- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- D.R. Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea Bissau
- Ivory Coast
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Since 1994, more than 900 violent xenophobic incidents have been recorded in South Africa, resulting in at least 630 deaths, displacement of 123,700 people, and looting of about 4,850 shops.
United Nations experts recently warned that “the country is on the precipice of explosive violence”.
Myth 1: South Africa is swamped with immigrants
Myth 2: Immigrants steal jobs and employment opportunities from locals
Myth 3: Immigrants contribute to, or are responsible for, high levels of crime
Myth 4: Most immigrants are in the country illegally
Myth 5: Migrants are flooding public healthcare services
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
While the cancer burden is growing in lower- and middle-income economies, there were only 664 oncologists practicing in these countries in 2018.
There is only one cancer treatment center in all of Zambia, a country of nearly 20 million people. So for many there a cancer diagnosis also means racking up costs in travel to and from the Cancer Diseases Hospital in the capital Lusaka.
There were only three radiation therapy machines for the whole country, and only one was functioning.
Setting up a radiotherapy center in a country like Zambia requires an investment of around $6 million (€6 million).
Eritrea on Tuesday launched a full-scale offensive along the country’s border with northern Ethiopia in what appeared to be an escalation of last month’s renewal of fighting against Tigray forces.
The Eritreans are fighting alongside Ethiopian federal forces as well as allied militia.
Two aid workers reported intense fighting along the border, including shelling into a camp for displaced persons, the Reuters news agency reported.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
In its first report, the Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia said it had found evidence of a wide range of violations in the country by all sides since fighting erupted in the northern Tigray region in November 2020.
The commission, created by the UN Human Rights Council last year and made up of three independent rights experts, said it had "reasonable grounds to believe that, in several instances, these violations amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity".
UN investigators said they believed Ethiopia's government was behind ongoing crimes against humanity in the Tigray region, and warned that the resumption of the conflict there increased the risk of "further atrocity crimes".
The experts highlighted the horrifying situation in Tigray, where the government and its allies have denied around six million people access to basic services, including the internet and banking, for over a year, and where severe restrictions on humanitarian access have left 90 percent of the population in dire need of assistance.
The report said there were "reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and allied regional State governments have committed and continue to commit the crimes against humanity of persecution on ethnic grounds and other inhumane acts." They were "intentionally causing great suffering or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health based on their ongoing denial and obstruction of humanitarian assistance to Tigray," the report said.
Monday, September 19, 2022
Angola has an abundance of arable land and a diversity of climatic conditions that are suitable for producing a variety of agricultural products. Only 10% of the 35 million hectares of arable land in the country are currently being cultivated.
The country was once a major producer and exporter of agricultural products, including coffee, cotton, and bananas. However, exports of these had virtually ceased by the 1990s as a result of the civil war (1975–2002), which led to the collapse of commercial agricultural production.
To become an agricultural powerhouse on the African continent Angola’s agricultural sector will need to be transformed to meet the needs of its people (especially vulnerable farmers and livestock producers), economy, and environment.
Irrigation, as a pathway to climate adaptation, currently plays a modest role in Angola, but offers great potential for supporting resilience in the agricultural sector against water-related risks.
According to this year’s Africa Wealth Report, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria which respectively command $651 billion, $307 billion, and $228 billion in private wealth make up $1.18 trillion, translating to 56% of Africa’s $2.1 trillion total wealth, which is different from GDP, a monetary measure of the market value of all the goods and services produced in a specific time period in a country.
Morocco and Kenya close the top five list in the continent with total private wealth worth $125 billion and $91 billion, respectively.
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Tunisia is yet another country suffering the ravages of the price crisis. According to the state-run National Institute of Statistics, food price inflation is at its highest in three decades, at close to 12% this August. Rationing and empty shelves have become commonplace as the government struggles to pay salaries and food subsidies. Countless subsidised staple foodstuffs for Tunisians, are in very short supply.
This year, spending on subsidies is expected to make up about 8% of the country’s GDP – almost twice the share in 2021. In 2010, the currency was at an average of 1.17 dinar to the dollar. Today, the dollar is worth more than 3 dinar. Public debt has increased to the point where it is expected to reach about 83% of the country’s GDP by the end of the year. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Another factor is state spending on public salaries.
According to a recent statement by the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, around 13,500 Tunisian migrants made their way to Italy between January and September. This marks an increase of 23%, or 2,500 people, year-on-year. Ramadan Ben Omar, a spokesperson for the NGO, has no doubt who to hold responsible. "The Tunisian presidency bears full responsibility for the increase of immigration to Europe."
“Africa is on the frontlines of the climate crisis but it’s not on the front pages of the world’s newspapers." - Vanessa Nakate
Saturday, September 17, 2022
South Sudan has faced multiple hunger crises throughout its 11 years of independence due to a combination of factors including the effects of COVID-19, years of climatic shocks (floods, dry spells, and droughts), and conflict, which is forcing families to flee their homes. This has left the nation ranked among the world’s hungriest countries.
Currently, about 7.7 million people, or 63 percent of the population, face acute food insecurity. The problem is exacerbated by critical aid funding shortages, in part due to rising global food prices because of the war in Ukraine - shortages that have forced NGOs to cut back food distributions and school meal programmes.
“Children are the ones suffering the most in this crisis, mainly girls,” explains Mary Nyanagok, a gender and protection officer for NGO Plan International, which provides food assistance for tens of thousands of people in South Sudan. “With more than half of the population facing high risk of acute food insecurity, we need to act fast before it is too late.”
When food is scarce, girls often eat least and eat last, the NGO says.
Women and girls account for 70 percent of the world’s hungry. And as families and communities come under strain, girls are more likely than boys to be taken out of school, and will be at risk for early and forced marriage, gender-based violence (GBV), sexual exploitation and unwanted pregnancy.
The food crisis affecting families has resulted in many children having to rely on the school meal programmes - usually provided by NGOs, with main funding from the World Food Programme (WFP) - to have at least a second meal a day. However, due to country-wide funding cuts, NGOs have been forced to limit programmes to a smaller number of schools. Although NGOs are working to secure funding from new sources to reach more families, the cuts mean that many schools cannot offer meals at all.
Friday, September 16, 2022
More than 100 economists and academics have urged international lenders to crisis-stricken Zambia to write off a significant slice of their loans during financial restructuring talks this month. Zambia is seeking up to $8.4bn (£7.3bn) in debt relief from major lenders, including private funds run by the world’s largest investment manager, BlackRock, to help put its public finances back in order.
The anti-poverty charity Debt Justice said that only a major debt write-off could save the Zambian economy from complete collapse. Tim Jones, the charity’s policy head, said the IMF loan gave the country some breathing space, but the $8.4bn of interest payments due over the next couple of years should be “cancelled permanently, not rolled over to the 2030s to fuel another debt crisis next decade”.
Led by the Columbia University economist, Jeffrey Sachs, and Jayati Ghosh, the chair of the Centre for Economic Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, the 100-plus global group of economists and experts said in a letter to the creditors’ negotiating committee that Zambia should be given a waiver from debt interest payments due until 2023.
The letter said: “Because of the high interest rates and the fact Zambia’s bonds have been trading at well below face value since 2018, many bondholders stand to make huge profits at the expense of both Zambian citizens and creditor countries if paid at face value. It is therefore imperative that BlackRock and other bondholders agree to fully engage in a large-scale debt restructuring, including significant haircuts, in order to make Zambia’s debt sustainable.”
Funds run by BlackRock are among the largest private owners of Zambia’s bonds, holding $220m. Some are worth almost half the value they were sold at. Eurobonds worth $1bn that mature in 2024 plunged 6.3% in the last week to less than 56% of their face value. It has been estimated that BlackRock could make 110% profit for itself and its clients from Zambia if debt interest payments are paid in full. Jones said BlackRock had likely bought Zambian bonds at rock-bottom prices when it was clear the country was already in trouble. The country has three main private sector bonds that pay an average 8.1% in interest.
Of Zambia’s external debt, 46% is owed to private lenders, 22% to China, 8% to other governments and 18% to multilateral institutions. China is among the government lenders to agree a longer debt repayment schedule that private lenders, including banks, have so far resisted, Debt Justice said.
Zambia has cut health and social care spending by a fifth in the past two years to balance its budget, and has seen its debts soar in recent years to fund infrastructure projects, many to help the country supplement drought-affected hydropower plants. Solar energy projects have made the country almost self-sufficient in electricity, but the high cost of borrowing, local corruption and the coronavirus crisis have crippled the country’s finances. Further loans from the IMF have been tied to commitments to end fuel subsidies to households and businesses, pushing the inflation rate above 20% last year before it eased to 9.8% in August
In Yobe state, Nigeria, an estimated 1.6 million people – nearly 40% of the population – don’t know where their next meal will come from. In Niger, children in the east and south of the country, particularly in Maradi and Zinder – two regions severely devastated by the flooding – are the most affected by hunger. More than 150,000 people, about half children, have been severely affected by floods in Niger and Nigeria in recent weeks, Save the Children said. The torrential rain is expected to continue until the end of September, which could lead to further loss of homes, crops and livestock.
An estimated 6.3 million children under five were already predicted to suffer from malnutrition across the Sahel this year. With floods damaging crops and other food sources, hunger levels in Niger and Nigeria are likely to worsen.
South Sudan faces “its highest rate of acute hunger since its independence in 2011” from Sudan. He said 7.7 million people, over 60% of the population, are “facing critical or worse levels of food insecurity.” Without a political solution to escalating violence and substantial spending on aid programs, “many people in South Sudan will die,” he warned.
In northern Ethiopia’s Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions, more than 13 million people need life-saving food, Griffiths said. He pointed to a survey in Tigray in June that found 89% of people food insecure, “more than half of them severely so.” Beasley said a truce in March enabled WFP and its partners to reach almost 5 million people in the Tigray area, but resumed fighting in recent weeks “threatens to push many hungry, exhausted families over the edge.”
In northeast Nigeria, the U.N. projects that 4.1 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity, including 588,000 who faced emergency levels between June and August.
Somalia is experiencing its worst drought on record, and 1 million people have been forced to flee, while in Kenya 2.5 million livestock have died and 2.4 million people are going hungry.
Cereal production in Niger has fallen by 40% owing to extreme weather, leaving 2.6 million people in a state of acute hunger, while the desertification of crop and pasture land in Burkina Faso has resulted in more than 3.4 million people in extreme hunger.
Thursday, September 15, 2022
6.9 million girls and boys, one in three school-aged children, do not go to school in Sudan.
A further 12 million will have their school years heavily interrupted by a lack of sufficient teachers and infrastructure.
“No country can afford to have one-third of its school-age children with no basic literacy, numeracy, or digital skills. Education is not just a right – it’s also a lifeline,” says Mandeep O’Brien - UNICEF Representative in Sudan.
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Monkeypox has sickened people in parts of West and Central Africa since the 1970s, but it wasn't until the disease triggered unusual outbreaks in Europe and North America that public health officials even thought to use vaccines. As rich countries rushed to buy nearly all the world's supply of the most advanced shot against monkeypox, the World Health Organization said in June that it would create a vaccine-sharing mechanism to help needy countries get doses.
In July, the U.N. health agency designated monkeypox as a global emergency and appealed to the world to support African countries so that the catastrophic vaccine inequity that plagued the outbreak of COVID-19 wouldn't be repeated. But the global spike of attention has had little impact on the continent. No rich countries have shared vaccines or treatments with Africa, and some experts fear interest may soon evaporate.
“Nothing has changed for us here, the focus is all on monkeypox in the West,” said Placide Mbala, a virologist who directs the global health research department at Congo’s Institute of Biomedical Research. “The countries in Africa where monkeypox is endemic are still in the same situation we have always been, with weak resources for surveillance, diagnostics and even the care of patients,”
“Africa is still not benefiting from either monkeypox vaccines or the antiviral treatments,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa director, adding that only small amounts have been available for research purposes.
Since 2000, Africa has reported about 1,000 to 2,000 suspected monkeypox cases every year. So far this year, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified about 3,000 suspected infections, including more than 100 deaths. Rich countries have stretched their vaccine supplies by using a fifth of the regular dose, but none have expressed interest in helping Africa. WHO's regional office for the Americas recently announced it had struck a deal to obtain 100,000 monkeypox doses that will start being delivered to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean within weeks. But no similar agreements have been reached for Africa.
Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, head of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, said the lack of help for Africa was reminiscent of the inequity seen during COVID-19.
“Everybody looked after their (own) problem and left everybody else,” he said. Adetifa lamented that monkeypox outbreaks in Africa never got the international attention that might have prevented the virus from spreading globally.
“I would very much like to have vaccines to offer to my patients or anything that could just reduce their stay in the hospital,” said Dr. Dimie Ogoina, a professor of medicine at Nigeria’s Delta University and a member of WHO’s monkeypox emergency committee. Since WHO declared monkeypox a global emergency, Nigeria has seen the disease continue to spread, with few significant interventions. “We still do not have the funds to do all the studies that we need,” Ogoina said.
Even if rich countries start sharing monkeypox tools with Africa soon, they shouldn't be applauded, other experts said.
“It should not be the case that countries only decide to share leftover vaccines when the epidemic is declining in their countries,” said Piero Olliaro, a professor of infectious diseases of poverty at Oxford University. “It is exactly the same scenario as COVID and it is still completely unethical." Olliaro, who recently returned to the U.K. from a trip to Central African Republic to work on monkeypox, said WHO's emergency declaration appeared to offer “no tangible benefits in Africa.”
South Africa is the most unequal society on the planet.
46 percent of workers have no jobs, 30.3 million of the country’s 59 million population live in poverty and 13.8 million face food scarcity.
Inflation is at its highest rate since the rise in global food prices in 2008-09. Consumer prices rose by 7.8 percent in July, and basic foods have gone up by 10 percent in the last year, with a loaf of white bread now $1.05 compared with $0.91 a year ago and the price of fuel increasing by 56.2 percent from last year.
Last week, the South African rand fell a further 5 percent against the US dollar.
An analysis of France's past, present and future in Africa.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
256 million reportedly suffering from severe food insecurity on the African continent. the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) indicate that Africa is a net food-importing region of commodities such as cereals, meat, dairy products, fats, oils, and sugar, importing about $80 billion worth of agricultural and food products annually.
The agricultural revolution on the continent needs to start from the bottom up, from the inside out, starting with small-scale farmers.
Monday, September 12, 2022
In 2007, in a post-9/11 political and psychological landscape, President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense, launched U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which oversees all Department of Defense military operations on the continent in order to “monitor and disrupt violent extremist organizations and protect U.S. interests” because of the continent’s growing strategic importance. Initially based in Stuttgart, Germany, AFRICOM was formed without the input or support of any African leaders, many of whom decried its formation and described it as an attempt to establish more U.S. military bases on the continent. In response, U.S. officials said AFRICOM was meant to provide humanitarian assistance and support peace and stability because “a safe, stable, and prosperous Africa is an enduring American interest.” But critics pointed out that Iraq and Afghanistan, twin targets of the war on terror, serve as clear examples of the disastrous consequences of the U.S.’s militarized “humanitarian” efforts.
AFRICOM has not created the “safety and stability” invoked by U.S. leaders, but it has expanded the U.S. military’s footprint. During the Obama administration, AFRICOM quickly expanded its reach and influence on the continent through military-to-military trainings, joint counterterrorism operations, foreign aid, and other surreptitious methods that created dependence on AFRICOM for the defense needs of African states. Despite the fact that the U.S. is not at war with any African country, there are 46 U.S. military bases and outposts spanning the continent, with the greatest concentration in the Horn of Africa. Camp Lemonnier, the U.S. base in Djibouti, a small East African nation with a poverty rate of 79 percent, serves as the current home to AFRICOM in the Horn. In 2014 the U.S. government secured a 20-year lease for $63,000,000 a year.
AFRICOM's presence has not led to a decrease in terrorist activity but has only caused increased instability in the region and enabled such violence to flourish. One thing AFRICOM has dramatically succeeded at is boosting corporate profits associated with the lucrative counterterrorism industry that the war on terror has made possible.