– NEWS –
Upheaval in Sudan and South Sudan: Profound upheavals and power shifts are currently happening in Sudan and South Sudan. Former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by a popular uprising in April 2019 after a 29-year rule. The ousted dictator had waged a merciless war against the people of the Sudanese region of Darfur since 2003. The conflict began when rebel groups took up weapons in Darfur, accusing the Arab-dominated Bashir government of marginalizing the western region and oppressing its people. Stabilizing Sudan is also intended to strengthen pan-African cohesion. But there are also opposing forces: Saudi Arabia is recruiting young Sudanese as soldiers in the war against Yemen. Chaos still reins in South Sudan. Although people welcomed the end of the al-Bashir regime, the country has failed to secure peace and basic services in the country.
Dam dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt: Tensions are rising in east Africa because of the impasse between Ethiopia and Egypt over the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. It’s around 71% complete and promises to provide much-needed electricity to Ethiopia’s 100 million people. Egypt fears the project could reduce its share of the Nile, the main source of freshwater for Egypt’s population. The deputy head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has announced that his country would mediate a deal in the dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt. The deadlock over the dam had become increasingly bitter in recent weeks, with Egypt saying it would use all available means to defend the interests of its people. Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew has said Ethiopia refuses to be pressured by the United States into signing a deal with Egypt and Sudan over the dam, insisting that the three countries needed to resolve their differences without outside pressure.
Concern grows over South Africa’s readiness for coronavirus: The coronavirus was late to appear in Africa, but the number of cases there is now expanding dramatically. That is a great cause for concern because many countries in Africa are ill-equipped to deal with the health challenges posed by the virus. The number of confirmed South African coronavirus cases rose to 240 on Saturday, with no deaths. South Africa is considering further economic-relief measures to soften the impact of the outbreak and assess efforts to slow the pace of the pandemic. The country has banned travel to certain countries and gatherings of more than 100 people. Experts worry the virus may ravage countries with weak health systems and a population disproportionately affected by HIV, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. On top of that, families in many informal settlements across South Africa often live in cramped single rooms and share communal outdoor toilets with dozens of neighbors.
npr.org, bloomberg.com, sciencemag.com, bbc.com
East Africa continues to fight locust plague: Countries such as Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea continue to struggle with a locust plague that is threatening food supplies. As airlines ground planes and borders are closed because of the coronavirus, “the fight against an already critical desert locust outbreak is getting harder,” said Cyril Ferrand, the Eastern Africa Resilience Team Leader for the Food and Agriculture Organization. The infestation in East Africa continues to present an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods, especially as the cropping season begins, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said. The outbreak is the worst Kenya has experienced in 70 years. It has also impacted Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
African diaspora shopping platform founded in Germany: In 2011, Lydie Idel Fonkwe came to Germany as a student and discovered that it was very costly to financially support her family back in Cameroon. International transactions usually come with high banking fees. As an alternative, she launched the “Familov” online platform, where people from the diaspora can buy products from supermarkets online, which can then be picked up by their relatives on site. She said 8,000 people are already using this option to support their relatives.
Lagos gas blast kills 15, destroys several buildings reuters.com
Outsider portfolios dasinvestment.com
Made in Senegal: A new coronavirus test could produce results after ten minutes nzz.ch
Jack Ma Foundation donates masks and test kits to Africa german.china.org.cn
– BACKGROUND –
South Africa’s drought threatens health: Drought, dilapidated pipes and wasted resources mean that poor South Africans in particular have no access to running water. Dirty brown water comes out of the taps in townships, drinking water has to be bought. This situation could become dangerous in the context of the corona pandemic. Although there have been relatively few cases in South Africa so far, citizens in the country are unable to regularly wash their hands with soap to curb the infection rate if they do not have access to running water. The supply network would have to be modernized to change this predicament, but adjustments in the behavior of the population are also necessary – despite the drought, South Africans use 60 liters more water per capita than the world average.
How Africa uses its Ebola experience to prepare for coronavirus: Compared to Europe and Asia, the African continent has not been affected as much by the coronavirus, but many countries are alarmed. They respond with measures that they derived from the experiences of the 2014 Ebola epidemic. The government of Ghana has provided $100 million for countermeasures, public events have been canceled in Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal, Gabon has closed schools after the first corona diagnosis. There are also closings of public places in North African countries, but the authorities are reacting more slowly – these countries are at greater risk because their population is older than in most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Africa: More poverty despite economic growth: Many African countries have been recording high economic growth rates for years. However, a recent study showed that poverty on the continent has increased again. “Overall, the proportion of people in Africa living in monetary poverty has clearly declined, from 54% in 1990 to 41% in 2015,” World Bank economist Luc Christiaensen said in an interview with “DW”. The main contributors to this development were the expansion of infrastructure in rural areas, increased agricultural productivity and years of robust economic growth in most African countries. So the trend is positive, but the whole truth is that rapid population growth has actually increased the absolute number of poor people in Africa, from 278 million to 413 million. In the near future, African governments are likely to face another problem: The coronavirus, which could not only pose challenges to the health systems of African countries but is already slowing down the global economy.
Medical fake news are spreading rapidly in Africa: Inaccurate claims and potentially dangerous medical advice is spreading in Africa even faster that the coronavirus itself. One example: “If the virus is exposed to a temperature of 26-27⁰ C. it will be killed, as it does not live in hot regions.” That, however, has not been medically proven. The rest of the message was likewise unhelpful in warding off the coronavirus: “Also drinking hot water and sun exposure will do the trick and staying away from ice cream and cold food is advised.” The World Health Organization WHO refers to the global misinformation problem as an “infodemic” and has pointed out that combatting its spread requires enormous resources, much like measures taken to control the outbreak of the virus itself. It means that aid organizations cannot just concentrate on providing resources to regions in need, they also have to fight to demonstrate their own credibility.
– NUMBER –
The African Youth Study paints an optimistic picture of young Africans. 75 percent of young Africans believe that their work can change their community for the better.
– QUOTE –
“The best advice for Africa is to prepare for the worst and to start today.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, warns African countries of the coronavirus.
– AT LAST –
Rhinoceros population: fight against poaching with partial success: Numbers of African black rhinos in the wild have risen by several hundred, a rare boost in the conservation of a species driven to near extinction by poaching. Black rhinos are still in grave danger but the small increase – an annual rate of 2.5% over six years, has swollen the population from 4,845 in 2012 to an estimated 5,630 in 2018, giving hope that efforts put into saving the species are paying off.