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This Week in Africa
September 2, 2022
Quote of the week
“In every game there are winners and losers. The winners must remain humble, while the losing side must accept defeat.” — MPLA spokesman Rui Falcao in Angola
President Joao Lourenco won a second term for president, and secured a victory for the MPLA which has been in power for 47 years. The opposition UNITA did not accept the results. People on the streets don’t believe the outcome either. Lourenco faces some significant economic challenges in his second term.
Escalating violence in Ethiopia
The Ethiopian security forces carried out new airstrikes, claiming to target Tigray military bases. The attacks killed seven children as it ripped through a kindergarten classroom. UNICEF condemned the attack. The World Food Programme accused Tigray regional forces of stealing fuel from a warehouse. Analysts worry of a return to war. African governments must do more to ease the tension in the country.
William Ruto won the presidency but the opposition’s case contesting the count is still with the Supreme Court. The BCC has found no evidence of discrepancies in the tally. Raquel Muagai talks about what it’s like to cover the Kenyan election. Attention has now turned to how he will govern the country. Kenyans voted for a few local elections this week, too. Many Kenyans are tired, and want to move on. This post explains how the Parliament and Senate will work together with no clear majority. Learn more about the credit implications of the election. Despite the disputed election, there are signs of growing democratic resilience.
Xenophobia in South Africa
Many South Africans are angry that migrants receive health care (of course, many also support rights of foreigners). Foreigners face rising resentment—again. These quotes by representatives in South Africa’s government are terrifying: “We have a situation where citizens are being displaced by foreign nationals…they have taken over,” claims Sihle Mthiyane of the Dept of Home Affairs. And the mayor of Musina, “We must minimise the rights of immigrants and migrants. They must be made uncomfortable. What do you do if see a cockroach in your house. You buy doom.” Myths, migrants, and who benefits from medical xenophobia.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Humanize Africans. Nelson Mandela failed to seize the opportunity to build a regional integration program. Sebastian Elischer explains how military coups are key to understanding contemporary autocracies. Africa needs Biden to have a wider vision for Africa. A new survey shows that the ANC will likely hold onto power in 2024. Nurses recruited from Zimbabwe are being caught in UK ‘bonded labour’ schemes.
This map shows Africa’s contribution to international peacekeeping. Creating an environment of peace means avoiding backdraft. This new report examines the anti-LGBTQ bill and violence in Ghana. A new abortion law will save many lives in Benin. Russian mercenaries are attacking African civilians in Mali and Central African Republic. Dictators and utopians are changing constitutions. What can we learn from House of the Dragon? Will Africans’ calls for better democracy be met? And check out this week’s The Continent.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Check out this innovative water kiosk in Senegal. A post on Timbuktu. Wow, these Freetown floods. Youth innovation can help shape the future of African cities. Liberians are suffering in silence in Whein town. This is how poor people experience eviction in Somaliland’s growing cities. Kampala will collect millions in rental income tax. I want this book After Suburbia. Marco Di Nunzio writes on work, development, and refusal in urban Ethiopia. Learn more about the genesis of informal settlements in Harare. Waste pickers in Lagos tell their stories.
Will QR codes bring development to this informal settlement in South Africa? What are the critical success factors for successful urbanization? And check out the expanded Urban Social Disorder Dataset.
Urbanization in Ghana
I just returned from Accra where I was conducting fieldwork for a study of three neighborhoods – low income-, middle-income, and high-income – that we will then compare to similar neighborhoods in Lagos. Uncovering the governance and politics of these city neighborhoods will help us understand urban development in these cities, and beyond.
Luckily, there is some great new research to help us with this. Chandan Deuskar’s Urban Planning in a World of Informal Politics is an excellent new book that demonstrates how informal politics in most of the Global South sidelines planners, and shapes urban growth. Hsi-Chuan Wang’s cool article analyzes in situ infrastructural upgrading in Accra, Ghana. This piece examines the urban planning-climate change resilience conundrum. Also check out this one on private urbanism and the spatial rationalities of urban governance.
Carolyn Holmes reviews Eve Fairbanks’ The Inheritors and Evan Lieberman’s Until We Have Won Our Liberty about South Africa. I look forward to reading Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom. Get your copy of Youth and Non-Violence in Africa’s Fragile Contexts. Two new books examine the neoliberal restructuring of land and agriculture. This looks good: Environmental Humanities of Extraction in Africa. I am so excited to read Joeva Rock’s We Are Not Starving: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Ghana (summary thread here).
Emeka Njoku writes a grand theory of State-CSO relations in the context of violence, conflict, and security. This chapter explains internal politics in Tanzania. Read Rachael McLellan’s “Delivering the Vote: Community Politicians and the Credibility of Punishment Regimes in Electoral Autocracies.” This great article finds that voters eschew candidates who use vote-buying strategies.
Getting things “write.”
The week in development
Tunisia hosts Japan-African economic cooperation meeting. Japan pledged $30 billion in aid for the continent. South Africa needs to invest more in infrastructure. China’s Belt and Road initiative is transforming Africa’s development landscape. Africa must stay away from developing new dependencies. Charles Kenny argues that the Millennium Challenge Corporation working in richer countries is a bad idea. Africa’s path out of poverty to lasting prosperity remains elusive.
A class action lawsuit bubbles in Mauritius two years after oil spill. Large-scale agricultural projects are not working for Africa. This is an interesting piece about reducing maternal death in Ghana. Women traders in Uganda face a perilous journey across the border. Ghana continues to miss its revenue targets, the Auditor General report says. Ghana’s cedi continues to fall. Learn more about economic diversification in Nigeria. A new state power company takes shape in South Africa. Norway in Somalia. Southern African countries can do better at infrastructure.
Africa and the environment
Here are five things to know for Africa Climate Week, which kicked off in Libreville, Gabon. Africa Climate Week 2022 is in full effect. Africans want action on climate change. Uganda struggles to protect its wetlands. A drought enters its fifth year in the Horn of Africa. The drought, followed by flooding, damages crops in east Africa. The Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa will hinge on domestic reform. Coal still has great economic value. New research forecasts more dire sea level rise as Greenland’s ice melts.
The unbearable heaviness of climate coloniality.
Clemson soccer! I had a blast at Chale Wote Street Festival. A new documentary premiering at the Venice Film Festival features Bobi Wine, the ghetto president. Lamu, the beautiful. Kenyan cyclist Sule Kangangi dies during a bike race in Vermont. Don’t try to steal a lion cub from his mother. Coconuts, books, bodas, buses. Malawax!!
All the best,
Jeff and Phil