Discover more from This Week in Africa
This Week in Africa
September 22, 2023
Good Authority (previously The Monkey Cage) is up! Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“The people of Derna lived and died in the epicentre of that indifference - as the skies unleashed 100 times the monthly rainfall in 24 hours ..., as dams broke after years of war and neglect ..., as everything they knew was wiped off the map.” — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Rebuilding after Libya’s flood
The process to distribute aid is difficult in Libya, where the country is governed by two rival factions. Residents are angry about the government response, and it highlights the corruption and negligence of those in charge. After dams broke in Derna in the east, authorities shut down the internet, limited cellphone coverage, and imprisoned activists who are demanding accountability. This is a helpful background of the politics of the region. The devastation is massive.
Reconstruction in Morocco
A perilous mountain pass has become a lifeline for residents as Morocco seeks to reconstruct after the deadly earthquake. Historic buildings were ruined. The king has stepped in to help, as has the country’s ministers. Laila Lalami explains how we can help. These are vetted organizations at the frontlines.
Fighting in Darfur
The war in Sudan is devastating Darfur, which was finally seeing relative stability after decades of Genocidal violence. The Rapid Support Forces made up of predominantly Arab militias has taken control of many towns in Darfur and is destroying villages, while the Sudanese Army operates out of major cities.
Governing South Africa
Johannesburg’s “hijacked” building fire exposes corruption and housing chaos. A picture is emerging of the people who died in the building fire. South Africa makes a haphazard commitment to the free movement of people. This is an important investigation into the killing of councillors in KwaZulu Natal. The deaths have brought service delivery to a standstill. Justice Malala explains how the ANC will swallow the IFP. And an important documentary: Fear and Loathing in South Africa.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Noah Nathan’s study is awesome: “Explaining Urban Order: The Autocratic Origins of Africa’s Street Networks.” This is a cool article about the newspaper writers and neighborhood activists fighting against housing demolition in Lagos in 1951-56. Laurent Fourchard provides this excellent review of comparative urban studies and African studies at a crossroads. Julien Migozzi shows how rental platforms renew racial capitalism in South Africa. Check out this socio-spatial analysis of regime shifts in Addis Ababa's urbanisation.
Check out this report on climate resilience in informal areas. Cities need more financing to reach SDGs. Will Nigeria be able to maintain its new metro? Ransford Acheampong asks: What do cities want and how can urban planning respond to AI?
Sanitation and the right to City Life.
Struggle for rights and freedom
DR Congo’s Tshisekedi is imprisoning journalists as he tries to hold onto power. Julia Leininger argues that the world cannot sell out democracy. Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo demanded reparations from slavery at the UN. Gabrielle Lynch explains why Kenyans don’t trust the courts. Paul Kagame will run for a fourth term in 2024 (no surprise there). eSwatini turns even more authoritarian. Ghana arrests protesters demonstrating against the economic situation. Is northern Nigeria’s Kannywood film sector being politically targeted? What is African about digital citizenship in Africa?
Security and instability
On the missing people in Nigeria’s war on terror. Watch this discussion in UK’s Parliament on security and stabilization in Africa. The attack on Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi happened ten years ago and killed 67 people. One survivor has coped by planning to hike to Mount Everest Base Camp. Fighting in Port Sudan reflects tensions between Sudan’s army and local tribes. Local partners are key to finding solutions to combat violent extremism. Rita Abrahamsen discusses the threat of “feel good” militarism in Africa.
Dan Paget breaks down the role of representation in political rallies (see article here and excellent post here). Learn more about Ghana’s digital public sphere. Joeva Rock and her colleagues examine the knowledge politics of genome editing in Africa. Sandy Zook, Kelly Krawczyk, and Franklin Oduro explore service-providing non-governmental organization perceptions of shifting civic space in Ghana.
This is how political insiders lose out when international aid underperform in Ghana. This article examines the first African officers in the Kenyan army, 1957–1964. A cool special issue on Nigerian Campus Forms is out. Makau Mutua discusses the subnational challenges to democratic theory.
Check out Kseniya Oksamytna’s Advocacy and Change in International Organizations: Communication, Protection, and Reconstruction in UN Peacekeeping. I can’t wait to read Jeffrey Ahlman’s Ghana: A Political and Social History. Andrea Behrends’ Lifeworlds in Crisis: Making Refugees in the Chad-Sudan Borderlands looks great.
Sign up to present at the African Politics Conference Group Online Colloquium.
The week in development
Learn more about efforts to reform development in Somalia. DR Congo seeks mining investments from the United Arab Emirates. This is the important untold story of the environmental destruction in the Niger Delta. Kenya’s new urban school feeding plan is ambitious. Here are ten criticisms of the Sustainable Development Goals. How is Dean Karlan trying to fix how USAID delivers aid?
Ghana’s economic struggles
This is a telling story about Ghana about how countries in debt are constantly in crisis and need to be bailed out by international financiers. Ghana’s former president and current presidential candidate John Mahama gave this speech on trade between the Global North and Global South.
Africa and the environment
How to address marine plastic pollution. Eyo Eyo explains how climate change is compounding the challenges created by extremist insurgencies in the Sahel. Liberia to concede significant territory to UAE firm in carbon offset deal.
These are the highest rated books from every country. It’s always time for a cheeky Nando’s. Thieboudienne, yum. Jagun, Jagun on Netflix. Ebo Taylor in Australia. The joy of jollof rice. Will there be an NFL game in Africa?
This looks awesome: Yewande Komolafe’s My Everyday Lagos.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil