Africa Media Review for April 1, 2024

Senegal Top Court Confirms Faye’s Election Victory
Senegal’s Constitutional Council on Friday confirmed the presidential election victory of opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye, paving the way for his inauguration as the country’s fifth president. The top court validated provisional results announced on Wednesday based on vote tallies from 100% of polling stations. Faye won more than 54% of votes in last Sunday’s delayed presidential poll, with ruling coalition candidate Amadou Ba taking over 35%. He is expected to be sworn in to replace outgoing President Macky Sall on April 2. Reuters

Change Afoot for Senegal as Bassirou Diomaye Faye Readies for Power
Outgoing president Macky Sall held his last government meeting in the capital Dakar [last] week with both Faye and fellow opposition figure Ousmane Sonko. Sall’s last-minute postponement of the vote and the ensuing rushed electoral timetable had cast doubt over whether the handover could take place before the end of his term on 2 April. A swift transfer of power in Senegal, described as a beacon of democracy in West Africa, would help build stability in the coup-hit region…The president-elect has said he will form his first government on 5 April – the day after Senegal celebrates its independence from France. RFI

As Conflict Worsens in Eastern Congo, 2 Armed Groups Pledge to Respect Civilians
[R]epresentatives of two armed groups [that are loosely aligned with the government against M23] in Congo signed solemn pledges [in Geneva last] week to both their violence-wracked country and the wider world: We will do better to respect and protect civilians…The ceremony Tuesday…is the culmination of years of work by the humanitarian group Geneva Call, which works to protect civilians in conflict zones…One of the two, CMC-FDP (the French language acronym for Collective of Movements for Change/Self-Defense Force of Congolese People), has worked with Geneva Call for five years and taken steps such as releasing 35 children who were formerly in the group and rehabilitating schools and health centers…The larger of the two groups is NDC-R/Guidon (Nduma Defense of Renewed Congo/Guidon), which has about 5,000 fighters. It has released over 20 hostages, undergone training in humanitarian law, and handed over 53 “perpetrators” of sexual or gender-based violence in its ranks to authorities as part of its work with the Geneva group. AP

Libyan PM’s Residence Targeted with RPGs, No Casualties Reported
The residence of Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah was targeted with rocket-propelled grenades on Sunday in an attack that left no casualties, a Libyan minister told Reuters…Dbeibah’s Government of National Unity was installed through a U.N.-backed process in 2021 but the parliament, in the east, stopped recognising its legitimacy at the end of that year after a failed attempt to hold national elections, which led to prolonged political deadlock…[In Early March], three key leaders said they agreed on the “necessity” of forming a new unified government that would supervise long-delayed elections. Reuters

Egypt Gets a Bailout after Reaching Deal with IMF
The International Monetary Fund announced on Friday, March 29, the immediate disbursement of $820 million to the Egyptian government, part of an augmented plan to aid the nation’s stumbling economy…The Board also approved a $5 billion extension announced at the beginning of the month, bringing the Fund’s total lending to Egypt to $8 billion…[T]he country is facing a drop in foreign currency earnings, whether from tourism – hit by the pandemic, then the war in Ukraine and now the war in the Gaza Strip – or problems along the Suez Canal. Attacks by Yemen’s Huthi rebels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden have reduced dollar revenues from the canal, a crucial passage for world trade, by 40-50% since the start of the year, the IMF said. Le Monde with AFP

China EV Battery Maker BTR to Build Cathode Plant in Morocco
The Moroccan government gave the green light on Friday for Chinese electric battery maker BTR New Material Group to build a factory near Tangier to produce key component cathode. The plant, to be built at a cost of 3 billion dirhams ($300 million), will have a production capacity of 50,000 tonnes, Morocco’s investment ministry said…Moroccan officials have often pitched the north African country as a good location for EV battery factories because of its existing auto industry and renewable energy sectors, and the presence of raw materials including cobalt and phosphates. Reuters

Somalia’s Puntland Refuses to Recognise Federal Government after Disputed Constitutional Changes
Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland said on Sunday it has withdrawn from the country’s federal system and will govern itself independently until constitutional amendments passed by the central government are approved in a nationwide referendum. The federal parliament in Mogadishu on Saturday approved several constitutional changes that the government says are necessary to establish a stable political system. Critics say the changes, which include introducing direct presidential elections and allowing the president to appoint a prime minister without parliamentary approval, concentrate power in the hands of the executive. Reuters

Togo’s Parliament to Review Controversial Constitutional Reform
Togo’s leader Faure Gnassingbe has sent a controversial constitutional reform that would allow lawmakers to elect the president back to parliament for “a second reading”, a government minister announced Friday, March 29. Parliament, dominated by Gnassingbe’s UNIR party, [last] Monday adopted the law that would switch Togo from a presidential to a parliamentary system, giving the assembly the power to elect the president for a single six-year term…Almost 100 university academics, intellectuals, artists, political figures and civil society actors signed an appeal on Friday calling on the population to “mobilise” and reject what they called an abuse of power. Le monde with AFP

Seven Parties Back President Kagame for Fourth Term
Two of the oldest political parties in Rwanda, Liberal Party (PL), and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), have endorsed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) candidate Paul Kagame in the July presidential race. The two join four smaller political parties, which are already in a coalition with the ruling RPF — Ideal Democratic Party (PDI), Democratic Union of the Rwandan People’s Party (UDPR), Prosperity and Solidarity Party (PSP) and Rwandan Socialist Party (PSR) — in endorsing Kagame. PL and PSD are historically allied to the ruling party, and their leaders have served in different government positions. The EastAfrican

How President Joseph Boakai Hopes to Rid Liberia of Its Problems
Now approaching his 80s, Mr Boakai acknowledges he’s the age of most of the electorate’s grandparents – but sees his role as rooting out deep-seated problems and handing over a well-managed Liberia to the next generation…[He] declared his own assets as soon as he came in and made his appointees do the same. Mr Boakai has also asked for an audit of the presidential office, and beefed up integrity institutions such as the General Auditing Commission and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission…Last year, when Mr Weah was still at the helm, Liberia was ranked 145th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Reuters

Ugandan President’s Son Vows Crackdown on Graft after Taking Over Military
The son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to fight corruption in the military after taking over as its top commander, a move widely expected to accelerate his rise to eventually succeed his father…Uganda’s opposition has accused Museveni of fast-tracking his son’s military career to prepare him to take political power…In 2022, Museveni removed Kainerugaba from his post as commander of Uganda’s land forces after he made threats to invade neighbouring Kenya in posts on social media platform X. Kainerugaba, who also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, later said the threats were a joke. Reuters

Extreme Drought in Southern Africa Leaves Millions Hungry
The drought in Zimbabwe, neighboring Zambia and Malawi has reached crisis levels. Zambia and Malawi have declared national disasters. Zimbabwe could be on the brink of doing the same. The drought has reached Botswana and Angola to the west, and Mozambique and Madagascar to the east…The United Nations Children’s Fund says there are “overlapping crises” of extreme weather in eastern and southern Africa, with both regions lurching between storms and floods and heat and drought in the past year. In southern Africa, an estimated 9 million people, half of them children, need help in Malawi. More than 6 million in Zambia, 3 million of them children, are impacted by the drought, UNICEF said. AP

Ivory Coast to Raise Cocoa Farmgate Price by 50%
Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara will increase the official cocoa farmgate price to 1,500 CFA francs ($2.47) per kg from Tuesday from the current 1,000 CFA, sources at five different export companies said…citing a decision at a government meeting on Saturday. Earlier in the day, Ouattara had validated a proposal for a price of between 1,100 and 1,200 CFA francs per kg before reversing his decision and asking that the price be even higher…Cocoa prices have more than tripled over the last year as disease and adverse weather pushed the global market to a third successive deficit, but the official farmgate price that growers can charge for their beans in Ivory Coast, a top producer, has yet to reflect this. Reuters

Uber Drivers Are Melting amid Nigeria’s Historic Heat Wave and Record Fuel Prices
As Nigeria reels under a historic heat wave, Uber drivers across the country have had to make a tough choice between prioritizing their well-being and saving on fuel expenses…Drivers told Rest of World the company has offered bonuses to compensate for the high fuel prices — on the condition that they take on at least seven rides a day…“No one cares about the health of the driver or their security, and the climate conditions are making things worse,” Ibrahim Ayoade, co-founder and secretary-general of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria, told Rest of World…Ayoade believes the government needs to develop regulations to ensure that companies like Uber comply with health and safety requirements for drivers. Rest of World