KW 04: Libya conference, Macron wants to increase pressure in fight against Islamists, UN warns of hunger crisis in southern Africa

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Libya conference: An international conference to solve the Libya crisis started on Sunday in Berlin. The aim of this meeting of representatives from more than ten countries is to consolidate the recently agreed ceasefire and to agree on a consistent implementation of the arms embargo for the civil war-torn country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met with Libyan General Khalifa Haftar and the head of Libya’s UN-recognized government, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, ahead of time. The talks with the two Libyan representatives were conducted separately, according to Germany’s dpa news agency. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were invited to the conference as well. Putin and Erdogan met for bilateral talks ahead of the summit, with both emphasizing the importance of a ceasefire in Libya. Erdogan asked Haftar to cease all combat. During talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reaffirmed the call for a ceasefire surveillance mission, saying Italy was ready to play a role in the mission.

Macron wants to increase pressure in fight against Islamists: French President Emmanuel Macron met with the leaders of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania in the southern French city of Pau last week. France and its five Sahel partners in Western Africa agreed to step up their military cooperation to combat the jihadist insurgency threatening the region. France, which has roughly 4,500 troops in the region, plans to deploy another 220 soldiers to West Africa. Military efforts will be immediately concentrated along the porous border separating Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Extremist fighters move about the area with little challenge. African leaders have called for more international support.,,,

UN warns of hunger crisis in southern Africa: The countries of southern Africa are facing a severe hunger crisis. “This hunger crisis is on a scale we’ve not seen before and the evidence shows it’s going to get worse,” said Lola Castro, Regional Director for Southern Africa for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). “The annual cyclone season has begun, and we simply cannot afford a repeat of the devastation caused by last year’s unprecedented storms”. A record 45 million people in 16 countries across southern Africa faced growing hunger following repeated drought, widespread flooding and economic disarray. Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of southern Africa, is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, marked by soaring inflation and shortages of food, fuel, medicines and electricity.,,

Müller against expansion of Mali mission: German Defense Minister Annegret-Kramp-Karrenbauer has spoken out in favor of the country’s military mission in Mali. Development Minister Gerd Müller is sceptical: The origin of the crisis in Mali and in the entire Chad region lies in the conflict between farmers and the Tuareg ethnic group over increasingly scarce water resources and pasture for cattle. “The radicalization is the result of the scarcity of resources,” says Müller. When there is nothing left, people join terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and the jihadist militia “Islamic State” (IS). “Only if people have a positive perspective on life can we effectively counter radicalization, terror, flight and smuggling.”

Africa Cup 2021 postponed to this winter: The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will start on 9 January after its dates were moved, host Cameroon has announced. The tournament was scheduled to take place in June and July but was changed because of the unfavorable weather in the country at that time of year. June and July are Cameroon’s rainy season. The change back to a January start means that the tournament will not clash with the expanded Club World Cup, being held in China in June 2021.

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African pioneers in open source: The bleeding edge of technology innovation is increasingly shifting from Silicon Valley to places that are also at the frontier of economic development, including sub-Saharan Africa, says Omoju Miller, who works on machine learning at software development platform Github. “It’s a huge opportunity”, says Miller on the sidelines of the “FAZ” digital conference DLD – and she even has an exciting example on hand: A program that was developed in Africa to document physical assault on voters was later used in Japan to capture areas with increased radioactive radiation after the tsunami disaster. That was remarkable in itself, but it was also exciting to see how quickly the community of good-willed developers translated the instructions from English into Japanese: “It took no more than 24 hours at the time,” says Miller.,

Misguided development aid: In recent decades, Africa has received around two trillion dollars in development aid. But African economists warn that the aid has brought about little change. They even blame development aid for increasing Africa’s poverty. International aid relieves the government of its work and thus prevents them from creating effective provisions. Not just food supplies, aid organizations also run hospitals and schools and even take over the water and electricity supply. Instead of supposedly helping, donor countries should start trading on an equal footing with African countries. China is exemplary for many. “The Chinese are doing a great service. Their attitude towards Africa is not shaped by the compassion or sense of guilt that underlies the aid model. The Chinese want to do business in Africa. And that helps Africans because they find jobs”, explains economist Dambisa Moyo. However, business with the Chinese also has its downsides, such as high levels of debt.

Intelligent water pumps: High-tech solar pumps mapping underground freshwater reservoirs across Africa are collecting data that can help prevent them running dry. Manufactured by British social enterprise Futurepump, the solar pumps are being used by thousands of small-scale farmers in 15 African nations, including Kenya and Uganda, as a cleaner, cheaper option to diesel and gasoline-powered ones. The pumps’ sensors record real-time data such as energy usage and pump speed in each location, which is shared with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to calculate groundwater extraction rates and levels. Many of the world’s major aquifers are stressed because too much water is being taken out for household, agricultural and industrial use and not enough surface water is seeping in to replenish the underground rock formations.


Millions of grasshoppers are currently plaguing East Africa. The plague is threatening food supplies in many countries that are already experiencing major difficulties, according to the authorities.


“I must confess that when I first heard about the ECO, I welcomed it because I said to myself that it would give us our financial independence. But in reality we are just changing the name. We’re still tied to the euro, so we’re dependent on it. So nothing really changes for me.”

Ismael Derry, accountant in Senegal’s capital Dakar, does not believe that the new currency being introduced later this year will bring about any real change.


RB-Leipzig fan club in Mozambique: In 2017, former Leipzig resident Roland Hohberg founded the first fan club of the Bundesliga club RB Leipzig. In an interview with “Sportbuzzer” he talks about the enthusiasm of his members for the Bundesliga and the current league leaders. But due to economic difficulties in the country, as well as climate challenges such as heavy rains, an interest in sports has fallen to the wayside. In addition to his fan club, Hohberg also wants to expand interest in girls soccer. “With this project we generally want to contribute to sports promotion and education. Above all, we focus on promoting young girls, strengthening their self-confidence, and organizing workshops on topics such as forced marriage, early pregnancy and AIDS. Sport is an important component of development cooperation, especially in countries like Mozambique”.

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