Africa Media Review for April 16, 2024

Macron Says Donors Pledge $2.1 Billion in Aid for Sudan
French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that world donors have pledged $2.1 billion to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in war-ravaged Sudan. Macron spoke in Paris at the end of an international conference designed to drum up financial support for a severely underfunded aid effort…France, Germany and the European Commission hosted the conference.French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said the organizers want to move the conflict to the top of the international agenda and mobilize humanitarian funding. Initial pledges at the conference Monday include $244 million from Germany and more than $377 million from the European Union. VOA

‘Concerted Global Push’ for Sudan Ceasefire Is Essential: Guterres
“The world is forgetting about the people of Sudan” the UN chief warned on Monday, calling for a boost in humanitarian funding and a global push for peace to end a year of brutal fighting between rival militaries. With attention over the weekend focused on the Middle East he said the conflict between the national army and Rapid Support Forces militia had turned into “a war being waged on the Sudanese people”…“The only path out of this horror is a political solution. At this critical moment, in addition to global support for aid, we need a concerted global push for a ceasefire in Sudan followed by a comprehensive peace process.” UN News

Canada Sanctions Sudanese Linked to War
Canada has announced sanctions against those it blames for perpetuating Sudan’s devastating war, as the conflict enters its second year. Other Western governments took similar steps many months ago, with the United States and Britain announcing Sudan-related sanctions as early as mid-2023. It is unclear why Canada waited so long to announce its own sanctions. The Canadian sanctions are being imposed on individuals and companies that have links to the two warring parties: the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Those sanctioned include RSF deputy commander Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo as well as former foreign minister Ali Karti, who leads an Islamist group. Ottawa has also sanctioned four companies it accuses of emboldening both the paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). Radio Tamazuj

Kenya Doctor Strike: The Public Caught between the Medics and the Government
[Kenyan doctors] are striking over a number of issues, including pay and the failure to hire trainee doctors, who cannot qualify without getting an intern position. The medics are aware of the problems the strike is causing but argue that industrial action is necessary “to help the public get quality health care” in the long run, as their working conditions and the lack of equipment mean they cannot treat patients properly, says Davji Bhimji, the secretary-general of the doctors’ union, KMPDU…The government says it is paying salary arrears to doctors and has offered to hire intern doctors. The offer followed negotiations, including court-mandated talks that involved representatives of different government departments. But the doctors rejected it, saying the pay being offered to interns amounted to a big reduction of the amount that had been agreed in a 2017 deal. BBC

Nigeria Inflation Climbs to 28-Year High in March
Nigeria’s inflation kept climbing in March, reaching a 28-year high of 33.20% in annual terms, driven by soaring food and energy costs despite central bank rate hikes aimed at halting its ascent. The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics marks the 15th month in a row that consumer inflation had risen. It was 31.70% in February. Inflation has not been this high in Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation since early 1996, leaving millions of people struggling to meet basic needs…Price pressures have been spurred by reforms implemented by President Bola Tinubu in his first year in charge, chiefly ending a costly petrol subsidy and twice devaluing the naira currency. The government also recently increased electricity tariffs for consumers who use the most power as it seeks to wean the economy off subsidies that have weighed on public finances. Reuters

Nigeria Becomes First Country to Roll Out New Meningitis Vaccine, WHO Says
Nigeria has become the first country in the world to roll out the “revolutionary” new Men5CV vaccine against meningitis, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Nigeria is one of the hotspots of the deadly disease in Africa. Last year, a 50% rise in annual cases was reported across 26 African countries regarded as meningitis hyperendemic countries, according to the WHO. Between last October and mid-March this year, 1,742 cases were suspected in the country, with 153 deaths recorded in seven states in Nigeria, data from the WHO shows. The new vaccine is reported to protect against the five major strains of the disease that are prevalent in Nigeria, unlike the initial vaccine that works against only one strain, said the WHO. Reuters

Somalia Refuses to Accept Ethiopian Naval Base in Breakaway Region
Somalia will never accept Ethiopia’s plan to build a naval base in its breakaway region of Somaliland, but would consider granting Ethiopia commercial port access if discussed bilaterally, a senior Somali official said on Friday. Landlocked Ethiopia sparked a diplomatic row with Mogadishu in January by signing a deal with Somaliland to lease 20 km (12 miles) of its coastline in return for recognising the region as an independent state. Somalia called the deal illegal as it considers Somaliland as part of its territory even though it has had effective autonomy since 1991. To defuse the acrimony, Kenya in consultation with Djibouti and eastern African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has proposed a maritime treaty to govern how landlocked states in the region can access ports on commercial terms, a senior Kenyan official said on Thursday. Reuters

Nearly 55 Million People Face Hunger in West and Central Africa
Soaring prices have helped fuel a food crisis in West and Central Africa, where nearly 55 million people will struggle to feed themselves in the coming months, U.N. humanitarian agencies warned on Friday. The number facing hunger during the June-August lean season has quadrupled over the last five years, they said, noting that economic challenges such as double-digit inflation and stagnating local production had become major drivers of the crisis, beyond recurrent conflicts in the region. Among the worst-affected countries are Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Mali, where around 2,600 people in northern areas are likely to experience catastrophic hunger, said the World Food Programme, U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, and the Food and Agriculture Organization in a joint statement. Reuters

‘Swazi Secrets’: The Hidden Underbelly of Institutionalised Fraud in Southern Africa
An investigation coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ…uncovers numerous suspicions of financial crime in Southern Africa. The “Swazi Secrets”, a data leak on an unprecedented scale in Africa, implicate some of the biggest names in politics and business…It reveals suspicions of embezzlement hanging over numerous African figures, including high dignitaries from the continent’s last absolute monarchy, as well as former Zambian head of state Edgar Lungu…Throughout southern Africa, authorities appear to be powerless to combat financial crime and the flow of dirty money. The numerous problems include minimal budgets, lack of qualified staff, unfamiliarity with the issues, difficulty in implementing essential reforms and subservience to political powers. And casts doubt on the ability of the affected countries to stop criminals operating at the heart of their economies. The Africa Report

For Congolese Displaced by the M23 War, Host Families Offer a ‘Heart of Solidarity’
Some 1.5 million people are currently uprooted following two years of ruinous conflict between the Rwanda-backed M23 armed group and the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is supported by foreign states and local militias. Aid groups and media reports have largely focused on the plight of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people living in official camps…Yet holding together the humanitarian response in villages and towns across North Kivu – where Kanyabayonga is located – is an army of host families who have flung open their doors and are sharing out their scarce resources…It is not just host families that are taking in people in Kanyabayonga. Local churches and schools have also made space available for thousands more displaced people, and other forms of social solidarity have flourished over the past year, residents said. The New Humanitarian

Niger and China Sign Crude Oil MOU Worth $400 Mln, Says Niger State TV
Niger has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese state-owned oil giant China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) worth $400 million linked to the sale of crude oil from its Agadem oilfield, Niger state television RTN reported late on Friday…An export pipeline project backed by CNPC subsidiary PetroChina was officially launched last November, linking the Agadem oilfield to the port of Cotonou in neighbouring Benin. Previously, the West African country had a small oil refinery with capacity of around 20,000 bpd that mostly supplies Niger’s domestic fuel market. Reuters

Zambia Uncovers ‘Sophisticated’ Chinese Cybercrime Syndicate
A “sophisticated internet fraud syndicate” has been uncovered in Zambia, leading to the arrest of 77 people, including 22 Chinese nationals. It was a “significant breakthrough in the fight against cybercrime”, the authorities said after a multi-agency raid on a Chinese-run company. The firm employed Zambians who believed they were to be call-centre agents. Among equipment seized were devices allowing callers to disguise their location and thousands of Sim cards…The swoop on its premises, located in Roma, an upmarket suburb of the capital, Lusaka, was led by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and also involved the police, the immigration department and anti-terrorism unit. It came after months of intelligence gathering by the agencies following an alarming rise in internet fraud cases in Zambia, DEC director general Nason Banda said after Tuesday’s raid…Mr Banda said the Zambian nationals had been charged and released on bail so they could help the authorities with their investigations. The foreign nationals – 22 Chinese men and a Cameroonian – remain in custody. BBC

Morocco Drought: Satellite Images Show Vital Al Massira Reservoir Is Shrinking
Morocco’s second-largest reservoir that serves some of its major cities and has been central to farm irrigation is drying up, according to satellite images analysed by the BBC. Al Massira Dam, which sits around halfway between Casablanca and Marrakesh, contains just 3% of the average amount of water that was there nine years ago, figures show. Six consecutive years of drought and climate change, which causes record temperatures that lead to more evaporation, have threatened water supplies across the North African nation and hit agriculture and the economy in general. BBC