One Decade, 13 Coups: Turbulent Africa

Burkina Faso’s new coup leader Captain Ibrahim Traore gives a news conference on October 2, 2022 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Stringer / Anadolu Agency (Photo by STRINGER / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

The West African state of Burkina Faso, where the military has seized power for the second time in a year, is the latest in a string of sub-Saharan countries that have suffered coups in the past decade.

A timeline:

Mali, 2012

In March 2012, troops overthrow Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure in the run-up to elections, accusing him of failing to handle a Tuareg rebellion in the country’s north.

Shortly after Tuareg rebels and allied Islamist groups overrun northern Mali. The military hands power to an interim civilian government.

– Guinea-Bissau, 2012 –
Troops oust Guinea-Bissau’s interim president Raimundo Pereira and arrest a leading candidate, ex-prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, between two rounds of a presidential election in April 2012.

It is the fourth coup since independence from Portugal in 1974.

A civilian transitional government is put in place.

Central African Republic, 2013

Rebels from a Muslim-dominated coalition called the Seleka storm Central African Republic’s capital Bangui in March 2013 and oust Francois Bozize, a Christian who had seized power a decade earlier.

Seleka leader Michel Djotodia declares himself president.

The country descends into sectarian chaos pitting Seleka rebels against vigilante self-defence groups from the Christian and animist majority known as the anti-Balaka.

Burkina Faso, 2015

Less than a year after the fall of president Blaise Compaore in a popular revolt, Burkina Faso’s president Michel Kafando is overthrown in a coup led by his own presidential guard in September 2015.

Less than a week later Kafando is back in power after the coup leaders fail to win popular support.

Zimbabwe, 2017

Zimbabwe’s bellicose President Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 37 years, is pushed out by the military and members of his own ZANU-PF party in November 2017.

His former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeds him and Mugabe dies in Singapore two years later at the age of 95.

Sudan, 2019

Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir’s 30 years in power are terminated by the army in April 2019 after a four-month revolt against his authoritarian rule.

More than 250 people die in the protests. A transition council of military and civil society leaders is formed in August 2019 but the military soon takes the upper hand.

Mali, 2020

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is overthrown in August 2020 after several months of street protests over the military’s failure to stem the Islamic insurgency that began in the north in 2012 and then spread to other regions.

Chad, 2021

When Chad’s longtime leader Idriss Deby Itno dies in an operation against rebels in April 2021 his son General Mahamat Idriss Deby takes over at the head of a military junta.

He dissolves parliament and suspends the constitution, vowing to hold “free and democratic” elections after an 18-month rule.

Mali, 2021

In May 2021, the Malian military takes over yet again after the civilian leaders of an interim government remove soldiers from some key posts.

Army strongman Colonel Assimi Goita survives an assassination attempt on July 20 at a Bamako mosque.

Under international pressure, the colonel vows to hold free elections by February.

Guinea, 2021

In September, mutinous troops led by lieutenant-colonel Mamady Doumbouya take over in Guinea, arresting 83-year-old President Alpha Conde.

Conde had been Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010 but he sparked fury by changing the constitution so he could run for a third term.

Doumbouya has pledged to return power to elected civilians within three years.

Sudan, 2021

After weeks of tension between the military and civilian leaders who had shared power since the ousting of dictator Omar al-Bashir, the armed forces stage a new coup on October 25 and arrest Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

But protests later force them to reinstate him before he resigns on January 2, 2022.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan later vows to step aside but the pro-democracy protests continue.

Burkina Faso, 2022

In January 2022, mutinous soldiers led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba arrest President Roch Marc Christian Kabore over his handling of a wave of jihadist attacks.

The seventh coup since the country’s independence from France in 1960 is soon followed by another.

On September 30, army officers announce that they have dismissed Damiba, also accusing him of failing to curb the jihadist violence. He agrees to step down two days later.

Gates Foundation Announces $100m Fund To Alleviate Food Crisis In Africa, Asia

A file photo taken at a food market. A large percentage of poor Nigerians live in the rural areas where the predominant occupation is farming.
A file photo showing traders at a food market.

 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a $100m fund to help in tackling the food crisis in Africa and South Asia. 

According to a press statement by the Foundation, the organisation made the commitment at the United Nations General Assembly during the week.

It said the $100 million is “to help alleviate the food crisis disproportionately impacting communities in Africa and South Asia and address its underlying causes”.

