Africa Media Review for April 23, 2024

African Leaders Call for Rethink on Tackling Violent Extremism
African leaders at a security summit in Nigeria called for a revamp of institutions fighting violent extremism on the continent and the setting up of a standby military force and greater control over peace-keeping efforts. Groups linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda have been carrying out routine attacks in Africa, including the Sahel, Somalia and Mozambique, targeting civilians and the military. Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe said while the Sahel suffered the most attacks on civilians, coastal states like Togo were facing growing threats…Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, said the Sahel accounted for half the deaths caused by terrorism globally…Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said greater efforts were needed to halt the proliferation of small arms and weapons and called for the establishment of a regional standby force whose mandate includes tackling terrorism. Reuters

Mali: ‘Suspected Jihadists’ Kidnap over 110 Civilians
Suspected jihadists in central Mali are holding more than 110 civilians they abducted six days ago, local sources told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday, April 22. Three buses carrying the civilians were stopped on April 16 by “jihadists,” who forced the vehicles and the passengers to head towards a forest between Bandiagara and Bankass, a local group of associations and an elected official said…Mali has since 2012 been ravaged by different factions affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, as well as by self-declared, self-defence forces and bandits. The worsening security situation has been compounded by a humanitarian and political crisis. Le Monde with AFP

Malian Group Asks Supreme Court to Annul Junta’s Ban on Political Activities
The Malian Supreme Court should annul the ruling junta’s order to suspend political activities, a group of Malian political parties and civil society organisations said in an appeal on Monday. The West African country has been under military rule since a coup in 2020. Tensions have risen in recent weeks over the authorities’ failure to organise promised elections and their subsequent decree that limits political life in the name of maintaining public order. The allied political and civil society groups opposed to the April 10 order said they had turned jointly to Mali’s top court “with the aim of annulling the decree which they consider tyrannical and oppressive,” they said in a statement. It was not immediately clear when the court might consider the appeal. Reuters

UK Passes Bill to Send Asylum Seekers to Rwanda
Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation bill will become law after opposition and crossbench peers backed down on Monday night, opening the way for legal battles over the potential removal of dozens of people seeking asylum. After a marathon battle of “ping pong” over the key legislation between the Commons and the Lords, the bill finally passed when opposition and crossbench peers gave way on Monday night. The bill is expected to be granted royal assent on Tuesday. Home Office sources said they have already identified a group of asylum seekers with weak legal claims to remain in the UK who will be part of the first tranche to be sent to east Africa in July. Sunak has put the bill, which would deport asylum seekers who arrive in the UK by irregular means to Kigali, at the centre of his attempts to stop small boats crossing the Channel. The Guardian

UN Urges UK to Reconsider Rwanda Deportation Plan
The UN called on Britain to reconsider plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda on Tuesday, April 23, after the measure cleared parliament, warning it threatened the rule of law and set “a perilous precedent globally.” The heads of the United Nations agencies for refugees and for human rights called on Britain to instead “take practical measures to address irregular flows of refugees and migrants, based on international cooperation and respect for international human rights law”…[The plan would] give decision-makers on asylum applications the power to disregard sections of international and domestic human rights law to get around a UK Supreme Court ruling that sending migrants on a one-way ticket to Kigali was illegal. Le Monde with AFP

More than Half of African Migrants Remain in Africa, Report Finds
A report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the African Union seeks to counter misconceptions and find better solutions to help people migrate safely. Lack of democracy, insecurity, violence and conflict are the main drivers of migration in Africa. And as the climate crisis worsens, and more more people are pushed to leave their homes to seek a better future. Yet the latest Africa Migration Report found that, contrary to popular belief, internal migration on the continent surpasses external migration…An estimated 20.8 million people had moved from one African country to another as of 2020, according to the report, which analysed existing migration data…That means intra-African migration makes up 51 percent of all emigration from African countries…Within Africa, the report found, migration takes places predominantly between countries that share a land border, with migrants travelling short distances to neighbouring countries. RFI

