. Lots of great books on Brittle Paper’s list of African books to read in 2023, including Peace Adzo Medie’s Nightbloom. Check out the new Ufahamu Africa episode!
Accra, The Namib Desert, and Tassili n’Ajer make NY Times’ 52 places to visit in 2023.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil