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This Week in Africa
December 16, 2022
Quote of the week
“There must be more room for Africa.” – Senegal’s Macky Sall
Violence in eastern DR Congo
M23 violence overshadows peace talks in eastern DR Congo. UK’s foreign minister is silent over Rwanda’s role in the violence. Onlookers worry of a proxy war. New reports show Uganda’s role in the conflict.
Ghana reaches IMF deal
Ghana reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF to help stabilize its economy. The country needs to restructure its domestic and external debt. The deal is Ghana’s 17th program with the IMF since independence in 1957. Meanwhile, inflation continues to rise while the currency attempts to rebound. Ironically, Nana Akufo-Addo urges Africa to stop “begging.”
Joe Biden hosted African leaders at the White House this week. The US pledged investments in four key areas amounting to $55 billion over three years. Here are some of the significant developments from the meeting. In an effort to strengthen links with African countries, Biden called for permanent African Union representation at the G20. He also unveiled a new council on the African diaspora in the US. USAID pledged more money for primary health care. Free trade is a major talking point.
W. Gyude Moore wants to make sure that Africa will not bear the environmental cost of a transition to a clean energy future. Leaders discussed outer space. Macky Sall calls for more space for African voices and interests. These recent Resistance Bureau episodes discuss the issues. Jon Temin argues that it’s time for a US-Africa cities summit. Sara Jacobs calls for a new U.S. approach that focuses on good governance.
And this photo sums it up: Biden watches the World Cup with African leaders.
Migration and displacement
Twenty-seven men believed to be Ethiopian migrants are found dead along road in Zambia. The UN migration agency is investigating the tragic event. Ten years after the Arab Spring, Tunisians are emigrating in record numbers as the economy sours and civic space shrinks. Why are young men disappearing from Zanzibar?
Struggle for rights and freedom
This is how Firestone exploited Liberia, and made Princeton as we know it. Benin is building a theme park to remember slavery. Families and activists unite to fight for justice over “river of death” killings in Kenya. The diary of a Kenyan election observer. Common Law offers a ray of hope for Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis. Liberian president George Weah faces criticism at home for his extended stay abroad. The son of an Ethiopian academic whose father was killed is suing Meta for its role in inciting and instigating violence.
This is how the ANC is fighting to stay relevant. This piece summarizes what went down in Nigeria in 2022. The ICC upheld a 25-year sentence for Uganda’s LRA commander Domonic Ongwen. Cambridge University will return its looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. What’s going on with the future of Ugandan politics? What do Africans want? Do they prefer military rule? Check out East Africa Rising!
Security and instability
Witnesses say that the Nigerian Army massacred children in its war against Islamist militants. Eritrea is the most dangerous player in the Horn of Africa. Violent attacks threaten Nigeria’s upcoming elections. Violence in South Sudan has killed 166 civilians, displacing more than 20,000. The legacy of released arms dealer Viktor Bout is felt across Liberia and beyond. Many Kenyans support vigilante cops to police their neighborhoods. Somalia turns to clan militias to fight Al-Shabaab.
Floods in Kinshasa
Africa’s rapid urbanization
There are also floods in Johannesburg that are also destroying homes. Driving through Cape Town looks hard. Sewage polluted beaches pose a threat to holiday makers and the environment in Durban. Learn more about the pursuit of modern cities and affordable housing in Tanzania. Get your copy of Pandemic Urbanism: Infectious Diseases on a Planet of Cities. This piece explores oasis towns in the Sahara. Dressing Dakar. This looks cool: The Urban Theory Africa Workshop. Listen to this podcast on migration, politics, and urban governance in Lagos.
Make sure to check out the new issue of Africa Spectrum, the Qualitative and Multi-Method Research’s newsletter, and The APSA Comparative Politics Newsletter. Adam Harris and Lauren Honig’s article “Mutual Dependence and Expectations of Cooperation” based on evidence from Malawi and Zambia is out. Check out Johanna Söderström and Elisabeth Olivius’ excellent article “Pluralism, temporality and affect – methodological challenges of making peace researchable.” This new article examines absenteeism in Nigeria’s health care sector. Learn more about the African Peace Processes Dataset. This article provides new evidence on state-building in Africa: “The Fiscal State in Africa: Evidence from a Century of Growth.”
Kim Yi Dionne and Boniface Dulani have this good chapter on attitudes toward same-sex marriage across the continent. Check out this paper on collective bargaining and spillovers in local labor markets in South Africa. Adaugo Pamela Nwakanma’s article “From Black Lives Matter to EndSARS: Women’s Socio-Political Power and the Transnational Movement for Black Lives” looks great.
Abosede Babatunde and her colleagues published Managing Violent Religious Extremism in Fragile States: Building Institutional Capacity in Nigeria and Kenya. Here are some good African Studies titles from the year. I can’t wait to read this: Noah Nathan’s forthcoming The Scarce State: Inequality and Political Power in the Hinterland.
The week in development
Kenya wants to be the tech capital of Africa. Indigenous trawlers are struggling in South Africa. Check out these farm-to-table pop ups in Kenya. Sudan signed a $6 billion agreement with an Emirati company to develop a Red Sea Port. Africa’s ports race is hyped as ‘development’ but also creates pathways for plunder. Visa will invest $5 billion in five years to cash in on e-payments boom. Amazon faces off against an ancient tribe over its headquarters in Cape Town. More investment is needed in a sustainable food system. Check out these reflections from the Dignity Initiative.
And Leonard Wantchekon explains his vision: “The idea is to create a community that will connect African economists and scientists that would create positive and lasting relationships across generations.”
Africa and the environment
The climate crisis exposes the real causes of hunger in Africa. Does Africa deserve green aid? The world’s most water stressed region requires cooperation and diplomacy. Seychelles ocean plants could help fight climate change. The horror of a hotter world is on stark display in parched east Africa. This is how climate change helps violent nonstate actors. Climate change is driving millions to the precipice of a “Raging Food Catastrophe.”
Africa’s World Cup
There is a World Cup, and Africa is there – everywhere. Morocco was Africa’s first representative in the World Cup semifinals. These six forces made them a force to be reckoned with. Morocco’s success brought a joyful Arab embrace. Is Morocco’s semi-final an African victory? Flying high over the pyramids.
Morocco confronted its colonization of Western Sahara, while France reckoned with its colonial history in the game against Morocco. Laurent Dubois uses Les Bleus to explain that another France is possible. Hisham Aïdi explains how Morocco’s success is forging a new, dissident third world solidarity around the multifaceted nature of Moroccan identity itself: simultaneously Arab, African, and Amazigh. Salma Mousa explains why all of Africa, the Middle East, and the Muslim world supported the Moroccan team like their own. And Charlotte Morlie writes: Belonging is not a sport.
I’ll take the Kilimanjaro 8. Go see the Maasai Olympics. RIP Congolese singer Tshala Muana. Happy Sunday, Bamako. Kenyans celebrate Jamhuri Day. Nigerian artists are carving their own path in the NFT space.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil