Africa Media Review for April 17, 2024

China’s Strategy to Shape Africa’s Media Space
Many of Africa’s young journalists are trained in China and paid by Chinese media entities. In Kenya alone, 500 journalists and local staff are employed by Chinese media agencies, dispatching 1,800 news items monthly…The surge in Chinese investments in the African media space is part of a global strategy by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to gain influence in the developing countries by shaping their information environments…China’s ruling party, according to its own policies, regards the media as an arena of combat to advance its narratives and policies and to discredit those of its adversaries without using military force. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

At Least 25 Killed in North Darfur Town, Says Pro-democracy Group
Clashes between the Sudanese army and its rival paramilitary have killed at least 25 civilians in the North Darfur town of el-Fasher, a pro-democracy lawyers committee said Tuesday. The city and its surrounding villages have suffered several days of “arbitrary shelling and airstrikes,” according to the Emergency Lawyers, which have been documenting atrocities committed against civilians since fighting began a year ago between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces…El-Fasher also functions as the main humanitarian hub in the vast western region of Darfur, home to around a quarter of Sudan’s 48 million people and the site of harrowing violence during this and previous conflicts. AFP

Ethiopia’s Power Deficit Pushes Kenya to Mull Deal
Kenya may be forced to renegotiate its 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Ethiopia if the deepening electricity crisis in the Horn of Africa nation gets out of control. The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) has expressed concern over the escalating energy crisis in Addis Ababa, saying it poses a power supply ‘risk’ to Nairobi and could call for renegotiation of the agreement signed in July 2022…Ethiopia is one of only two countries from which Kenya imports electricity, with the other being Uganda. The EastAfrican

Geneva Conference Pledges $630 Million in Life-Saving Help for Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s international partners convened in Geneva on Tuesday to address the urgent need for increased humanitarian funding for the crisis-hit country, pledging a total of almost $630 million. The UN-backed $3.24 billion humanitarian response plan for 2024 is only five per cent funded. Organised by the UN along with the Governments of Ethiopia and the United Kingdom, the conference aims to hear commitments that will enhance life-saving aid to approximately 15.5 million people in 2024. An immediate funding of $1 billion is required to sustain aid delivery for the next five months. The crisis has escalated due to recurring cycles of droughts, floods, and conflict. Food insecurity and malnutrition are anticipated to affect 10.8 million people during the lean season from July to September. UN News

The EAC Boss That Never Was: Kenya Makes Surprise U-turn on Mwende Mueke Nomination
In a move that may reflect a political backlash, Kenya has replaced Caroline Mwende Mueke, the nominee for East African Community (EAC) secretary-general, just two days before her expected swearing-in. Instead, Nairobi said on Monday that it would unveil Veronica Mueni Nduva as the regional bloc’s next secretary-general ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers on Tuesday 16 April. Ms Nduva is the current Principal Secretary in the Department of Performance and Delivery Management in the Ministry of Public Service…[S]ources said politicians had resisted [Ms Mueke’s] nomination by pushing for someone else who was seen as toeing the right party line. The EastAfrican

UN Libya Envoy Says He Has Tendered Resignation to UN Chief
The United Nations Libya envoy said on Tuesday he had tendered his resignation to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying his mediation efforts had been met with “stubborn resistance, unreasonable expectations and indifference to the interests of the Libyan people”. Abdoulaye Bathily was appointed to the role in September 2022…Libya has had little peace or stability since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising, and it split in 2014 between eastern factions in Benghazi and western factions in Tripoli…Efforts to persuade the rival factions to hold elections have been the main focus of diplomacy for years, but there has been little progress since a 2020 ceasefire that paused most major warfare. Reuters

OPEC Woos Namibia as African Nation Prepares to Produce from 2030
The OPEC+ oil producers group, having lost Angola and other players in recent years, is eyeing Namibia for possible membership as it sets up what could be Africa’s fourth-largest output by the next decade, an African industry official and sources told Reuters. TotalEnergies and Shell in recent years have made discoveries estimated at 2.6 billion barrels, setting the stage for the southern African country to plan production from about 2030. The initial focus for OPEC+ would be to see Namibia join its Charter of Cooperation, the sources said, a grouping that engages in longer-term dialogue about energy markets. Reuters

