This Week in Africa
January 6, 2023
2022 was a busy year. These are the Top Africa Stories of the Year 2022. And these are 19 books to read from the past year. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“If we all leave, what will happen to Tunisia?” – Dr. Behija Gasri
Nigeria’s 2023 election
The election of the year will be in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country (and not far off from being the world’s third-most populous nation). This is why elites are afraid of candidate Peter Obi.
Tenuous peace in Ethiopia
Ethiopian federal police deploy in Tigray after historic peace deal. Ethiopian Airlines will resume flights to the region as well. Yet Tigray war refugees fear return. There is evidence that Ethiopia used drone strikes in civilian areas during the war. There are a lot of important decisions to make that require political settlements.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Torture, rape, and abductions worsen in DR Congo. White men are charged in attack on black teenagers at South African pool (tifu). Violence and instability increased across the Sahel in 2022. Listen to the latest Nordic Africa podcast on the epidemic of coups. For Senegalese landmine victims, a forgotten conflict lives on. More than 20 people were killed in Somaliland as clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces broke out in eastern parts of the territory. This is a painful account of the hospital burn unit that serves as a microcosm into Tunisia’s deteriorating democracy. Mapping Chinese and Russian military and security exports to Africa.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
There is no standard definition for urban, and even the US just changed its designation for what “urban” entails. African cities could learn a thing or two from Vienna: How to keep rental prices affordable. Meet the Cape Town residents who are taking over vacant buildings for affordable housing.
Cameroon has deployed troops to Douala to stem gang violence. Unprecedented droughts are expected to exacerbate urban inequalities in Southern Africa. Apply for the Urban Theory Africa workshop. What does “fast growth” really look like?
New Year’s, Nairobi Style.
This is a cool article on the origins of racial capitalism in South Africa and the US. Anima Adjepong’s article on women’s football and gendered nationalism looks great. “Kenya’s ‘Universal’ social pension: The politics of registration in Marsabit County” is out. This article examines electoral competition and clientelism in South African local elections. Pick up Ivor Agyeman Duah’s Central Bank in Ghana and the Governors.
The week in development
Cote d’Ivoire battles chocolate companies to improve farmers’ lives. It is more costly than ever to be a fisherman in Sierra Leone. Nigeria identifies $2.3 billion infrastructure funding gap in new master plan. Mansa Musa and caravans of gold. Key debates about street vending. Bright Simons explains how to fix the seven flaws in Ghana’s debt restructuring plan. Why is Ghana experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades? Why doesn’t Uganda drink its own coffee?
Africa and the environment
Half a century of oil spills in Nigeria’s Ogoniland. Climate change worsens in east Africa. The Horn of Africa faces the most severe drought in two generations. It will affect Somali children for the rest of their lives. A creative way to paint Congolese politicians. This is how climate change impacts the Indian Ocean dipole. Climate change is leaving African elephants desperate for water.
What to watch for in 2023
Now that 2022 is over, Nosmot Gbadamosi provides this excellent analysis of what to watch for in Africa in 2023. These are the countries holding elections this year. International Crisis Group publishes its list of 10 conflicts to watch in 2023 (including Ethiopia, DR Congo and The Great Lakes, and the Sahel). CNN names Uganda among the best destinations to visit in 2023. And African History Extra is one of the most interesting Substacks out there.
West African cuisine will be a global food trend in 2023. Cameroon’s food will rule too. Ghana’s vintage enthusiasts are giving new life to Western clothing waste. Young Sudanese archaeologists are digging up history. Lots of amazing books on Open Country Mag’s list of 60 notable books of 2022. Gosh, Dakar is cool—a kaleidoscope of style. These seven medicinal plants from Africa are very popular. Ryan Brown explains the not-quite-redemption of South Africa’s infamous ultra-marathon cheats. Wow, Ghanaian Sulemana Abdul Samed is 9’6”. Some of the world’s most iconic architecture is in Africa. This is why Chance the Rapper is hosting the Black Star Festival in Ghana. Pepper changed the world.
RIP development economist Martin Ravallion. Some colleagues remember his tremendous impact. And RIP Pele. This is why he was revered in Africa.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil