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This Week in Africa
February 11, 2022
In Tuesday’s newsletter I explained why I’m joining GLD. Here is the week in Africa:
Quote of the week
“I am increasingly convinced that Sahelian and other weak states in the region can’t simply elect their way to political stability. Good governance cannot exist without effective government. To survive, democracy must demonstrably help fix voters’ everyday problems.” – Ken Opalo
Coups in West Africa
What’s behind the recent coups in Africa? Jonathan Powell and Salah Ben Hammou discuss the trends on the continent. This is a very interesting article about the role of drug trafficking in the failed coup in Guinea-Bissau. In Burkina Faso, there is now a battle for the airwaves.
Naunihal Singh explains all things coups in this Ufahamu podcast. Alex Thurston argues that it’s time to rethink the international response. USIP highlights the failure of stabilization programs. Kristin Harkness provides this excellent analysis, focusing on political transitions and ethnic stacking in the military. But remember, coups do not signal the end of democracy on the continent.
Challenges of governance in Mozambique
Ethiopia’s civil war
Next steps in Mali
China and Africa
Stay up to date on your China and Africa news here. This piece examines China’s investment on the continent. China’s infrastructural investments dwarf those of the West. These are the three historic stages in the China-Africa relationship.
The African Union
Coups and COVID loom large at the African Union Summit. The AU declares 2022 the Year of Nutrition. The AU calls for bolstered health emergency infrastructure. This is how to strengthen the AU-EU partnership. Here is a look at the AU’s successes and failures after 20 years. Africans need more seats at the tables of power.
Struggle for rights and freedom
Get all your Sahel news here. Check out the latest issue of Feminist Africa. Children and long-term refugees are most at risk of statelessness in the Horn of Africa. Ebenezer Obadare explains Africans’ thirst for prophesy. Terrorism is affecting Kenya again. This report sheds light on a brazen attack on an IDP camp in DR Congo.
Learn more about the local resistance committees fighting for democracy in Sudan. Tunisians support the president – and democracy. Meet the African female warriors who led empires and armies. Living documents and the historic postcards of Guinea. Nigeria sends displaced people home despite ongoing conflict. Check out the best political violence books of 2021—fiction edition.
Africa’s rapid urbanization
Check out this new article about modernism and sanitation in Kampala. Make sure to pick up Power and Informality in Urban Africa: Ethnographic Perspectives. Read this: The Urban Brain: Mental Health in the Vital City. Check out Kamau Wairuri’s article on police violence in Nairobi. This special issue examines infrastructural stigma and urban vulnerability. Is urbanization in the Global South fundamentally different?
I like this diagram of informal transport types. Museveni lifts the curfew on boda bodas. Forced evictions and demolitions destroyed 10 communities in Port Harcourt. This is why urban poverty in Africa needs more attention, and why Nigeria needs efficient public transport systems. Cameroon struggles with a deadly cholera outbreak.
This article examines diaspora grand-mothering in Nigeria. Check out the Anatomy of Resistance Campaigns dataset. This article examines legacies of Islamic rule in Africa. Check out Josh Goldstein, Shelby Grossman, and Meredith Startz’s paper: “Belief in COVID-19 Misinformation in Nigeria.” Michaela Collord’s article “Wealth, Power and Institutional Change in Tanzania’s Parliament” is out (thread here). This paper uses political settlement analysis to explain poverty trends in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
Dipo Faloyin’s Africa is Not a Country: Notes on a Bright Continent has a cool cover. I look forward to Joshua Grace’s African Motors: Technology, Gender, and the History of Development. Toyin Falola’s Decolonizing African Studies looks great. This too: Jonathan Roberts’ Sharing the Burden of Sickness: A History of Healing and Medicine in Accra.
Is there “methods diversity” in the study of political violence? What are our ethical responsibilities as HPE scholars? With evidence from Burkina Faso, this paper asks: Can appeals for peace promote tolerance and mitigate support for extremism?
The week in development
Check out these five priorities for Africa in 2022. The case for property rights. Oil is discovered off the Namibian coast. Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania are leading the way on East Africa’s post-pandemic recovery. Boomplay is monetizing music for African artists. This is a good thread about the need for democracies to fix voters’ everyday problems. African countries need to fix their distribution centers. Learn more about the role of Russia’s Wagner Group in Africa. Why do economists get Africa so wrong? Are Russian mercenaries collecting coffee tax in the Central African Republic?
Africa Cup of Nations
Soccer has brought lots of joy the past month. This thread has all you need to know about the tournament. Senegal defeated Egypt on penalty kicks in the final. Congrats to Senegal! The celebrations are awesome through the streets of Dakar. The tournament opens a new chapter for African football, and could spur new demand for African coaches. The government gives the players bonuses and a plot of land!
Africa and the environment
Cyclone Batsirai leaves devastation and death in Madagascar. It shows the inequality of climate change. Forest rangers, firefighters and volunteers battle fire and winds in Kenya’s Aberdare National Park. A drought threatens millions of people in eastern Africa. This is why poor WASH is a threat to the environment. Southern Africa’s summer is wetter than normal. Climate finance is critical.
Afropop is storming the world. Read this: Ted Lasso and the Afropolitan. Yum: Deconstructed Papaya/Pawpaw Cheese Cake. Africa at the Winter Olympics: A short history. Read about the epic tale of one man’s journey from Togo to Greenland. Check out Warsan Shire’s portraits of Somalis in exile. Check out this call for illustrators from across Africa to document stories of queer activism on the continent.
All the best,
Jeff and Phil