Africa Media Review for August 23, 2022

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development—Fostering Stability Through Peace and Security
African countries are gearing up for the 8th Tokyo International Conference on Development (TICAD), commonly known as the Japan-Africa Forum, in Tunisia on August 27-28. Nearly 50 African leaders are expected to attend, along with over 200 African civil society and NGO representatives, 108 heads of regional and international agencies, and 120 leaders of trade, industry, and technology innovation—making it one of the biggest hybrid diplomatic events in Africa since COVID. TICAD is also Asia’s leading investor in African peace and security with an annual portfolio of over $350 million. Co-hosted with the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and the African Union Commission, TICAD is distinctive for its multilateral and multisectoral emphasis. Efforts to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa are explicitly linked to peacebuilding, constitutional development, justice system reform, and democratic governance. TICAD responds to African priorities on the basis of ownership— jinminshoyū (人民所有)—a core principle of Japanese partnership. Rather than just a series of triennial summits, TICAD represents a process of ongoing engagement. During its 30 years of existence, Japan has trained thousands of Africa’s engineers, entrepreneurs, and educators. Many Africans call TICAD a model mechanism for international cooperation and security cooperation. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Inside Africa’s Pitch at UN Climate Change Conference
“Act now” will be Africa’s clarion call at the COP27 as the continent intensifies calls for a just energy transition amid a worsening climate crisis. The “action” is likely to be seen more in the halls and offices of the world’s financing institutions than on the ground, however, as Africa battles with how to finance its energy requirements. Emerging details show that African envoys will press heavily polluting, rich economies to offset the continent’s environmental damage from global warming with favourable financing packages. At present, Africa accounts for a fraction of global emissions – at just under 4 per cent – in contrast to China (23 per cent), the US (19 per cent), and Europe (13 per cent)…According to Time, Africa’s pitch at the UN summit could further include “moving from high-carbon energy sources like oil and gas to renewables, and “carbon credit” schemes, where foreign governments and companies pay for tree planting in exchange for producing greenhouse gases.” Bird Story Agency

José dos Santos Casts Long Shadow on Angolan Election
Angola is heading to its fifth General Election, the first without former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who died in July. But the political scheming in the country is still going on as if he were alive. Dos Santos made history by organising three consecutive elections, and which his ruling party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), won. He died on July 8 in the Spanish capital Barcelona, five years after he left the presidency which he had held for 38 years. He was succeeded by João Lourenço, the current MPLA flagbearer. If he wins the August 24 election, the ruling party will continue enjoying an uninterrupted run since 1975…“Dos Santos’ death occurred at a point when Angola was preparing for elections. Whether we like it or not, this fact will have a bearing on the outcome of the elections,” said Prof João Pacatolo, lecturer of International Relations at the Angolan Private University (UPRA University). Nation Africa

Angolan Parties Wrap Up Campaign for Tense Election
[Video] The MPLA, led by João Lourenço since 2017, has governed Africa’s second-biggest oil producer since independence from Portugal in 1975. But longtime opposition party UNITA is stronger than ever, as anger grows at government failures to convert vast oil wealth into better living conditions for all. More than 14 million Angolans are eligible to vote and will elect the president and 220 members of parliament simultaneously, with a single mark on the ballot paper. An Afrobarometer survey in May showed the number of Angolans favouring UNITA, led by the charismatic Adalberto Costa Júnior, had increased to 22% from 13% in 2019, still seven points behind the MPLA. Nearly half of voters were undecided. The MPLA held its last rally on Saturday but Lourenço took part in an event on Monday focused on women’s rights issues and said voting was “fundamental for the future” of the country, one of Africa’s most unequal nations. France 24

United Nations Challenges Guinea Junta on Human Rights
The United Nations has warned Guinea’s ruling junta about respect for human rights after it cracked down on protesters and dissolved an opposition coalition. In a letter to junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, UN Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said the situation was a source of “deep concern.” The letter was reported on Guinean media on Sunday and authenticated by Bachelet’s office on Monday. Bachelet pointed to the death of demonstrators by security forces on July 28 and 29 and reports of a “large number” of arrests. Five people died on those days, and two more on August 17 on another day of outlawed protests, according to organisers. Bachelet called on the authorities to investigate the deaths, free those arrested and reauthorise an opposition coalition, the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC). Its dissolution “constitutes a major violation of freedom of association and public gathering,” Bachelet said. Nation Africa

Nigeria: Africa’s First Central Bank E-Currency Is Yet to Have Recurring Users
Nigeria’s central bank believes its digital currency, the eNaira, has scored wins in the ten months since it was launched last October. The app has been downloaded 840,000 times, nearly a third of those converting to active wallets. 17,000 of those active wallets belong to merchants who have ostensibly used the currency to receive a payment. Transaction volume and value have been “remarkable” at 200,000 and 4.4 billion naira ($10 million) respectively, said Godwin Emefiele, the central bank governor, at a competition designed to increase use cases for the currency. But, the news should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism as at an average of 1.35 transactions per active wallet, the eNaira has not convinced its users to do a lot with it. At N22,000 ($52), the currency’s average transaction value is way behind the regular naira: in 2021, Nigeria’s financial sector processed electronic payments at an average of N720,000 ($1,700) per transaction. Quartz Africa

Meet the Man Rallying “Obi-Dients” to Shake Up Nigeria’s Election
Peter Obi is hardly a political outsider, but the bespeckled former governor says he is looking to harness Nigerians’ anger with the status quo to power his third-party presidential bid. Obi, 61, has generated substantial buzz among younger voters in Africa’s most populous democracy, where the average age is 18, but the president – and both major-party candidates for the February 2023 election – are septuagenarian political veterans. His followers, who call themselves “Obi-dients”, say he can solve what ails Nigeria, including unprecedented insecurity, industrial-scale oil theft and allegations of widespread corruption eight years after President Muhammadu Buhari ran promising to eradicate it. Nigerian electoral law forbids candidates from campaigning before Sept. 28. In a recent interview at his Lagos residence, Obi, speaking as a private citizen, said Nigeria’s problems could turn voters against the two dominant parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Reuters

Togo’s New Cybersecurity Center Will Serve the Whole of Africa
A new cybersecurity center in Togo is poised to add into efforts by individual African countries to secure the continent’s cyberspace. In November 2021, Kaspersky reported that Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya recorded a combined total of 81 million cyber attacks in three months, signaling how cybercrime is rising in tandem with internet penetration. In the second quarter of this year, phishing scams rose by 438% and 174% in Kenya and Nigeria respectively, from the previous quarter. Based in the capital city Lomé, and set up as a partnership between the government and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), the African Centre for Coordination and Research in Cybersecurity will monitor, detect, and share cybersecurity intelligence with African governments, policy makers, law enforcement, and security agencies. Cybercrime is estimated to cost Africa $4 billion a year. Quartz Africa

Somalia PM Vows Action on Officials over Deadly Hotel Siege
Somalia’s prime minister pledged that the government will be held accountable over the deadly Mogadishu hotel siege by Al-Shabaab jihadists, whom he branded “children of hell”. Hamza Abdi Barre also called on Somalis to unite against the Al-Qaeda-linked group, which has been waging a bloody insurgency in the impoverished Horn of Africa nation for more than 15 years. “There will be accountability in the government… anyone who neglected the responsibility he was entrusted with will be held accountable,” Barre told reporters late Sunday. He was speaking after visiting a hospital treating victims of the bomb and gun attack on the Hayat Hotel that the health ministry says claimed the lives of 21 people and wounded 117. AFP

Sudan: ICC Chief Prosecutor: ‘Displaced in Darfur Need to See Justice Done’
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan arrived in the South Darfur capital of Nyala yesterday, where he held talks with officials in Kalma camp for the displaced, in relation to the ICC trial of former janjaweed leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abdelrahman (known as ‘Ali Kushayb’), on 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In a press statement during his visit to Nyala, he said that he sought to bring about justice for those displaced people who have been in camps across Darfur for 17 years. The ICC prosecutor stated that the displaced of Darfur “need to see justice done” and to “not just hear about it“. Khan expressed his hope for the continued cooperation between the ICC and the state government. He assured the local community that witnesses and victims would be protected for their efforts in prosecuting the suspected war criminal. Dabanga

Congress, Biden Duke It Out over Egypt Aid
A battle is brewing between the Biden administration and Congress over military aid to a crucial but autocratic ally in the Middle East, a fight that drives at the heart of values in U.S. foreign policy and President Joe Biden’s vows to stand up to dictators and defend human rights abroad…The dispute centers on U.S. military aid to Egypt, an annual allotment that has amounted to tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars over decades. Nearly every year, for around 35 years, the United States has sent $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt to shore up the geopolitically important U.S.-Egypt relationship and help stabilize uneasy ties between Egypt and Washington’s most important Middle Eastern ally, Israel. In recent years, Congress laid out a rule that a portion of that funding—around $300 million—should be conditioned on the Egyptian government upholding some basic human rights conditions. Foreign Policy



Photo: Adam Jones