READ ALSO: DR Congo Fuel Truck Blast Kills At Least 7

The funding, it added, will to go “the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to support national governments in rebuilding resilient, sustainable local food systems

“The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) to make fertilizers
affordable and accessible for smallholder farmers

“The CGIAR’s Nigeria-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture research center to accelerate work that is already supplying farmers with improved and new varieties of crops, such as beans high in iron; sweet potatoes naturally rich in vitamin A; and naturally hardy cassava, millet, and sorghum

Furthermore, the Gates Foundation said it will help in “working with partners to supply sustainable feed and fodder to African families that depend on livestock as a critical source of income and nutrient-dense food

“Working with partners to strengthen local food systems by empowering women
farmers with the tools and resources they need to succeed and support their
communities

“In addition, the foundation will double its previous commitment to the Child Nutrition Fund—from $10 million to $20 million. Our investment will support the fund’s expansion beyond ready-to-use therapeutic food to include preventative nutrition products for both women and children.”

Queen’s Death Ignites Debate Over Africa’s Colonial Past

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 4, 2003 Queen Elizabeth II tours 04 December 2003 the secretariat of Karu Local council, near Abuja. – The queen travelled to more than 100 countries since 1952 — another record for a British monarch — and made more than 150 visits to Commonwealth nations. (Photo by IAN JONES / POOL / AFP)

 

From Kenya and Nigeria to South Africa and Uganda, Queen Elizabeth’s death met with an outpouring of official condolences, mourning and memories of her frequent visits to Africa during her seven decades on the throne.

But the British monarch’s passing also revived a sensitive debate over Africa’s colonial past.

Her death came at a time when European countries are under pressure to reckon with their colonial histories, atoning for past crimes and returning stolen African artefacts held for years in museums from London and Paris.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta were among those expressing condolences for the loss of an “icon.”

But many Africans reflected more on the tragedies from colonial times, including events that occurred in the first decade of her rule.

Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963, after an eight-year-long rebellion that left at least 10,000 people dead.

Britain agreed in 2013 to compensate over 5,000 Kenyans who had suffered abuse during the Mau Mau revolt, in a deal worth nearly 20 million pounds ($23 million).

“The Queen leaves a mixed legacy of the brutal suppression of Kenyans in their own country and mutually beneficial relations,” The Daily Nation, Kenya’s biggest newspaper, wrote in a weekend editorial.

Elizabeth was visiting Kenya in 1952 when her father died and she became queen.

“What followed was a bloody chapter in Kenya’s history, with atrocities committed against a people whose only sin was to demand independence.”

“While the ties with Britain have been useful, it is difficult to forget those atrocities.”

Treasures, Biafra war

As part of recent restorations for the past, Nigeria and neighbouring Benin have seen the return from Britain and France of the first of thousands of artefacts plundered during colonial times.

Nigeria’s so-called Benin Bronzes — 16th to 18th century metal plaques and sculptures — were looted from the palace of the ancient Benin Kingdom and ended up in museums across the US and Europe.

Nigeria’s Buhari said the country’s history “will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth II”.

While some praised her role leading up to Nigeria’s independence, others pointed out she was head of state when Britain supported Nigerian army during the country’s civil war.

More than one million people died between 1967-1970, mostly from starvation and disease, during the conflict after ethnic Igbo officers declared independence in the southeast.

“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government sponsored genocide…you can keep wishing upon a star,” Nigerian-born US-based professor Uju Anya said, in a Twitter reference to the Biafra war that triggered fierce debate on social media.

Similar mixed reactions were expressed in South Africa, where President Cyril Ramaphosa called her an “extraordinary” figure.

But the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters or EFF movement was more dismissive, recalling decades of apartheid, in which Britain, the former coloniser, was often passive.

“We do not mourn the death of Elizabeth, because to us her death is a reminder of a very tragic period in this country and Africa’s history,” EFF said in a statement.

Ugandan legacy

In Uganda, some went back further, recalling the Bunyoro Kingdom’s ruler Omukama Kabalega, who resisted British rule in the late 1890s.

He was deposed and exiled to the Seychelles and the kingdom was then absorbed into the British empire.

“As much as the queen was able to maintain cohesion of the former British colonies, she had not addressed adequately the injustices meted out on some of the states including Uganda,” said former intelligence director and now political analyst, Charles Rwomushana.

