– NEWS –
How the coronavirus hit Africa: So far, no infections with the coronavirus have been confirmed on the African continent. That would mean that Africa is the only continent that has been spared by the virus. However, there have been a few suspected cases that show how nervous the authorities currently are. At Addis Ababa Bole international airport, four suspected cases of coronavirus were put into isolation. Of these, two did not show any sign but came from areas in China affected by the virus. The other two showed flu-like symptoms. The Ivory Coast Ministry of Health reported that a student returning from China might be infected with the virus. A suspicious case was also reported in Kenya. Some countries on the continent may benefit from their recent experience with another deadly virus. During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that claimed more than 10,000 lives, several countries — including Ivory Coast — developed early warning systems.
ethiopianmonitor.com, taz.de, dw.com
Germany calls for UN sanctions in Libya crisis: The question of how to maintain a ceasefire in Libya took up much of Monday morning when German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met EU High Representative Josep Borrell in Berlin. Maas called for countries that break the UN embargo on arms exports to Libya to face consequences, including UN sanctions. He told reporters he was under no illusion that much work was still needed to put into practice decisions taken at the recent Libya conference in Berlin. No one thought there would be a quick solution, Maas said. The minister is hoping that the 5+5 committee, with representatives from the Libyan conflict parties, will meet this week to discuss the possibility of a UN-brokered truce.
Oxfam: EU aid increasingly taken hostage by migration politics: EU development aid is increasingly being spent to close borders, stifle migration and push for returns of migrants to Africa, according to new research published by Oxfam. This approach is diverting aid from its true purpose of helping those in need, sometimes even worsening the situation of the people it should support. The report “EU Trust Fund for Africa: Trapped between aid policy and migration politics” shows how development funds under the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) are increasingly tied to the domestic policy priorities of EU member states to curb migration, with over a billion euros allocated for this purpose. In contrast, just €56m is allocated to fund regular migration schemes, representing less than 1.5% of the total worth of the EUTF for Africa.
Africa climate change action: Teen activist Greta Thunberg has hosted a press conference to stress the importance of how climate change is affecting people in Africa. Thunberg said she wanted to use the media attention she attracted to focus on climate change in Africa as the African perspective was so under-reported. One of those taking part was Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan at the center of a race row at Davos last week. She was angered after she was cropped out of a photograph taken with her white peers, including Thunberg. She said activists in Africa campaigned as much as their counterparts elsewhere but were often ignored by the media.
Unicef calls for more help for children in the Sahel: Close to five million children in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger will need humanitarian assistance over the course of 2020, the UN children’s agency Unicef has warned. This projection is linked to a surge in violence that has included attacks against children and civilians, abductions and recruitment of children into armed groups. Insecurity and displacement are creating significant barriers for children and families trying to access essential services, food and nutritional supplies – risk factors that can lead to the deterioration of children’s health and nutritional status. Unicef has appealed for 208 million dollars to support its humanitarian response in the central Sahel for 2020.
Germany wants to import hydrogen from Africa on a large scale industriemagazin.at
Mbodj: “There are more smartphones in Africa than in the United States and Europe combined” wienerzeitung.at
Europe’s colonial heritage in Africa deutschlandfunk.de
Infantino proposes changes to the Africa Cup weltfussball.de
– BACKGROUND –
Ethiopia is headed to space: Ethiopia, with the help of China, has launched its first satellite into space. The satellite will be used for agricultural, climate, mining and environmental observation. The Chinese government paid about $6 million of the more than $7 million cost of constructing and launching the satellite. This means that Ethiopia is the eleventh country from sub-Saharan Africa to have its own satellite in space. The country also wants to launch an astronaut into space by the year 2030.
Europe’s indecisiveness in Libya: The Libya conference in Berlin mainly benefited those who have been militarily involved in the conflict. Europe failed to develop a common policy, thereby enabling the United Arab Emirates, but above all Russia and Turkey, to support one side in Libya. The EU’s indecisiveness led to the internationally recognized government of Libya asking for Turkish military support, increasingly excluding Europe from the peace process. Libyan Prime Minister Sarradsch refused to meet with the Italian prime minister. The EU has shown itself unwilling to stop General Haftar, also because Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are among Haftar’s important supporters, and the EU doesn’t want to upset the two countries. Ultimately, the Berlin conference could have exacerbated the escalation of the Libya conflict, given that Europe is putting too little pressure on Haftar, Turkey and Russia.
Islamists wreaking havoc in Niger: According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), the number of deaths from terrorist attacks in Niger has quadrupled. Nearly 400 people died last year. The region has experienced a devastating surge in terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, UN Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, told the UN Security Council. He elaborated on terrorist-attack casualties in Burkina Faso Mali and Niger, which have leapt five-fold since 2016 – with more than 4,000 deaths reported in 2019 alone as compared to some 770 three years earlier.
– NUMBER –
Twenty people in Tanzania were trampled to death at an open-air evangelical Christian church service in the north of the country.
– QUOTE –
“I cried because it was so sad not just that it was racist, I was sad because of the people from Africa. It showed how we are valued. It hurt me a lot. It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.”
Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate said she was heartbroken to see websites use a photo featuring four white activists but not her.
– AT LAST –
Study identifies Neanderthal ancestry in African populations: After sequencing the Neanderthal genome, scientists discovered all present day non-African individuals carry some Neanderthal ancestry in their DNA. Now, researchers at Princeton University present evidence of Neanderthal ancestry in African populations too. A catalogue of Neanderthal ancestry in African populations has remained an acknowledged blind spot for the field due to technical constraints and the assumption that Neanderthals and ancestral African populations were geographically isolated from each other. Researchers now found that there are indeed stretches of DNA buried in African genomes that came from Neanderthals living on the Asian continent. More precisely, about 0.3 percent of the average African’s genome was once shared by a Neanderthal.