Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
April 15, 2022
The SSRC is ending the International Dissertation Research Fellowship program after 25 years. I would not be a scholar today without it. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“The catastrophic floods in KZN are a painful reminder of the consequences of climate change. But they are also about poor governance, lack of maintenance of public facilities like roads, drainage systems and a government that ignores or has no early warning systems.” – Nomboniso Gasa
Rightwing politics in South Africa
Xenophobic attacks are on the rise—again. Migrants flee the country as violence against foreigners worsens. Learn more about the future of rightwing politics in South Africa. Sean Jacobs explains the shift. Parties are preying on South Africans’ discontent. Organizations perpetuate inequality in the country.
Gaddo sums it up best.
Floods in Durban
Massive floods and mudslides killed scores of people in Durban, South Africa. The death toll has reached 300 people. These photos tell the story. The devastation is massive. Ramaphosa visited the sites hardest hit and vowed to help the victims. The flooding closed it largest port. It is “one of the worst weather storms in the history of our country.” Many blame the “predatory political elite.”
Justice for Thomas Sankara
UK’s immigration policy
The UK will provide visas to recent grads from the top 50 global universities. On the other hand, people seeking asylum in the country could be relocated to Rwanda, in a move that shocked and angered human rights organizations. It also gives Rwanda massive leverage over UK policy. The UNHCR warns against “exporting” asylum.
Nigeria train attack
Who’s behind Nigeria’s high-profile train attack? Why is Kaduna State under attack? Families of victims bemoan the government’s silence. Meanwhile, gunmen attack and kill at least 50 people in Plateau State.
Authoritarianism in Uganda
African international relations
Chris Blattman asks: Why are so many African and Asian nations ambivalent about Russia’s invasion? This is a neat thread about how African leaders used the Cold War to advance their own political – and very local—agendas. US-trained militaries are ousting civilian governments. The US breaks ground on a $537 million consulate in Lagos, which will be the largest in the world. The Global Fragility Act faces hurdles.
Security and instability
Fulani men in Northern Cote d’Ivoire claim they are being persecuted by security forces. At least 16 people were killed in a Burkina Faso army base attack. What are the international military options for the Sahel? Could peace be on the horizon in Ethiopia? The Tigray conflict now engulfs a neighboring state. This piece examines the impact of terror in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. A weak social contract prolongs the conflict.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Ramaphosa’s war on graft is not going so well. Angola detained and charged 22 peaceful protesters. Somalia’s first all-women media house launched this week. Political aspirants face safety concerns in Kenya. The days of elite deals in Sudan should be over. This is why improving trust in the Nigerian police has proven difficult. The Elephant provides good insights into northern Kenya. An NGO claims that the indigenous Batwa people are being wiped out in the name of conservation. Bamba Ndiaye explains how voters are sanctioning the regime in Senegal. This is a helpful overview of Nigeria’s 2023 election. Get all your Sahel news here.
What drives Chinese migrants to Ghana? Did Makerere fail in its attempts to become a university? Can citizen-led protests lead to meaningful economic redistribution and nudge governments to increase redistributive efforts of fiscal resources?
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Nairobi gang members are turning to greenery to change their lives – and their city. Lewis Abedi Asante and Ilse Helbrecht examine Chinese financing of a market in Cape Coast, Ghana. Learn more about Jackson Park in Kumasi. Laila Iskandar discusses the politics of waste collection in Egypt. Securing the right to affordable housing in African cities is crucial for sustainable development. Amnesty International warns Greater Accra Regional Minister to stop demolishing structures.
Read this: Daniel Agbiboa explains the subversive economy of the Lagos danfo.
Check out the new issue of African Affairs and the new issue of Comparative Politics. This is a great series of articles about Walter Rodney. This is an interesting chapter on how police serve the regime in Kenya. Zack Zimbalist analyzes how electoral competition shapes local public goods provision in South Africa. Namhla Thando Matshanda examines Ethiopia’s civil wars in this new article.
Black Markets and Militants: Informal Networks in Middle East and Africa by Khalid Mustafa Medani looks great. Get ready for On the Frontiers of the Indian Ocean World: A History of Lake Tanganyika, c.1830-1890. Bulama Bukarti takes us Inside Boko Haram. Take a look at Burning Matters: Life, Labor, and E-Waste Pyropolitics in Ghana. This looks compelling: The Saviour Fish: Life and Death on Africa’s Greatest Lake. Bénédicte Savoy’s Africa’s Struggle for Its Art: History of a Postcolonial Defeat is a must read. Check out Adam Day’s States of Disorder, Ecosystems of Governance: Complexity Theory Applied to UN Statebuilding in the DRC and South Sudan.
The week in development
What can we learn from the HIV experiences in the global south, in this time of COVID-19? The impact of delaying payments in Africa. Crypto struggles for legitimacy in Africa despite growing use. This psychiatric hospital in Sierra Leone used to chain patients, now it treats them. This is an interesting article into the history of epidemic containment in Uganda. Black market SIM cards turned a Zimbabwean border town into a remote work hub. Tanzania’s Standard Gauge Railway set to start operations in April. South Africa raised $3 billion in sovereign bonds. This is why investors are piling into African startups.
Read this important study by Bruce Wydick and collaborators (including Mustafa Zahid): “The impact of cleft lip/palate and surgical intervention on adolescent life outcomes.”
Why does Ghana see just 2% of the $100 billion chocolate industry’s profits? Ryan Lenora Brown explains what secondhand Levi’s tells us about global inequality. A Tesla-backed startup made cheap power a debt burden for the world’s poorest. David Hundeyin conducted this incredible investigation into Flutterwave, Africa’s Fintech superstar. The story is full of fraud, perjury, and insider trading.
The price of staple foods like rice, onions and oil is rising in Senegal. Nigerian shopkeepers are feeling the stress of rising prices. Ghana’s inflation is at highest rate since 2009. West and Central Africa are facing a huge food crisis. These challenges are contributing to a decrease in annual growth across the continent. This looks like a great event: Africa’s Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery with insights from Ghana and Nigeria.
Africa and the environment
This is an awesome visualization of rivers in Africa. This is a cool thread about where nature, people, culture, and the economy meet on the floodplains of Zambia. Climate change will increase pressure on Ghana’s Weija Dam. Take a look at SIPRI’s climate-related peace and security risks. Madagascar and Kenya are featured in the Netflix series Our Great National Parks. Climate change increased rainfall associated with tropical cyclones hitting highly vulnerable communities in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi. Uganda fights crop-devouring armyworm in Uganda. Drought will displace 700 million in Africa. Learn more about the glacier of the Kalahari. The World Bank and the IMF are getting it wrong on climate change.
A beautiful coastline. The future of green architecture is in West Africa. A Kenyan climber joins the first all-black team attempting to scale Mount Everest. Kampala from above. Meet Michael Tetteh, Ghana’s glass blower. Olivia Nelson-Ododa with Kenyan roots selected in WNBA Draft. Can art change Africa’s future?
All the best,
Jeff and Phil