Chad Is ‘Not a Slave Who Wants to Change Masters’, Says President
Chad goes to the polls next month for a presidential election hoped to mark a return to democratic rule three years after military leaders seized power…Transitional ruler Mahamat Idriss Deby, who is running to stay in power, spoke to RFI and sister station France 24 about the vote, Russia and the future of Chad’s relations with France. RFI: You paid a high-profile visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of January 2024, calling Russia a “brother country”. Do you envisage military cooperation with Moscow of the kind that that Niger recently agreed? MID: We held very fruitful discussions with President Putin, based on mutual respect and on issues on which we agree. On issues that concern us, between two sovereign states. RFI: Does that include security cooperation? MID: It’s not just military cooperation. There are other areas of cooperation. Why do we always talk about military cooperation when it comes to African countries?…RFI: This election raises a question. Are you committed to standing for only one or two terms or – as some people fear – is a “Deby dynasty” taking hold? MID: First of all, you have to realise that I am a candidate and I have an ambitious programme that I am going to present to the Chadian people…The people of Chad know that I am a man of action and a man of my word. If I am elected, I will serve my five-year term and at the end of my term, it will be up to the people to judge me…As for a dynasty, our constitution is very clear – a candidate cannot serve more than two successive terms. I would like to reassure the people of Chad that I and everyone will respect the constitution that was adopted and voted for by the Chadian people. RFI

Cameroonian Civil Society Groups, Opposition Launch Mass Voter Registration Campaign
Cameroon’s opposition and civil society have launched a mass campaign to combat voter apathy. The goal is to encourage disgruntled youths to register to vote before the August deadline and go to the polls in presidential elections next year…There are about 15 million potential voters in Cameroon but only about 7 million are registered voters…Cameroon’s presidential elections will take place in October 2025 on a date to be decided by 91-year-old President Paul Biya, who has ruled the central African state for more than four decades…Opposition and civil society estimate that at least half of Cameroon’s 30 million people are 20 years and older and qualified to register and vote in elections as stated in the country’s electoral code. VOA

Growing Fears of Rebel Attack on Darfur’s El Fasher
A report released Friday by the Yale University Humanitarian Research Lab says satellite imagery and open-source information indicates that the RSF is either close to El Fasher or already inside its eastern and northeastern neighborhoods. “At least 11 villages are confirmed burned to the ground on the western access on the approach to El Fasher,” Nathaniel Raymond, executive director of the lab, told VOA. He said it is their assessment that the RSF likely controls the north, east and west roads into El Fasher, and they have credible reports that the Sudanese army had to be re-supplied by air in the past week…He said a victory in El Fasher would be pivotal, giving the RSF control over all the regional capitals in the Darfur region and creating a stronghold from which they can fight the remaining elements of the SAF for years to come. VOA

Zambia Seeks Power Imports for Key Mining Sector
Zambia’s state-owned electricity utility Zesco said on Monday it is seeking to import power to avert an energy deficit that could affect output in Africa’s second-largest copper producer. The southern African country generates 86% of its electricity from hydropower stations. Power generation has been hit by a severe drought induced by El Nino – a weather phenomenon resulting from the abnormal warming of the waters in the eastern Pacific, which raises temperatures globally. As a result, Zambia expects a power generation deficit of 700 megawatts this year, Zesco said in a statement…Last week, Zesco warned mining companies there may be fluctuations in power supply due to the reduced generation capacity, raising concern over the country’s copper output…The potential risk to copper production from the African nation comes at a time when the market is already concerned about tightening global supplies constraining refined production of the metal, which is used in power and construction industries. Reuters

Eritrea Frees 46 Tigrayan Detainees, Some Held for over a Year
[In mid-April], Eritrea released 46 individuals of Tigrayan descent who had been detained in prison for a minimum of two months to over a year. According to a regional official who confirmed the release of the individuals, the majority of the detainees were apprehended from the Tahtay Adiyabo district, situated in the North Western Zone of the Tigray region…Tahtay Adiyabo district shares a northern border with Eritrea…Reports indicate that the abduction of individuals from areas within Tigray under the control of Eritrean forces has heightened despite the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in November 2022…Similar abductions have been documented in various areas of the Tigray region by Eritrean forces. In September 2023, district officials in Irob reported that 28 youths had been abducted by Eritrean troops over a span of ten months…On 18 January, 2023, additional reports also emerged detailing the abduction of 10 youths by Eritrean troops from Gure Endagabir, a location near Axum city, situated 107 kilometers from the regional capital of Mekelle. Addis Standard

Kenya’s ‘Blood Desert’: Can Walking Donor Banks and Drones Help More Patients Survive?
Medical personnel in Lodwar hope the national government will approve the introduction of “walking blood banks”, where blood from registered donors is screened using rapid diagnostic testing (RDT). Walking blood banks have been in use for decades in emergency situations, such as war or natural disasters, when banked blood is not available. The system relies on using pre-screened donors who can be called upon at short notice to donate blood that is tested on the spot. The blood is typically transfused as whole blood. Last year, in partnership with the Blood Desert Coalition, Lodwar hospital started the first large-scale walking blood bank trial in a civilian setting. The group tested more than 800 blood samples collected at Lodwar to determine the efficacy of RDTs. After comparing the RTD results with Kenya’s national screening procedure, researchers found out the rate of TTIs in the donor pool was relatively low at 5.4%, and that the RDT results matched the national standard in 99.2% of cases. The Guardian

Kenya Loses 42pc of Tanzania Maize Imports, Seeks Alternative Sources
Non-tariff barriers have pushed down Kenya’s maize imports from Tanzania to 63 percent of the total imports of the grain in 2022/2023 marketing year, from 97 percent in 2021/2022. A new report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that Kenyan traders imported maize from Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and South Africa, but imports from Tanzania dropped as a result of the imposition of export restrictions by Dodoma. Tanzanian restrictions on maize exports were in the form of requirements that exporters to Kenya apply for export certificates…“Historically, Kenya has sourced most of its imported corn from Tanzania. However, traders have had difficulty exporting corn from Tanzania following the implementation of new export procedures. In the past, the Government of Tanzania has imposed export bans or restricted access to export permits when domestic supplies are low.” The EastAfrican

Connected Africa Summit Addressing Continent’s Challenges, Opportunities and Bridging Digital Divides
Government representatives from Africa, along with ICT (information and communication technology) officials, and international organizations have gathered in Nairobi for a Connected Africa Summit. They are discussing the future of technology, unlocking the continent’s growth beyond connectivity, and addressing the challenges and opportunities in the continent’s information and technology sector. Speaking at the Connected Africa Summit opening in Nairobi Monday, Kenyan President William Ruto said bridging the technology gap is important for Africa’s economic growth and innovation…Africa’s digital growth has been hampered by the lack of an accessible, secure, and reliable internet, which is critical in closing the digital gap and reducing inequalities. VOA

Mdou Moctar’s Guitar Is a Screaming Siren Against Africa’s Colonial Legacy
“Funeral for Justice,” the new album by the African musician Mdou Moctar, opens with a blast of angry, snarling guitar and an accusation raised like a fist against the rulers of his native Niger and beyond…Over about a decade of touring in the West, Moctar, 40, has carved out a niche as a modern African guitar hero and one of the very few voices in the pop world calling attention to the struggles of the Tuareg people, a historically nomadic ethnic group in the Sahara region…In the lyrics, Moctar attacks weak African leaders (“Occupiers are carving up your lands,” he sings, “gallantly marching all over your resources”) and calls for pride among the Tuareg, a people divided by national borders who have fought Niger over land and access to resources like uranium…“I would rather say the truth directly, even if it endangers me,” Moctar said, adding that he received death threats after voicing support for Niger’s ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum. The New York Times