Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
May 12, 2023
Check out my article with Maureen Donaghy that compares sustainability and housing in Accra and São Paulo. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“All people are in fear and panic, and there is a complete lack of services. I am suffering intensely, as there is no water, no electricity, no health service, and no trace of the existence of the simplest necessities of life.” – Fateh Doka Abdel Sayed, president of the Sudanese National Union of the Physically Disabled
Sudan’s civil war
Alex de Waal explains the war between two generals that nobody wanted but has its roots in a long history of struggle for the city and country. This investigation uncovers how the RSF took parts of Khartoum and stormed the quarters of the army chief. Hemdedti challenges for control of the country. Learn more about the fall of Khartoum. Residents are left to brave the shelling and try to access the dwindling supply of food, water, medicine, and electricity. Peter Torres Fremlin provides this excellent account of the effects of the war on disabled people. This is a remarkable story of an obstetrician who is delivering babies amidst the fighting. A healthcare disaster looms in Darfur. This is how two students rescued dozens in the country.
This is a good update of the current status of the fighting. The US fumbled Sudan’s hopes for democracy, and the conflict will have a ripple effect across the region, as some worry that Eritrea and Ethiopia will be dragged into the conflict. Sarra Majdoub explains Hemeti’s dark, violent past.
The fighting generals are close to a deal to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the country. The AU is set to decide on who should secure Khartoum airport. Mediators are trying to broker a longer deal in Saudi Arabia. Check out the latest Ufahamu Africa episode which includes a conversation with Mai Hassan, Nisrin Elamin, and Deen Sharp on the conflict. The pro-democracy movement has found new unity and is central to any solution.
African international relations
Tim Murithi examines Africa’s quest for a new international system. This piece outlines the role of local and regional governments in development cooperation. Learn more about Turkey-Africa engagements. This is why Africa soft power matters. Read this: “Global Africa: Africa in the World and the World in Africa.”
Struggle for rights and freedom
30 people are injured and one dead as protesters demonstrate against an increasingly repressive state in Dakar. Police kill at least seven people during pro-democracy protests in Guinea. The life of Senegalese artist Omar Blondin Diop reveals what revolutionary politics looks like in a neocolonial state. IDPs are returning home to Cabo Delgado where Total Energies has invested billions in a natural gas project. Nigeria requires serious reform as Buhari departs office. Zambia’s president says security requires a whole society effort. Tsitsi Dangarembga’s conviction is overturned in Zimbabwe. Read this investigation into Nigeria’s military offensive against women and children as it attempts to crush the Jihadist threat. This is how the West promotes homophobia in Africa.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
This is not a joke: Nairobi’s rich face challenges of where to walk their dogs. Community knowledge is important in the study of cities. Abidjan is beautiful. Henning Melber provides a glimpse into the political and social dimensions of middle-class urbanites in Windhoek. This is a cool article that theorizes competition with boxers in Accra. Isaac Samuel provides a history of the Loango kingdom.
And this week in Kampala.
Gedimas Lesutis examines race, ethnicity, and infrastructure in the development of the Lamu Port. Check out Gildfred Asiamah, Mohammed Awal, and Lauren MacLean’s chapter on the politics of climate change in Africa. Christof Vogel explains the intractable fluidity of conflict in the postcolony. Goitom Gebreluel examines ideology, grand strategy, and the rise and decline of Ethiopia’s regional status. This piece provides insights into security strategy in northern Nigeria. This meta-analysis of audit experiments finds that gender composition predicts gender bias.
Make sure to read Mai Hassan’s awesome APSR article “Coordinated Dis-Coordination” that explains how Sudanese protesters demonstrate against a repressive regime (summary thread here). Check out this review article on grievance redress mechanisms in the global South. Max Gallien and Vanessa van den Boogard’s article explores formalization and its discontents. Bizuneh Yimenu assesses federalism in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, and South Sudan. Learn more about Ghana’s process of region separation in this article.
Laura Martin’s book Navigating Local Transitional Justice: Agency at Work in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone is out. Noah Nathan’s new book argues that even where the state is seemingly absent, government plays a major role in shaping society. I can’t wait to read Jennifer Hart’s Making an African City: Technopolitics and the Infrastructure of Everyday Life in Colonial Accra. Mai Hassan discusses all things bureaucracies, dictatorships, and people power with MIT’s president Sally Kornbluth on this podcast. Elliott Green discusses how industrialization reshapes modern ethnic identities in this podcast, and check out his book here and a thread on Botswana. This looks interesting: Swahili in Spaces of War. Gabrielle Hecht’s Residual Governance: How South Africa Foretells Planetary Futures looks great.
The week in development
Ken Opalo asks: Is global development dead? What is the economic potential of the Metaverse? This is what USAID’s localization agenda looks like. Todd Moss explains why Scaling Solar did not scale across the continent. This is another helpful thread.
Our GLD-IPOR Malawi Policy Brief is out: “Bridging the Gap between Citizen Expectations and Lawmakers’ Performance.” Most Ugandans continue to work without contracts. In Africa’s “first narco-state,” rehab can mean torture for addicts. Learn more about the Hewlett Foundation’s Inclusive Governance initiatives. This piece outlines how to boost jobs in Africa through digital and industrial linkages. Africa’s e-commerce startups are struggling to survive. Aid to citizens can change attitudes toward refugees, and maybe the way refugees are hosted.
Africa and the environment
Catastrophic flooding in the DR Congo kills more than 400 people. Joeva Rock explains how agriculture became a business in Ghana. Spring brings record heat to North Africa. Climate change fuels floods in Rwanda. Africa’s biodiversity loss raises risk to human security. Africa needs $700 billion for clean energy and metals.
This is a good analysis of the debate over race in Ancient Egypt. Some East African women took on colonialism through writing children’s books. Check out the exhibit on Tropical Modernism at the Venice Biennale. This is a neat article about the “secret” baseball academy that the LA Dodgers are running in Uganda. And every man gotta to decide his destiny.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil