Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Africa's digital divide

Whatever one thinks about the content of the World Wide Web, it’s a valid opinion to think that not all the content available on the Internet is of a positive nature, nevertheless the Internet is an important resource of modern liafe. 

In comparison to the rest of the world,  Africa, as a whole, appears to be at at a disadvantage in being able to use the assets that the Internet provides.

‘Less than 40% of people living in Africa have internet access, a report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has shown.

While connectivity has been increasing globally, with about 5.4 billion people or 67% of the world’s population currently online, only 37% of the population in Africa use the internet, according to ITU’s Facts and Figures 2023 study. 

This represents a decline in internet users compared to 2022, when the figure was around 40%. The continent currently has the lowest internet penetration in the world.

Meanwhile, about 90% of the population in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and North and South Americas use the internet, the data showed.

“Steady but uneven progress in global internet connectivity highlights the disparities of the digital divide and is leaving people in low-income countries behind,” the authors of the report noted.

The researchers cited lengthy power outages and a lack of digital infrastructure coverage in Africa as the main reasons for the poor connectivity.

The ITU study also revealed that in low-income countries not only do fewer people have internet access but those who are connected use less data.’

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Foul play in Guinea

  It is reported that, ‘Guinea’s military rulers have dissolved the West African nation’s government, which had been in power since July 2022. The presidency’s spokesman, General Amara Camara, announced the decision on 19 February without providing any specific reasons.

The presidential decree, read by General Camara in a pre-recorded video published on social media, said a new government would be installed but did not specify when that would happen. 

“The government is dissolved... The management of current affairs will be ensured by the directors of cabinet, the secretaries general, and the deputy secretaries general until the establishment of a new government,” he said in the presence of around 20 uniformed soldiers.

Guinea has been under military rule since September 2021, when soldiers overthrew President Alpha Conde, who had ruled for more than a decade. Conde’s election in 2010 marked the country’s first democratic transfer of power since its independence from France in 1958.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has demanded that the coup leaders in Conakry, as well as those in power in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, hold elections within a reasonable timeframe and restore democratic order.

Colonel Mady Doumbouya, the interim president of the former French colony, agreed to return Conakry to civilian rule by the end of 2024 after facing sanctions over an initial three-year transfer of power. The military leadership has claimed that the transition period would allow it to implement major reforms in the poor but mineral-rich country.

In a separate statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, the presidency ordered members of the dissolved government to return state property, including vehicles and travel documents “without delay.”

“The High Commander of the Gendarmerie and the Director General of the Police are responsible for taking all measures to put buffers in all departments until the temporary workers are fully taken over,” announced Ibrahima Sory Bangoura, chief of staff and general of the Armed Forces of the Guinean Transitional Government.

ECOWAS, which has been embroiled in disputes with military rulers in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, has yet to issue an official statement on Guinea’s unexpected government dissolution. The three former French colonies have served notices to withdraw from the bloc, citing harsh sanctions imposed in response to coups in their respective countries. They accuse the 15-nation regional authority of being a tool for foreign powers. The bloc is also dealing with political unrest in Senegal, where a surprise postponement of presidential elections has sparked deadly protests in recent weeks.’

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Senegal :Anti - Democracy protests


The Socialist Party of Great Britain and its Companion Parties within the World Socialist Movement has always aimed for the transition from Capitalism to Socialism to occur through the democratic process and not through violent revolution.

It is considered that are seventy two countries in the world which qualify as democracies.

The Republic of Senegal is a West African country of eighteen million people.

It is numbered within the classification of heavily indebted poor countries.

The World Poverty Clock has seven per cent of Senegal living in extreme poverty. In Democratic Indexes Senegal ranks as the fourth most democratic country in Africa. ‘Senegal s one of the few African states that has never experienced a coup d'état or exceptionally harsh authoritarianism. There are seventy two political Parties there.’ Wiki

Senegal is currently undergoing violent protests because the President has postponed elections due to take place by ten months.

Senegal’s Parliament has supported the President. At present it is not known what the eventual outcome

On Saturday (FSb. 10) at least two people were confirmed dead after protests were held across Senegal, Friday (Feb. 09).

Demonstrators were not allowed to gather, and groups were dispersed by security forces.

The victims confirmed so far, two men in their twenties, were killed in Saint-Louis and in Dakar according to local media reports.

The victim in Saint-Louis was a student. He was killed on a school campus following demonstrations in the northern city, according to a statement from the public prosecutor.

Anger has mounted since President Sall last week postponed presidential elections scheduled this month.

The delay came hours before official campaigning was due to begin.

Parliament backed a delay until December and voted to keep Sall in power until his successor takes office, which is unlikely to be before early 2025.

Sall's second term was due to end April 2nd.

The president said he postponed the vote because of a dispute between parliament and the Constitutional Council over aspiring candidates who were not allowed to stand.

In an interview Friday (Feb. 09), he said he wants to rapidly organize a national dialogue that will pave the way for a peaceful electoral process.

Opposition lawmakers have filed an appeal at the Constitutional court while presidential candidates appealed to the Supreme Court.

A new round of protests is planned for Tuesday (Feb. 13).

Senegalese in the diaspora have also taken to the streets. In France where a large community of Senegalese lives, crowds gathered Saturday (Feb. 10) in major cities including Paris, Bordeaux (South west) and Nice (south).’

In his first interview since announcing the postponement of the presidential election, Senegal's Macky Sall argues his decision to intervene was necessary to prevent worse electoral chaos.

He spoke Friday (Feb. 09) as nationwide protests shook the country.

“I am for an inclusive, transparent and peaceful process that allows me to pass on the baton smoothly and in peace. That is the most important thing for our country today. You are right that West Africa is currently in a extremely difficult time, it's not at such a time when I am about to end my term that I will reinvent myself in a new career as a dictator or non-democrat," Sall told the Associated Press.

"That’s a picture they are painting, but it doesn’t correspond to my profile or my personality and that doesn’t correspond to reality. The reality is that if there hadn’t been this crescendo of successive crises, despite the breaches, we wouldn’t have gone in this direction''.

Last May, Sall held a national dialogue aimed at reducing political tensions after unprecedented riots.

However, rights groups continued to accuse authorities of repressing the media, civil society and the opposition.

Senegal's president now believes a new dialogue can solve the crisis the country grapples with.

“The dialogue for me can start anytime from next week, but I think there are prerequisites if we want to have success. First among these prerequisites is to establish trust between the actors, bring peace and enter a dialogue," Senegal's president said.

"So within one or two weeks maximum if the actors accept and I see a lot of interest from more and more actors who are okay with the idea of dialogue, that means we can get there quickly.”

Opposition lawmakers have filed an appeal at the Constitutional court.

The decree voted by Parliament to postne the election is also contested by candidates in the presidentialelection.

Out of 20, 14 appealed to the Supreme Court.

Senegalese faith in democracy has significantly declined under Sall, according to an independent survey by a research network.’