– NEWS –
First coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa: The first case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa has been confirmed in Nigeria. The patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and flew into the commercial city of Lagos from Milan on February 25th. Authorities say he is stable with no serious symptoms and is being treated at a hospital in the city. Meanwhile, South Africa’s health ministry has announced that two nationals aboard a cruise ship docked in Japan have tested positive for the virus. The World Health Organization has warned that porous borders, a continuing flow of travelers and poorly resourced healthcare systems meant the risk of an outbreak across Africa was very high and raised significant concerns about the ability of fragile health systems to cope.
EU and African Union step up cooperation: Europe is seeking to open a new chapter in the EU–Africa partnership, by fostering relations with its “sister continent”, as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Africa during a visit to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. Europe wants a change of narrative and move from development aid to a true partnership. The starting point will be trade and investment. The fight against climate change is also going to be a key priority. Von der Leyen further pledged to support the African Union with conflict resolution, in Libya for example. She said the end of the war there was of great importance to the development of the African continent.
neweurope.eu, euronews.com, ec.europa.eu
Netflix’s first African original series: Netflix’s first African original series “Queen Sono” has been released. The thriller stars South African Pearl Thusi as the eponymous secret agent. Written and directed by Kagiso Lediga, an award-winning stand-up comedian in South Africa, “Queen Sono” is filmed in several locations across the continent. In developing the narrative, Lediga sought to blend the history of South Africa with its present-day politics, all set against the backdrop of a femicide crisis and increasing violence against women.
African Union preparing 3,000-troop deployment to Sahel: The African Union said Thursday that it expected to send a temporary deployment of 3,000 troops to West Africa’s Sahel region, where regional forces are struggling to respond to a nearly eight-year-old insurgency by armed Islamists. A localized revolt that began in northern Mali in 2012 has spread to the center of the country and to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. Around 4,000 people died in the three countries last year, a fivefold increase over 2016, according to UN figures.
South African startup wants to export canned wine to the United States: Canned wines are already on sale in the United States, parts of Europe and elsewhere, but they are a novelty in South Africa, which is one of the world’s top 10 wine producers. The startup “Uncanny Wines”, based outside South Africa’s tourist hub Cape Town, says it is targeting domestic drinkers first but has its eye on the export market. The company’s cans of premium red and white wines are the first to be certified by South Africa’s Wine and Spirit Board.
South Africa’s national debt is at an unsustainable level handelsblatt.com
“The food security of millions of people is at risk” deutschlandfunk.de
Third term for Guinea’s president? dw.com
Siemens builds a wind turbine in the African Republic of Djibouti it-times.de
– BACKGROUND –
African countries aren’t getting as much as they should from foreign direct investment: Since the late 1980s African governments have fully embraced foreign direct investment as a major driver of growth, Ghanaian economist Abraham Mensah Acquah writes in an article. Despite these efforts, data shows that Africa has not been a major recipient of these flows. In fact, it attracts a lot less than other developing countries. Furthermore, the impact on economic growth of the foreign direct investment the continent attracts is lower than other comparable parts of the world.
African countries are paying too much for debt: There is renewed concern about the sustainability of rising debt levels in many African countries. Much of this debt is being incurred through foreign currency denominated Eurobonds issued on international financial markets. The total value of Eurobonds issued between 2018 and 2019 was more than the value of all bonds sold between 2003 to 2016. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes that African countries are on a Eurobond issuing spree and half of them are near or at distressed levels. It argues that African governments are piling on debt without evaluating the exchange rate risks and the real costs of repaying the debts.
Auxiliary Bishop Lohmann calls for support for Niger: Earlier this year, Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Lohmann was the first German bishop to visit the West African country of Niger for almost 40 years. Now he is calling for donations to help the country. The account of his visit is marked by Boko Haram’s traces – the Islamist terrorists have left destruction, violence and chaos in their wake. Lohmann believes it is important to focus on local refugee work – internally displaced people are often in dangerous situations. The bishop’s goal is to build partnerships so that families in Niger can accommodate displaced people – but funding must be secured to do so.
Togo: Nothing new in the west: Hans-Joachim Preuss, employee of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, is concerned about the Benin presidential election. Faure Gnassingbé was confirmed as president with 72.4 percent of the vote. This means that he can take up his fourth term. However, it is questionable how robust democracy in the country actually is. While good economic developments could have given the president a legitimate boost, restrictions on civil rights are emerging. Freedom of assembly is regulated and less than 350 of the 1.5 million Diaspora Togolese were allowed to vote in the presidential election. Social peace is still fragile. The president must also stabilize economic growth. But there is no trend that democratic structures could improve under Gnassingbé.
– NUMBER –
In East Africa, food that could feed up to 35,000 people is lost every day as a result of the locust plague.
– QUOTE –
“I want Europe to realize that a good future for Africa is crucial for our development and for the development of our entire planet.”
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on his trip to Kenya.
– AT LAST –
From Eritrea to the Olympic Games: Samuel Fitwi Sibhatu fled Eritrea for Europe five years ago. He is now naturalized in Germany, is completing an apprenticeship as a painter, and has a special talent: within a short period of time, the 23-year-old has achieved top form in long-distance running and now has a dream – he wants to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He has until May to prove that he can do it.