Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
October 7, 2022
Quote of the week
“Every time we say it can’t get any worse, it does.” – Tsitsi Dangarembgba
Political instability in Burkina Faso
Ouagadougou is amidst a political crisis, again. Heavy fighting led to a coup d’état in the capital. Constantin Gouvy explains what led to the “coup within a coup,” or countercoup. Capt. Ibrahim Traore replaced junta leader Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba eight months after he took power in a coup. Who is Ibrahim Traore? But the fighting continued as conflicting reports emerged from the country. Damiba eventually resigned. Is the country in free fall?
West Africa’s political and security challenges are only getting worse. France’s role in the region has not helped. Russia might play an important role, too. The US needs a global anti-coup strategy. African Social Research’s “The Struggle for Democracy in Africa: Elections, Coups and Popular Opinion” provides some important lessons.
Uganda’s Ebola outbreak
Nigerians are tired of their political leaders (aren’t we all). Peter Obi is trying to change the narrative, and has an enthusiastic group of followers called OBIdients. Check out these rallies! He is also on the US circuit—here’s a summary of his talk at Harvard Business School.
Ethiopia’s civil war
This short film chronicles a massacre of civilians by Ethiopian security forces last year. More than 50 people were killed in an Ethiopian airstrike this week. Ethiopia’s government and Tigray rebels say they are ready for AU-mediated peace talks.
Ethnicity did not disappear during Kenya’s election. It emerged in appeals to a legacy of Mau Mau which played an important role in mobilizing Mount Kenya. Diana Hojlund Madsen argues that the elections were “a small win” for women’s political representation. Learn more about the ICC case involving Paul Gicheru, who was recently found dead. Meet Kenya’s new finance minister Njuguna Ndung’u. President Museveni asks Kenya for forgiveness after his son tweets about invading the country.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Burundi’s Gatumba massacre offers a window into the past and future of the DRC conflict. At least are 20 killed in triple car bombings in central Somalia. Al Shabaab has lost ground because it sabotaged food aid. Aminata Toure argues that Senegalese women need to express their anger. Sudan still tries to find a transformative constitution. This is an interesting feature of kids who grow up in Kenya without at least one biological parent. What law enforcement powers should Ghanaian chiefs have?
This is a good summary of Malawi’s current political challenges. Breaking down ANC politics. Angola has an opportunity to reshape its politics. Lesotho citizens go to the polls to vote in a system no one wants. And the Innovation Foundation for Democracy is launched to support democracy in Africa and France.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Police probe Freetown’s mayor after the arrest of her aid for inciting deadly protests. Many think the move is political, as the mayor is deemed as a threat to the governing party in the 2023 elections. Read this briefing for background on the political context. Greater Accra Regional Minister Henry Quartey wants to clean up the city (heard this before): #Operationcleanyourfrontage. What’s going on in Joburg? What can the world learn from 100 Resilient Cities?
Isaac Samuel provides a history of Aksum, an ancient African metropolis, as well as the Kuba Kingdom. Learn about late colonialism and segregation at the Ikoyi Reservation in Lagos. Brandon Marc Finn explains pandemic urbanization in South Africa. Make sure to check out Patrick Cobbinah and Finn’s “Planning and climate change in African cities: Informal urbanization and ‘just’ urban transformations.” “Innovating urban governance: A research agenda” is out. Check out the new issue of Urban Studies.
And don’t forget Accra Wala!
Researching Africa and the offshore world. This is an interesting article about unregulated religious spaces in Ghanaian public universities. High finance from below. This is how networks inform and motivate in rural Uganda. Tara Grillos finds that public participation in Kenya works if it involves deliberation. Identity and positionality matters in field experiments, too. This article examines regional cleavages in African politics. Ellen Lust talks to Adam Harris about his new book Everyday Identity and Electoral Politics.
Lots of great nominees on this list. And check out these CFPs: Youth Mobility Politics and Radical Change in West Africa; Migration Politics Residential Fellowships in Amsterdam, and; the African Association of Political Science Biennial Conference.
The week in development
Ghana is trying hard to address Cedi depreciation. McKinsey is charged over role in South Africa’s state capture scandal. Ghana’s first planned lithium mine will trigger West African exploration. This is why Nigeria is producing less and less oil. Japan’s Africa aid rivals China in terms of ‘quality over quantity.’ Africa sees record venture capital investment. Kenya is lifting a decade-long ban on GMOs and Joeva Rock provides her thoughts. Massmart looks to close Game stores in East and West Africa. Google will build a South African cloud.
Africa and the environment
An elephant kills three people in Malawi after a translocation of the mammals went bad. An Avian flu outbreak is killing penguins in South Africa. Neglected underground coal fires threaten lives of Zimbabweans. Learn about the myth that is plastic waste recycling in Kenya. Jeff Bezos wants to reverse deforestation in Africa. Read this interesting thread on cobalt mining in DR Congo. Johannesburg struggles with water shortages. African countries will push for more fossil fuel projects at COP 27. It also wants more climate financing. Cholera is surging globally as climate change intensifies. Analysts predict a drop in coffee production with rising temperatures. There is a climate migration in Somalia amidst drought. Climate change made summer hotter and drier. Climate camp in Tunisia!
Everyday life in Mogadishu. More on The Woman King. The Global Citizen Festival 2022 in Accra is now on YouTube. West African chefs take a page from the fast-casual playbook. Guinea was removed as hosts of the 2025 African Cup of Nations. Mandinka land, Senegal. Kipchoge the GOAT. Addis’ new science museum is cool. From boxing to…raising chickens. Uganda at 60. Yum, Sudanese fuul. Fufu! The Vertical Atlas! Dakar!
All the best,
Jeff and Phil