Last month, the Uganda Tourism Association called for a committee to lead the return of Ugandan artefacts from British and other foreign museums, including some 300 from Bunyoro, according to the parliament.

Charles Onyango-Obbo, writer and Uganda government critic, said on Twitter many long-ruling African leaders used Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign to justify their own decades in power.

“Now that she has passed, they are scrambling to learn how to make their case convincingly in the past tense.”

Mukoma Wa Ngugi, the son of Kenya’s world renowned writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o and who is himself a novelist as well as an associate professor of English at Cornell University, also questioned the Queen’s legacy in Africa.

“If the queen had apologised for slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism and urged the crown to offer reparations for the millions of lives taken in her/their names, then perhaps I would do the human thing and feel bad,” he wrote on Tweeter.

“As a Kenyan, I feel nothing. This theater is absurd.”

African Players In Europe: Dream Home Debut For Awoniyi

Awoniyi joined Forest from Union Berlin. [email protected]

 

Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi began repaying the £17.5 million ($21 mn, 20.7 mn euros) he cost Nottingham Forest with the goal that beat West Ham 1-0 in the Premier League at the weekend.

Joe Aribo was another Nigerian international to score in the most watched domestic league in the world, with his goal sparking a comeback that earned Southampton a 2-2 draw against Leeds.

Here, AFP Sport highlights some African headline-makers at the weekend:

ENGLAND TAIWO AWONIYI (Nottingham Forest)

Forest have made a remarkable 15 new signings on their return to the top flight for the first time in 23 years in a bid to guarantee survival. The biggest outlay of that shopping spree was a reported club record spent on Awoniyi from Union Berlin. Awoniyi made himself an instant hero on his home debut with the only goal as Forest beat West Ham, even if the 24-year-old knew little about the finish. A block from West Ham defender Ben Johnson cannoned off Awoniyi’s knee and trickled into the empty net.

READ ALSOConte, Tuchel See Red As Kane Snatches Spurs Draw At Chelsea

KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Chelsea)

The Senegal captain got his Chelsea career off to a flying start by scoring on his home debut in a tetchy 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Koulibaly showed the technique of a striker rather than a centre-back to volley in Marc Cucurella’s corner for the opening goal.

JOE ARIBO (Southampton)

Aribo came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal and possibly save Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job in a draw with Leeds. Saints were trailing 2-0 when he was introduced just after the hour mark and it took just 10 minutes for the former Rangers man to give Southampton hope by showing neat footwork to round Illan Meslier and fire into the far corner.

GERMANY SADIO MANE (Bayern Munich)

Former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane again impressed for Bayern, despite not getting on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. Mane had one goal in each half ruled out for offside as he looks to build a partnership with German winger Serge Gnabry similar to the one he shared with Mohamed Salah at Anfield.

ITALY ADEMOLA LOOKMAN (Atalanta)

Atalanta escaped from Sampdoria with a 2-0 win thanks in part to Lookman’s beautifully taken debut goal. The Nigeria international finished off a rapid counter-attack in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a cool finish after dummying the home defence.

ASSAN CEESAY (Lecce)

Gambian Ceesay had Lecce fans dreaming of a positive start to their Serie A season when he expertly finished off Federico Di Francesco’s neat through ball to draw the promoted side level with Inter Milan. It wasn’t to be as Denzel Dumfries snatched a last-gasp winner for Inter.

AFP

Blinken Kicks Off Africa Tour To Counter Russian Influence

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg on August 7, 2022. (Photo by Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP)

 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in South Africa on Sunday to kick off a three-nation visit aimed at countering Russian influence on the continent.

The visit came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov undertook an extensive tour of Africa late last month.

South Africa, a leader in the developing world, has remained neutral in the Ukraine war, refusing to join Western calls to condemn Moscow, which had opposed apartheid before the end of white minority rule in 1994.

READ ALSO: Kenya Candidates Make Final Bid For Votes As Campaigning Closes

Blinken will hold talks on Monday with South African counterpart Naledi Pandor and also make an announcement on the US government’s new Africa strategy, Pretoria said in a statement.

They will “discuss ongoing and recent developments relating to the global geopolitical situation,” it said.

The State Department last month called African countries “geostrategic players and critical partners on the most pressing issues of our day, from promoting an open and stable international system to tackling the effects of climate change, food insecurity and global pandemics to shaping our technological and economic futures”.

Blinken who is on his second trip to Africa since his appointment early last year is due to proceed to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda later this week.

His visit to DR Congo is aimed at boosting support for sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country which battling to turn the page on decades of conflict.

He winds up the tour in Rwanda, which has seen a flare-up in tensions with DR Congo after it accused its neighbour to the east of backing M23 rebels, a charge Kigali denies.

AFP

Job Seekers In Africa Easy Prey For Online Scammers

This file photo taken on October 5, 2020, shows logos of US social networks Facebook, Instagram and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP
This file photo taken on October 5, 2020, shows logos of US social networks Facebook, Instagram and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

 

From careers in banking to roles in globe-spanning agencies, social media in Africa is awash with lucrative job offers.

But investigators with AFP Fact Check have found that many of these ads are bogus — they are scams designed to extract cash or steal personal data.

Fresh out of college in Kenya -– a country with more than 1.6 million young unemployed -– Job Mwangi believed he had been shortlisted for field assistant at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a position advertised on LinkedIn.

After passing two online tests, he was asked to pay 2,000 Kenyan shillings (about $17) in “facilitation fees” in order to secure an interview.

“Everything about the job posting seemed legit,” Mwangi told AFP Fact Check in an interview.

“I was asked to pay 1,000 Kenyan shillings ($8.5) for medical and radiology tests… but the tests didn’t happen since I was told that they would be done at the UN offices on interview day.”

A shuttle bus that was supposed to transfer Mwangi and more than 30 other job-seekers to the UN office never showed up.

“We waited for about one hour for the UN bus but it did not arrive, so we decided to take a bus on our own.

“On arrival at the gate, we mentioned that we had been invited for interviews with UNEP and the security officers manning the gate laughed at us, telling us that we’d been scammed.”

Mwangi filed a police report but says he has heard nothing since.

Promise of easy money

This particular hoax is far from uncommon in Africa — indeed, UN agencies regularly warn job seekers about fake ads.

“The United Nations Environment Programme does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, processing, training) or other fees, or request information on applicants’ bank accounts,” UNEP says on its website.

Keyword searches on Facebook reveal dozens of pages featuring bogus vacancies cleverly crafted to lure hopefuls.

Many of the pitches have the same telltale signs: they have short deadlines, promise high salaries and often include a hyperlink to an external online platform requesting personal information.

Scammers also use logos of reputable organisations and companies to lend credibility to spoof emails.

Code for Africa, a data journalism and civic technology initiative, found that in 2020 -– when job losses soared during the Covid-19 pandemic —- some 30 Facebook accounts, groups and pages with over 184,000 followers targeted unsuspecting job hunters in Kenya with sham ads.

Analysts say those behind these scams rely on the desperation of job seekers, who often fail to check whether the postings are genuine.

Many of these applicants send money without hesitation, hoping this will help them in the race to get the position.

“Most online job scams aim to con unsuspecting people into sending money and once this money is sent the scammer disappears,” Kenyan cybersecurity expert Anthony Muiyuro told AFP Fact Check.

LinkedIn said it was investing in ways to tackle the problem.

“Our teams use automated and manual defences to detect and address fake accounts or suspected scams. We also encourage members to report anything that doesn’t seem right so we can investigate,” the company told AFP Fact Check.

Africa-wide problem

Other countries targeted in Africa include Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, where more than 23 million are unemployed.

Victims include Ayobambo Taiwo, a 29-year-old from the southern state of Ondo who lost her job in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She spotted a vacancy with the Nigerian Customs Service, advertised on Facebook, and jumped at the chance.

She said she paid 25,000 naira ($60) to a purported customs agent to secure employment.

“The man demanded an additional 92,000 naira ($222) for training kits, which I told him I couldn’t afford. When he asked me how much I had, I sensed foul play and told him to refund my money but he stopped picking up my calls since then.”

Job cons are a frequent hazard in South Africa, whose unemployment rate is the highest on the continent — more than a third of its labour force are without work.

Bogus adverts there typically claim to offer relatively good, entry-level wages of up to 10,000 rand ($630) and do not ask for qualifications.

Facebook posts, often poorly written, are continuously recycled to promote thousands of supposed work opportunities, often with national retailers, the police or military.

Money & data

Lockdowns imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused many Africans to be thrown onto the job market, made for especially rich pickings.

AFP Fact Check debunked dozens of false job claims in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa at the peak of the crisis.

In the anonymous, shadowy world of job scamming, thieves stand a good chance of getting away with their crime.

But one notable success was a conviction in South Africa in 2020 — a man who was jailed for eight years for defrauding job seekers of 95,000 rand ($6,000).

Kenyan police last year arrested four suspects for allegedly swindling victims out of millions of shillings with fake offers from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) — a major human-resources agency in the education sector.

The suspects, thought to belong to a crime ring, had opened several fake Facebook accounts in the name of TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia, and duped people into forking over fees in exchange for jobs that didn’t exist.

Watchdogs say a common ploy is to get the job-seeker to fill out forms giving personal information — a clear opportunity for blackmail or identity theft.

Muiyuro advises simple but thorough precautions: check the official organisation or company website or LinkedIn page to verify the job opening, “or reach out to friends or acquaintances who work in the organisation.”

Buhari To Attend International Development Association For Africa Summit In Dakar

Buhariiii
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Wednesday, July 6, to participate in the International Development Association (IDA) for Africa Summit in Dakar, Senegal.

An institution of the World Bank Group, IDA is deepening its support to drive a resilient recovery for countries hit by the global crises of climate and COVID -19, growing levels of insecurity and more recently, by the impact of the war in Ukraine through its historic $93 billion 20th replenishment cycle (IDA20) which goes into effect between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2025.

At the High Level event slated for Thursday, July 7 and hosted by President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal, President Buhari is expected to join other African leaders in an open Dialogue on Development Challenges and priorities as well as transformational initiatives that will lead to an outcome document, the Dakar Declaration.

​This commitment is expected to chart the way forward for the transformation of the economies of these nations in partnership with the World Bank/IDA.


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Topics slated for discussion include: Financing for Recovery and Economic Transformation in Africa; Agriculture, Livestock and Food Security; Human Capital; Digital and Technological Innovation; and Energy Transition and Climate Change.

According to his spokesman, Garba Shehu, the president will be accompanied on the trip by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama; Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; as well as Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo.

Others on the entourage are : the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Director- General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar; Director-General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; and the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan.
President Buhari is expected back in the country at the end of the Summit on Thursday, July 7.

Africa A ‘Hostage’ Of Russia’s Ukraine War, Zelensky Tells AU

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during a press conference with Denmark's and Spain's Prime Ministers in Kyiv on April 21, 2022. Genya SAVILOV / AFP
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during a press conference with Denmark’s and Spain’s Prime Ministers in Kyiv on April 21, 2022.
Genya SAVILOV / AFP

 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that Africa was “a hostage” of Russia’s war on Ukraine which has spurred global food shortages and famine fears across the African continent.

But he said Kyiv was engaged in “complex negotiations” to unblock the grain trapped at its Black Sea ports by Russia’s naval blockade.

“Africa is actually a hostage… of those who unleashed war against our state,” Zelensky said in an address to the African Union.

Russia’s invasion and its blockade of Ukraine’s ports has paralysed grain exports from one of the world’s largest producers, sparked dramatic grain and fertiliser shortages and put hundreds of millions of people at risk of hunger.

“This war may seem very distant to you and your countries. But the food prices that are catastrophically rising have already brought (the war) to the homes of millions of African families,” he said.

“The unjust level of food prices, which has been provoked by the Russian war, is being painfully felt on all continents. Unfortunately, this can be a particular problem for your countries.”

Although the global grain crisis would last as long as Russia pressed its “colonial war”, he said Ukraine was trying everything to free up its ports while also trying “to build a new logistical supply chain” for the 25 million tonnes of grain blocked inside its borders.

READ ALSO: Africa Needs $25 bn A Year For Full Electricity Access – IEA

“We are conducting complex multilevel negotiations to unblock our Ukrainian ports. But there is no progress yet because no real tool has yet been found to ensure Russia does not attack them again,” he admitted.

So far, global organisations had not yet found a way to convince Russia to end its invasion.

“That is why the food crisis in the world will continue as long as this colonial war continues.”

He said Kyiv wanted to “intensify” dialogue with African Union member states and would soon appoint a special representative for Africa.

And he also proposed opening discussion on a “major political and economic conference” on ties between Ukraine and Africa.