Zimbabwe Seeking to Profit through Lithium Processing
[VIDEO] Zimbabwe, with its rich deposits of lithium, is pinning its hopes for economic recovery on mining and processing the mineral, which is a key component in batteries for electric vehicles. Zimbabwe has Africa’s largest lithium reserves and is the world’s sixth-largest lithium producer and supplier. Columbus Mavhunga reports from Kamativi, about 700 kilometers from the capital Harare, where investors have poured millions of dollars into their lithium venture. VOA

Nigeria’s Tinubu Says Country Will No Longer Pay Ransom to Armed Gangs
Nigeria will no longer pay ransom to armed gangs that have plagued the country with kidnapping and extortion, President Bola Tinubu said in an opinion piece published Monday. He made the statement as activists commemorated the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok. Acknowledging that “legitimate concerns” over kidnappings persist, Tinubu said Nigeria must address the root causes of poverty, inequality, and a lack of opportunity if it hopes to eradicate the threat posed by criminal gangs…The president said instead of ransom, perpetrators of the violence will receive the security services’ counter actions. VOA

US House Passes Resolution on Chibok Girls, Boko Haram
The United States House of Representatives has called upon the Nigerian and U.S. governments to ensure that the remaining Chibok girls kidnapped a decade ago are rescued and reunited with their families. The House disclosed this in a document issued on 12 April following its 118th congress…[T]he congress urged the Nigerian government to “redouble efforts to bring an end” to spiralling armed conflicts ravaging northern Nigeria. It further advised the government to provide assistance to the victims of the conflicts…In addition, the U.S. House said it encourages “continued efforts by the U.S. Government to defeat Boko Haram and related terrorist groups through development and security partnerships with Nigeria and other regional partners.Premium Times

Akpabio Asks Nigerian Police to Weed Out Corrupt Officers
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to identify and remove corrupt and bad officers in the force. Mr Akpabio made the call at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations Ceremony held on Monday evening in Abuja…“The ever-evolving landscape of crime and the increasing sophistication of criminal gangs pose significant obstacles,” [he said]…Mr Akpabio also pledged full support of the National Assembly for better policing in Nigeria. He said his leadership will make legislative policies that will promote the welfare of policing. Premium Times

World Bank Sounds Alarm on ‘Historical Reversal’ of Development for Poorest Nations
Half of the world’s 75 poorest countries are experiencing a widening income gap with the wealthiest economies for the first time this century in a historical reversal of development, the World Bank said in a report on Monday. The differential between per capita income growth in the poorest countries and the richest has widened over the past five years, according to the report…The report said the 75 countries eligible for grants and zero-interest loans from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) risk a lost decade of development without ambitious policy shifts and significant international aid…More than half of all IDA countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Reuters

SA to Push for Financial Support in Internationally Binding Plastic Pollution Treaty
Almost two years after presidents and environment ministers met in Nairobi, Kenya, and adopted a draft treaty to end plastic pollution, leaders will gather in Canada next week to develop the treaty…South Africa is considered to have the highest plastic waste generation rate in Africa, producing 28kg of waste a year per person, compared to 16kg a year per person for the rest of the continent…Deputy director-general of the DFFE Mamogala Musekene said South Africa recommended a dedicated financing aspect to the treaty, with a push to have the fund operational shortly after the treaty was concluded. Daily Maverick

UN Forum Calls for More Funding, Steps towards Slavery Reparations
A United Nations forum on people of African descent opened on Tuesday with calls for extra funding to support its work and progress towards reparations for transatlantic slavery and its legacies in contemporary society. For over four centuries at least 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped, forcibly transported thousands of kilometres (miles)by mainly European ships and merchants and sold into slavery. Those who survived the brutal voyage ended up toiling on plantations in the Americas, mostly in Brazil and the Caribbean, while others profited from their labour…The PFPAD suggested last year that a special tribunal should be established to address reparations. Reuters

Genome Study Reveals Prehistoric Ethiopian Origins of Coffee
Researchers now have unlocked the genome of the Arabica species and traced its origins to a natural mating between two other coffee species an estimated 610,000 to one million years ago in the forests of Ethiopia. That makes this species older than our own species Homo sapiens, which arose in Africa about 300,000 years ago. The researchers sequenced the genomes of 39 Arabica varieties, including a specimen from the 18th century, to create the highest quality genome to date of this species, whose scientific name is Coffea arabica. They also uncovered a specific region of the genome that may be pivotal for breeding or genetically engineering disease resistance…The research showed that Arabica’s population rose and fell over the millennia as the climate warmed and cooled. It was first cultivated by people in Ethiopia and Yemen, and then spread around the world. Reuters