Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
February 18, 2022
Check out Tuesday’s post, “From mobilization to governance: Through the lens of Mike Sonko.” Sean Jacobs discusses the political economy of silence in Academia. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the Week
“What I think is underemphasized, doesn’t get enough airtime, doesn’t get enough funding, doesn’t get enough attention is urban planning.” – Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr
France’s troop withdrawal in Mali
France plans to withdraw its troops from Mali in the coming months. The conditions to fight Islamic militants are no longer in place, Macron says. But the French military’s withdrawal is not as easy as it seems. Everyone is a victim. It is time for Europe to learn from its mistakes in the Sahel.
EU’s shifting role in Africa
The EU-Africa Summit takes place today. It includes a heavy, complex agenda. The Summit could be a major turning point in European-African relations. But African agency should shape Africa’s ties with Europe. Europe must deliver on promises past. The European Union has a €20 billion plan to invest in Africa’s infrastructure – and take on China. Nanjala Nyabola argues that Europe needs to do more to ensure the safe movement of people. Is Africa the future of Europe?
Coups in West Africa
Pierre Englebert and Rida Lyammouri argue that it is important to move beyond military containment in the Sahel. The failed coup in Guinea-Bissau draws attention to the growing drug trade in parts of West Africa. How can Africa prevent more coups? How can ECOWAS and the AU help combat coups?
Ethiopia’s civil war
Ethiopian officials are accused of extorting Tigrayan detainees. Meanwhile, Amnesty International accuses Tigray forces of pillaging Amhara towns and raping women. Afar is experiencing a particularly dire period right now. The Ethiopian government considers removing the TPLF from its terrorist list. War is brutal, war is ugly.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Tunisia’s president is looking to strengthen his grip on the country. Michela Wrong explains what Paul Rusesabagina’s appeal in Rwanda tells us about the country. Meet Mandisa Maya, who might become South Africa’s first woman Chief Justice. Chris Olaoluwa Ogunmodede reviews last week’s African Union Summit. The AU elevates AfricaCDC to an autonomous agency. These countries have elections in 2022.
Zimbabwe has closed prosecution of New York Times reporter Jeffrey Moyo. This group is archiving the lives of the LGBTQ community in Morocco. Swahili bids to become a language for all of Africa. Guinea must put justice at the heart of its transition. Are Sudanese protesters demanding too much?
Security and instability
Here are ten conflicts to worry about in 2022. Russian mercenaries spread across the continent. This is a really interesting thread about disinformation in Mali and the role of Russian mercenaries. Here are five reasons why militants are targeting Lamu County. Al-Shabaab is the main security threat in Somalia, but there might be a resurgence of the Islamic State as well. What’s behind Mozambique’s insurgency?
Ghana wants to tax e-payments; here is how to do it right. Ghana needs to do more to fight corruption. Ghanaians support media freedom. Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament Albin Bagbin is still the talk of the town. This is a cool event on Global Ghana.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Papa Sow argues that Senegal’s opposition is strengthened after its success in local elections (I discussed this in a recent post). Isaac Samuel explains Hausa urban architecture. Water shortage in Nairobi triggers extortion. Egypt’s demolition crisis is costing Sisi valuable political support. I look forward to reading Miles Larmer’s Living for the City: Social Change and Knowledge Production in the Central African Copperbelt and AbdouMaliq Simone’s The Surrounds: Urban Life Within and Beyond Capture. Check out the tallest building in East Africa: This Chinese-built bank in Addis. Learn more about motorcycle transit in African cities. Uganda’s boda bodas are back!
Astrid Haas asks: Can we do informal housing better? I enjoyed this discussion about housing and informal settlements in African cities with reflections on evictions, entrepreneurship, and housing for all. This is how the poor are fighting for their homes on Lagos’ waterfront. Kigali is creating this eco-tourism park. Addis Ababa is yet to meet the needs of its residents – and what needs to change. African cities need better funding opportunities.
I can’t wait to read Daniel Agbiboa’s Mobility, Mobilization, and Counter/Insurgency: The Routes of Terror in an African Context. This book looks interesting: On the Edges of Whiteness: Polish Refugees in British Colonial Africa during and after the Second World War. Check out WhatsApp and Everyday Life in West Africa: Beyond Fake News. Joost Fontein’s The Politics of the Dead in Zimbabwe 2000-2020: Bones, Rumours & Spirits is out soon. Learn more about African football migration in this new book.
Ada Johnson-Kanu discusses the historical origins of ethnic representation in the Nigerian bureaucracy. Andy Harris and Dan Posner explain the conditions under which politicians reward their supporters in Kenya. Portia Roelofs reads State and Society in Nigeria forty years on. Joan Ricart-Huguet and Elizabeth Levy-Paluck leverage a natural experiment in the dorms of Makerere University to explain cultural persistence. Check out this forum on conceptualizing coups over time. Kim Yi Dionne and Jennifer De Maio find that Twitter opens up lines of communication between politicians and citizens, but it does not democratize political communication (short post here). Myfanwy James describes how events are turned into fables in humanitarian organisations, focusing on Médecins Sans Frontières in DR Congo.
What is the global economic burden of violent conflict? Why do armed groups cooperate with humanitarians? Do protests spur economic redistribution in Nigeria? George Ofosu asks: What is the impact of traditional leaders’ endorsement of election candidates?
The week in development
China has invested $23 billion in African infrastructure. This paper proposes a way to integrate policymaking to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Ambreena Manji discusses the threatened eviction of 80,000 Maasai in Tanzania. Travel bans upended the lives of African students studying in Canada. Ramaphosa wants to formalize South Africa’s cannabis industry. Uganda is vaccinating—fast. Learn more about Facebook’s “sweatshops” on the outskirts of Nairobi. Formal employment is not a guaranteed path to social equality. Fact-checking Nigeria’s “unemployment capital” and Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address.
People with disabilities are no longer forgotten. Africa has the world’s fastest-growing gaming market. Kenya and Ethiopia reach a new power deal. The Hewlett Foundation launches a new Women’s Economic Empowerment strategy. The impact of Uganda closing its schools for two years is deep and uneven. A new land policy is putting the power back in the people in Sierra Leone. Check out this report on investing in Nigeria. African countries must protect their fish stocks from the EU. Has Cyril Ramaphosa been a disappointment?
Financing Africa’s recovery
Check out the World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery. These five African countries are in danger due to indebtedness. Ghana rages against the rating agencies. Travis Adkins hopes to build an African hub in Washington. South Africa should design economic policy based on strengths of regions.
Africa and the environment
Learn more about the geopolitics of African renewable energy. William Moseley explains the trouble with drought as an explanation for famine in the Horn and Sahel. African heritage sites are threatened as sea-level rise accelerates. Germany to transfer hydrogen technology to Africa. Startups are eyeing Kenya as an African EV hub. Can a genetic investigation technique stop elephant and wildlife poachers?
Listen to this recap of AFCON. Yum: A guide to tracing the African diaspora in Inglewood’s dining scene. Not bad: Senegalese football star Sadio Mane will have a stadium named after him. These Egyptian women are defying the patriarchy and riding bikes. Elephant dung and…gin?
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All the best,
Jeff and Phil