Senegalese President and African Union chair Macky Sall thanked Zelensky on Twitter and said Africa “remains committed to respecting the rules of international law, the peaceful resolution of conflict and the freedom of trade”.

African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat also reiterated “the urgent need for dialogue to end the conflict to allow peace to return to the region and to restore global stability” in a posting on Twitter.

Africa Needs $25 bn A Year For Full Electricity Access – IEA

A file photo of a powerline.
A file photo of a powerline.

 

The number of Africans with access to electricity fell during the Covid pandemic, but $25 billion in annual investments could bring full coverage by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

The IEA said 600 million people, or 43 percent of the continent’s population, lack access to electricity — mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

The number of people living without electricity increased by four percent, or 25 million people, between 2019 and 2021, after a decade of progress.

Before Covid, there had been “lots of good developments in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda,” IEA chief Fatih Birol told AFP ahead of the release of the Paris-based agency’s African Energy Outlook 2022.

“But because of Covid and the economic difficulties, we see that this positive trend is reversing now,” Birol said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added to the economic strains on Africa from the Covid pandemic, as the conflict has sent the prices of energy, food and other commodities soaring, according to the IEA.

“When I look at 2022, with the high energy prices and the economic burden on the African countries, I don’t see many reasons to be hopeful,” Birol said.

But Africa could get universal access to electricity by the end of the decade with $25 billion in annual investment, according to the IEA.

Countries need to give international financial institutions, especially development banks, a “strong mandate” to make Africa and clean energy on the continent “an absolute priority”, Birol said.

“It’s not the case now,” he added.

Africa is facing more severe effects from climate change than most other parts of the world, despite emitting less energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) than any other region, the IEA said.

“We have to see a huge amount of investment coming in Africa in all parts of the energy system, but the most important one will be clean energy options,” Birol said.

“We would need to double the energy investments to reach our energy and climate goals.”

Renewables — including solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal — could account for over 80 percent of new power generation capacity in Africa by 2030, the IEA report said.

While Africa is home to 60 percent of the best solar resources worldwide, it only has one percent of installed solar energy capacity, according to the report.

Africa Needs To Collaborate Internationally – Osinbajo

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

 

Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has said that Africa’s developmental aspirations can be actualized by deepening cooperation and collaboration with the rest of the world.

He said the imperative of Africa’s economic sovereignty also exists as there are areas where public and private sector leaders must continue to strive for it.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday while speaking at the opening panel of the ongoing Africa CEO Forum holding in the Ivorian city of Abidjan. The panel was themed- “Economic Sovereignty: From Ambition to Action.”

The Vice President who had arrived in Ivory Coast last night was welcomed at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport by the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Patrick Achi.

Other speakers at the opening panel were, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; the Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation, Mr Makhtar Diop; the Governor of the Kenyan Central Bank, Dr Patrick Njoroge; the CEO of Telcar Cocoa, Kate Kanyi Tometi-Fotso and CEO of Instadeep, Karim Beguir.

Emphasizing the need for collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world, Prof. Osinbajo said “I think that we have to be a bit more careful with the concept of economic sovereignty because we really need to collaborate more and with the way that development is going, we need to watch some of these things.

“For instance, if we look at the way that technology is going which is key for us in Nigeria, particularly issues of taxation of tech companies and all of that, it is evident that this is difficult and it is a major expression of sovereign power – the power to tax.”

Continuing, the Vice President said “the way that the world and technology are structured today, there is no way that you can use the same basis – personal and territorial basis for taxation. These are multinational enterprises that spread across countries and continents.”

Prof. Osinbajo noted that “we have got to cooperate with the world and the international tax system to ensure that we are able to derive maximum benefit. We have got to take a seat at the table and ensure that all of the various initiatives on international taxation favour us in Africa.”

According to him, “while we are looking inwards, we have to be very careful to look outwards as well because a lot of money is obviously used by tech companies across the world and a lot of our countries are value creators for these companies.

“There is a great need for us to look inwards and at the same time keep our eyes on the ball because we need to recognize that the world has gone beyond brick and mortar. The world is now more about intellectual capital. We have to think of how we can work with the world to achieve maximum benefit for our intellectual capacity.”

In another chat with organisers of the forum, the CEO of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu spoke about the concept of economic sovereignty, urging Africa to look inwards as a way of fast-tracking development on the continent.

He cited leveraging opportunities provided by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and improving infrastructure as some of the key areas that leaders in the continent must focus on.

Earlier at the opening ceremony of the forum, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire commended the initiative of the organisers to bring together public and private sector leaders across the continent and beyond to discuss and develop new paths aimed at boosting the transformation of economies across Africa.

He noted that though the COVID-19 pandemic may have negatively impacted growth projections in the continent, the vision of the forum and similar efforts are geared towards “building new partnerships between the public and private sector, especially providing opportunities for young Africans with particular focus on green economy.”

On his part, the President and Founder of the Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed, commended leaders across the continent for their efforts despite the disruptions in the global economy occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

He noted that economic sovereignty, green economy and industrial transformation, among others are new paths to Africa’s prosperity, adding the projected impact of the AfCFTA on economies across the continent was premised on a viable and productive economy.

The Vice President is also billed to hold bilateral meetings with the Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr Makhtar Diop, and the United Nations SG’s Special Advocate on Inclusive Finance for Development, her Majesty, Queen Maxima of Netherlands.

 

Conference Of Speakers To Pursue Debt Forgiveness For Africa – Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP)on Tuesday agreed to pursue debt forgiveness for the continent from creditor-nations.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this in Abuja while briefing reporters on the sidelines of a two-day conference which held in the nation’s capital.

“We talked about debt cancellation and debt forgiveness. We felt parliament should be involved and speak as one voice and speak to our creditors and make a case as to why we needed debt forgiveness,” he said.

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“We also agreed that in doing so, we are going to push for a tripartite agreement between the creditors, the executive other governments and the legislators, reason being that even if your debt is forgiven and funds are freed up to be diverted in other areas like health, education, your creditors will need to assured that the institution that is responsible for appropriation is involved and that is the case we are making.

“CoSAP as an institution has made commitments, even signed commitments within ourselves and ready to commit to the creditors that we would follow the money.”

The session was chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Rt. Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Participants at the session, backing Gbajabiamila’s position, spoke on the need for parliaments to step up their oversight duties in tracking how the Executive spent the loans taken on behalf of countries, which ended as debt burdens or traps.

Some argued that in countries that secured debt reliefs, the parliaments must interrogate how the money returned to them was spent.

They pointed out that the creditor-nations, in considering the appeals for debt cancellation or relief, would look at several factors, including accounting for how the loans were utilised and the compliance of countries to agreements signed at the inception of the loan requests.

Hit By Ukraine Conflict, Africa Faces ‘Unprecedented’ Crisis -UN

A file photo of a woman at a market.

 

 

Africa faces an “unprecedented” crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, particularly with soaring food and fuel prices, United Nations officials said on Friday.

The conflict and Western sanctions on Moscow are disrupting supplies of wheat, fertilizer and other goods, compounding difficulties facing Africa from climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented crisis for the continent”, UNDP Africa chief economist Raymond Gilpin told a press conference in Geneva.

Gilpin, who spoke by video-conference from New York, said there were risks from a widespread surge in inflation, particularly in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone.

“We are seeing a reduction of GDP growth on the continent, supposed to rise slightly this year after Covid,” he said.

That puts millions of households at risk across the continent — which includes a majority of the poorest countries in the world.

Economic difficulties could also exacerbate social tensions in crisis-hit parts of the continent, such as the Sahel, parts of central Africa and Horn of Africa.

“Tensions, particularly in urban area, low-income communities, could spill over and lead to violent protests and violent riots,” he said.

Countries holding elections this year and next year were particularly vulnerable.

Many African countries depend heavily on food imports and fertilizer from Russia and Ukraine, two major exporters of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower oil. Rising oil prices from the war have also increased fuel and diesel costs.

In some African countries, up to 80 percent of wheat came from Russia and Ukraine.

“With the disruptions that now happen, you see an urgent situation materialise because where do these countries turn overnight for commodities?” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNDP Africa regional director Ahunna Eziakonwa.

She said the crisis could also impact debt for many African countries with high borrow rates such as Ghana.

“There needs to be an effort by multilateral, bilateral institutions to really think about” restructuring debt, she said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this week he was seeking talks to bring back Ukrainian and Russian agriculture and fertilizer products into world markets to help end a “three-dimensional” crisis in developing nations.

The International Monetary Fund said last month the war in Ukraine had already significantly impacted the Middle East and North Africa, warning high prices may lead to social unrest in Africa.